The ‘Wates Corporate Governance Principles for Large Private Companies’ seek to restore public trust and confidence by following six principles to inform and develop businesses in reporting corporate governance practices. The CIPR response highlights the role public relations has in delivering the principles, whilst arguing two of the six – ‘purpose’ and ‘composition’ – go further in safeguarding companies against ethical and corporate failure.
Business generates value for wider society in numerous ways, not least by creating jobs, but we rightly expect them to operate with high standards of integrity and respect for people. The reputation of business is damaged when companies fail to meet these expectations. Research shows that several high-profile cases of ethical failure have had a negative impact on trust.
The principles outlined by James Wates can mitigate the risk of declining trust in business. They also highlight the role the public relations profession has in guiding organisations to make the right decisions to restore public confidence. The reporting is focused on the right areas. Now it’s crucial the detail -and action – matches the ambition.
From 1 January, 2019 legislation surrounding new corporate governance reporting requirements for larger companies (those with more than 2000 employees and/or a turnover of more than £200 million and a balance sheet of more than £2 billion) come into effect. In our response we have reiterated our support for the FRC and highlighted relevant examples of the existing work of our groups such as our Diversity and Inclusion Forum and CIPR Inside.