The Government has published draft regulations on directors' reporting which will require quoted companies to produce a strategic review as part of their annual report.  The new rules include a requirement for quoted companies to report on:

  • the number of men and women on their board of directors
  • how many male and female "managers" (defined as employees who have responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the company's activities) there are; and
  • the male/female split of employees in the company.

This new disclosure requirement follows recommendations in Lord Davies' 2011 review of women on boards.

In the original consultation last year, the Government acknowledged that companies (particularly those with overseas operations) might find disclosure of the male/female breakdown across the whole organisation difficult or impossible unless they had companywide HR systems capable of collecting the data.  However, the draft regulations do not address this issue.

Companies will need to comply with the new rules for annual report years ending after October 2013.

Meanwhile, the European Commission's much heralded discussion of proposals, including setting quotas, to redress gender imbalance on corporate boards across Europe has been delayed, apparently by doubts about legality.  Discussion of a new version of the proposal is pencilled in for later this month.