Board of Trustees 24 November 2015

The Board of Trustees held a business and strategy review meeting on 24 November.  This all day meeting enabled the Trustees to explore in much greater depth the key growth areas, the opportunities and the challenges, and areas where we should be investing.  Members broke into small working groups, with discussions supported by detailed background papers issued by the executive team.

The business section of the meeting focused on:

-          Discussion on the risk management register, as submitted by the Finance and Audit Committee.  This register now focuses on the immediate and urgent risks, as a category 1 priority.  In approving the risk register, it was agreed that the attitude towards risk would come under further debate as the 2016 strategic priorities evolve and it became clearer where further investment will speed up developments and achieve outcomes sooner rather than later.

-          Finance report to 31 October 2015 – this report shows a strong month for revenue within HE, a spectacular success being the new partnership agreement with Coventry University.  Net contribution is now at 80% of the full year forecast, and reserves have recovered from short term losses and are now close to the full year target.

-          Committee Chair reports – At each Board meeting, written reports are received from each Committee and are reinforced by comments from the Chairs present.  At this meeting, Beverly Landais, Chair of the External Affairs and Insight Committee, reported on a successful workshop session on stakeholder engagement, ‘testing’ out the ideas to be discussed by the Board later in the day.    Gavin Richardson, Chair of the Regional/Devolved Nation Advisory Committee, was able to confirm that the recent round of Regional Board Chair interviews had been completed, with new Chairs in place and ready to attend their first meetings.  Peter Ayliffe, as Chair of the Nominations Committee, has led his Committee in a review of this year’s Board elections process and plans for 2016.  There was also a progress report on the appointment process for a President Elect, with the prospect of a recommendation coming forward in mid 2016.

Board strategy review

This day looked at:

-          The newly launched Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship – how to ensure that it gains traction with employers; and how we can extend the Apprenticeship beyond Level 6, to encompass Levels 3, 4, 5 and 7.

-          HE partnerships – ensuring continued growth; forming a pilot set of partnerships with overseas universities; and focusing on adding value to the HE institution and to the Students coming through, which would lead to their conversion into full membership.

-          Corporate partners – development over the longer term of an ‘Organisational Standard’, as well as looking at the future business mix and balance between direct and indirect delivery of training and development programmes.

-          Member engagement – focusing on the conversion of Studying Affiliates, and development of products and services to define a career pathway for members through the grade structure

-          Stakeholder engagement – agreeing on a core set of external stakeholders with whom contacts should be cemented and relationships built, focusing on those who are most critical and influential in ensuring that CMI can achieve its longer term strategic objectives.  

Amongst the issues considered were:

-          The fact that all of the growth areas are interlinked and cannot be seen in isolation.  Member engagement, for example, has to address the needs of the new members coming through from the HE partnerships and our Education Partners and, in due course, the Apprentices.

-          There is still a communication and PR challenge to address to convince all employers that they need to engage with the new Apprentice programme – we have to overcome residual Apprentice ‘snobbery’.

-          CMI involvement with Business Schools and Universities cannot just been seen as attachment of a badge to the particular institution – the partnership arrangements have to make a difference and achieve a tangible and demonstrable return on their investment

-          Over the shorter term, engagement with employers should focus on building the Apprenticeship programme and ensuring positioning for Chartered Manager as the ‘flag bearer’

-          Further underpinning data is needed on members – their needs, wants, behaviours and attitudes in relation to their membership.  We have to be delivering ‘unique experiences’ to members.

-          A focused approach to stakeholder engagement has paid dividends for the Apprenticeship programme - so focus and targeting needs to be extended across into the other strategic priorities.

The key outcomes are:

  • The Apprenticeship programme should be viewed as our major opportunity at the present time, with significant potential.  The focus must be on ensuring that it gains early traction, and that we secure approval to extend the programme across the other qualification levels, ie levels 3, 4, 5 and 7. This will require additional investment.
  • HE partnerships continue on their successful path and there remains a significant market to go for.  Focus must, however, also turn to engagement with Students, sustainability of the relationships with HEIs, and development of ROI evidence.
  • Corporate Partners remain an area with challenges in terms of articulating the employer proposition and the business development approach.  The key may lie in the short term in using the Apprenticeship programme as a door opener for key target employers.
  • Member engagement should focus on Students and Affiliates emerging from the HE and EP partnerships, ensuring conversion, engagement and retention.
  • Stakeholder engagement should focus on Government departments and Civil Service, as well as bodies such as the trade associations, LEPs and the Chambers  We need to target those stakeholders with the greatest influence and who can help us achieve our strategic objectives to best effect.
  • International initiatives also have potential, but the risks must be weighed up and there must be avoidance of ‘disruption’ to UK activities.

The next step is development of a 3 year plan across these areas, identifying the priorities, resourcing and investment needs, and an assessment of associated risks. This will be discussed at the February 2016 Board meeting, alongside consideration of the top line budget for 2016/17.  This discussion will then support the further work on the detailed budget for 2016/17.