The Board's role is to advise and support ministers on the operational implications and effectiveness of policy proposals, focusing on getting policy translated into results. It operates according to these recognised principles of good corporate governance in business:

  • Leadership - articulating a clear vision for the Department and give clarity about how policy activities contribute to achieving this vision, including setting risk appetite and managing risk.
  • Effectiveness - bringing a wide range of relevant experience to bear, including through offering rigorous challenge and scrutinising performance.
  • Accountability - promoting transparency through clear and fair reporting.
  • Sustainability - taking a long-term view about what the Department is trying to achieve and what it is doing to get there.

The Board advises on, and supervises, five main areas:

  • Strategic Clarity - setting the vision and/or mission and ensuring all activities, either directly or indirectly, contribute towards it; long-term capability and horizon scanning, ensuring strategic decisions are based on a collective understanding of policy issues; using outside perspective to ensure that Departments are challenged
    on the outcomes.
  • Commercial Sense - approving the distribution of responsibilities; advising on signoff of large operational projects or programmes; ensuring sound financial management; scrutinising the allocation of financial and human resources to achieve the plan; ensuring organisational design supports attaining strategic objectives; setting the Department's risk appetite and ensuring controls are in place to manage risk; evaluation of the board and its members, and succession planning.
  • Talented People - ensuring the Department has the capability to deliver and to plan to meet current and future needs.
  • Results Focus - agreeing the operational business plan, including strategic aims and objectives; monitoring and steering performance against plan; scrutinising performance of sponsored bodies; and setting the Department's standards and values.
  • Management Information - ensuring clear, consistent, comparable performance information is used to drive improvements.

The Board is chaired by the Secretary of State and attended by Baroness Hanham CBE and one other minister on rotation. Biographies of the other Board members can be found below. The Board met for the first time with its new membership in February 2011. 

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