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Case Studies

Recent work carried out by GMJ Associates

 Training in Good Governance

Our client is the main funder of a number of not-for-profit, mission driven organisations. Acutely aware that many of the board members of these organisations are volunteers attracted by the mission but lacking any formal corporate governance experience, they decided to offer some short sessions in governance training for both volunteer board directors and paid CEOs. We designed the training based on the framework of the Governance Code which is the code of governance for community and voluntary organisations in Ireland. Delegates got a workbook containing information and exercises. There were lively interactive sessions which all reported as relevant, informative and helpful in raising their awareness of governance issues. Most importantly delegates said that they would be able to bring improvements to the governance of their organisations having completed the training.

“Best 3 hours spent on governance as very clear and concise and would highly recommend to others in my organisation”

“Excellent three hours. I would have been happy to do a day”

“Very useful and will help me be a more confident board member”

Helping our client produce a sustainability report to satisfy the demands of major customers

A company approached us about helping them produce a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/Sustainability report. The client company is a component manufacturer selling to major Global brands. One of their large customers was demanding that they produce a sustainability report detailing their responsible business practice. Large international companies are under pressure to demonstrate responsible management of their supply chain and increasingly they are putting pressure on their smaller suppliers to provide CSR/Sustainability reports as evidence of good management practices. Our client lacked the knowledge and resources to complete the task. We facilitated the production of the report by:

  • Reviewing the existing processes and metrics in the business
  • Working with senior management to define what was material to include in their CSR report
  • Producing a list of required measurements that was circulated to key staff in the various locations
  • Collecting and collating the answers received, identifying gaps and inconsistencies
  • Collecting stories of projects and initiatives undertaken by the business that could be used in the report
  • Facilitating the development of the report structure and advising on the content
  • Helping with proofing and fact checking on the final report

Although our client’s customer was the driver in undertaking the production of the report, the client stated that they found the process to be useful in helping them clarify many of the good practices they were already engaged in and also in identifying areas for improvement.

CPD Ethics Training for the Financial Services Sector

The client, a membership organisation in the financial services sector, wanted to provide an ethics session which would meet the continuing professional development requirement for people working in financial services during a conference they were hosting for employees of their members. The requirement was to enhance awareness of ethical issues amongst people attending. We worked with the client to develop some key themes that were likely to be of interest and relevance to delegates. On the day, we explained the purpose of the session and ensured that people understood that they were in a safe environment in which the situations discussed would not be shared outside the room. Using the key themes as jumping off points we asked attendees to describe what was important to them and their clients, what kinds of difficult situations they had encountered and what had helped them to resolve these situations. This resulted in some recommendations for behaviour that would lead to good outcomes and pointers for managers in ensuring they supported staff in ethical decisions and behaviour. Key points from this highly interactive session were charted and later typed up and circulated amongst attendees.

“Not the usual boring ethics session, this held my interest”

“Relevant to my day to day work”

“It was interesting and reassuring to hear that other people are facing similar situations”

Protected Disclosure Training

A not-for-profit organisation contacted us about training.  The organisation had introduced a Protected Disclosure Policy in which they named two board members as the preferred people to whom a protected disclosure could be made by employees in the organisation.  Sensibly, these two board members wanted training to help them carry out this role effectively and to help give them confidence in their ability to do so.

Our initial proposal of a full day’s training to include understanding of the Act, best practice in dealing with disclosures and role play of scenarios was cut back to a half day due to limitations on time availability of those who wished to attend. So I prepared a four-hour session looking at understanding the Act and best practice in dealing with disclosures with some test scenarios tucked in my back pocket should we have any time left over. I also reviewed the organisation’s Disclosure / Whistleblowing policy and I was able to offer some suggestions as to how the first iteration of the policy might be improved.

The board members nominated as Protected Disclosure Managers attended the session along with the CEO of the charity and CEOs of some other local not-for-profit organisations. The CEOs recognised their need to understand what was involved in the Protected Disclosure Act, that they might also be the recipients of disclosures and that they had a responsibility to understand their obligations towards protecting people in their organisations from reprisal due to a disclosure. Whilst I initially suggested sharing the session with another organisation as a way of spreading the cost of training it had a more valuable outcome, which was the sharing of knowledge, ideas, incidents and questions by people with varied experience and deep knowledge of their respective sectors.

I facilitated the session as a round table discussion guided by the key points in a tailored workbook that I had prepared for participants. The discussion forum was useful as people could look for clarification on issues or questions as they arose. There were lots of ‘What ifs?’ which we were able to pick apart in light of the Protected Disclosure Act and discuss how to be in line with best practice.

All participants fed back that they had gained a lot from the session and felt more confident in their understanding of the requirements with the only potential improvement being some scenario role-play as suggested in our initial proposal. A plan is in train to deliver this in another half-day session at a later date.

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