Board Evaluation Products

Board evaluation is recognised as a critical tool for:
  • Assessment of performance;
  • Capturing feedback from board members so improvements can be made;
  • Ensuring that specific issues are addressed; and,
  • Providing an independent third party check on compliance efficacy.
These requirements apply in the public and the private sector as well as to the numerous forms of enterprise found in both sectors whether profit and not-for-profit.

A number of constitutions, shareholders’ agreements, codes of practice and enabling statutes require that board evaluations be undertaken regularly, on an independent basis and in an acceptable form.

TBPL specialises in the provision of board evaluation services.

We have two core products:

1. Structured Questionnaire Analysis Evaluation

The key feature of this evaluation process is its comprehensive nature which covers all facets of board operations and procedures. In addition, the process provides for:
  1. Anonymous peer on peer board member evaluation
  2. Anonymous Chair evaluation
  3. Strength and weakness feedback
  4. Individual evaluations of effectiveness across the board's work
  5. Ability to compare current evaluations with previous assessments
  6. Evaluating board sub-committees in detail.
While the “standard” process covers each of the typical focus areas for governance work undertaken by boards there is scope for customising through insertion of questions related to specific areas as well as inclusion of management team members where desired.

The various compliance processes common to all governance work are included in all evaluations along with assessment questions related to board dynamics, procedures and board member conduct.

Evaluating board sub-committees has been a recent introduction requested by our clients. Some include this as part of their main board evaluation whereas others choose to include an in-depth review of sub-committees in alternative years.

The process consists of questionnaire design – typically with the Chair – so as to ensure appropriate focus. This is followed by analysis of the questionnaire responses and comments as furnished by board members in a standard “ratings plus comment” format.

The individual responses are assembled into an overall evaluation which is accompanied by TBPL observations, suggestions for improvement and comment on specific areas.

Results are presented in a briefing session as a wind up to the evaluation.
TBPL has conducted numerous such evaluations over the last three years for companies, SOEs, not-for-profits, co-operatives and other entities.

Examples of clients include Auckland City CCOs, several SOEs (CCO Watercare, SOE Kordia being two) over several years, a number of listed companies again over some years, public sector entities such as the Auckland and Waitemata Health Boards and professional partnerships such as engineers Tonkin and Taylor.

2. Face to Face (F2F) Board Evaluation

TBPL’s face to face (F2F) board evaluation process uses an interview based approach to assessing board performance, scoping improvement and building, with the board, road maps for dealing with specific issues the board faces – be those in people, strategy, boardroom behaviour and dynamics or in more standard procedural areas.

F2F evaluation is focussed on the future, the tangible actions required of directors and aims to improve the performance of the board as an effective governing body for the organisation.

The process consists of:
  1. Standard “warrant of fitness” checks of governance process and procedure as with any board evaluation
  2. Analysis of directors’ assessment of board processes, procedure and administration pinpointing performance in board efficiency
  3. Evaluation in the key areas of board activity through face to face interviews with directors addressing adequacy and potential for improvement in
  • Strategy 
  • Risk management
  • CE and management team collaboration
  • Issues of the moment for the board and organisation
Feedback and interactive development of themes and plans for the coming two or so years help provide a road map for the future.

Interactive throughout, face-to-face board evaluation stresses discussion, captures the views of directors on performance and establishes how improvements might be made. Board evaluation is seen as forward looking and seeks practical steps for tackling issues of the moment.

The face-to-face process focuses on the board as a team of individuals who are responsible for governing the organisation. The emphasis is on how the board operates as a team in solving problems, strategising about the future and managing risks while complying with standard requirements.
  • The F2F evaluation is especially well suited to boards facing specific issues such as:
  • The need to develop succession plans and improve board quality
  • Lighting up growth plans and expanding horizons in a structured fashion
  • Governing projects, large scale capex and expansion plans
  • Improving participation, breadth, coverage and input in board meetings and discussions
  • Addressing specific problems in the boardroom and the wider world
The process allows the board and the Evaluator to devise road maps, milestones and accountabilities and actions to get such issues under control.

In the last year TBPL has been invited into and undertaken a number of productive and positive F2F board evaluations. In every case our joint work has created stretch for everyone, involved a good deal of learning from one another, exposed plenty of insights and proved enjoyable if challenging. Examples include our work with Westland Milk Products (a large co-operative) Ruralco (Ashburton based cooperative, Westpower Limited (an energy utility) and Development West Coast (a NFP economic development agency).
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