Training and development

The Chairman ensures that all Directors receive a tailored induction on joining the Board, with the aim of providing a new Director with the information required to allow him or her to contribute to the running of the Group as soon as possible.

The induction programme is facilitated and monitored by the Company Secretary to ensure that all information provided is fully understood by a new Director and that any queries are dealt with. Typically, the induction programme will include a combination of key documents and face to face sessions covering the governance, regulatory and other arrangements of the Group.

As senior managers, under the Senior Managers Regime operated by the PRA and FCA, all Directors have had to maintain the skills, knowledge and expertise required to meet the demands of their positions of ‘significant influence’ within the Group. As part of the annual fitness and propriety assessment, Directors are required to complete a self-certification that they have undertaken sufficient training during the year to maintain their skills, knowledge and expertise and to make declarations as to their fitness and propriety. The Company Secretary supports the Directors to identify relevant internal and external courses to ensure Directors are kept up to date with key regulatory changes, their responsibilities as senior managers and other matters impacting the business.

Information and support

The Company Secretary and the Chairman agree an annual calendar of matters to be discussed at each Board meeting to ensure that all key Board responsibilities are discharged over the year. Board agendas are then distributed with accompanying detailed papers to Directors in advance of each Board and Committee meeting. These include reports from Executive Directors and other members of senior management. All Directors have direct access to senior management should they require additional information on any of the items to be discussed. The Board and Group Audit Committee also receive further regular and specific reports to allow the monitoring of the adequacy of the Group’s systems and controls.

The information supplied to the Board and its Committees is kept under review and formally assessed on an annual basis as part of the Board evaluation exercise to ensure it is fit for purpose and that it enables sound decision-making.

There is a formal procedure through which Directors may obtain independent professional advice at the Group’s expense.