The new UK Corporate Governance Code has been introduced and replaces the Combined Code for accounting years beginning on or after 29 June 2010.

Changes introduced by the new Code include:

  • To improve risk management, the company's business model should be explained and the board should be responsible for determining the nature and extent of the significant risks it is willing to take.
  • Performance-related pay should be aligned to the long-term interests of the company and its risk policy and systems.
  • To increase accountability, all directors of FTSE 350 companies should be put forward for re-election every year.
  • To promote proper debate in the boardroom, there are new principles on the leadership of the chairman, the responsibility of the non-executive directors to provide constructive challenge, and the time commitment expected of all directors.
  • To encourage boards to be well balanced and avoid "group think" there are new principles on the composition and selection of the board, including the need to appoint members on merit, against objective criteria, and with due regard for the benefits of diversity, including gender diversity.
  • To help enhance the board's performance and awareness of its strengths and weaknesses, the chairman should hold regular development reviews with each director and FTSE 350 companies should have externally facilitated board effectiveness reviews at least every three years.

For further information and for a copy of the revised Code see: www.frc.org.uk/press/pub2282.html