This is an excerpt of Steinecke Maciura LeBlanc’s “Governance for Regulators” handbook. To view additional sections of the handbook, click here.
h. Role Achievement
It takes effort for the components of a regulator to develop and maintain a shared view of their roles. A strategy for doing so would be to adopt the four “E’s”:
- Role Explanation. There should be a clear written description of the mandate and responsibilities of each major component within the organization. This written document could be included in the regulator’s by-laws, Board-approved governance policies or even a formal Governance Manual (or a combination of them). The document provides an authoritative resource for everyone in the organization.
- Role Education. Each person involved in the direction and operations of the regulator should be orientated as to their mandate and responsibilities. Each person should understand how their role relates to the other entities within the organization. In addition to written resources, an educational session complete with discussion and scenarios is helpful. Board and committee members will often be asked to sign-off on having read and understood the regulator’s formal Code of Conduct and key fiduciary policies.
- Role Evaluation. Each component within the organization should be accountable for their activities. They should report on what they have done and receive feedback on their performance. Even the Board, including its President and individual members, should receive some form of systematic feedback on their performance.
- Role Encouragement. The feedback should have a goal beyond simply providing information. Areas of strength should be recognized. Areas for enhancement should be identified and the person or component is encouraged to improve their performance. In rare cases, action may need to be taken to ensure that the person or component complies with the organization’s expectations. An organization uses a number of tools to assist those involved in its affairs to perform their role effectively. For example, an individual Board member struggling with their role can received informal coaching from the President along with tools (e.g., further training sessions, mentorship) to help them. In more serious cases, disqualification proceedings may need to be initiated.
Role Achievement Scenario
Ernie Eager’s enthusiasm to be fully informed about the regulator’s operations is difficult for him to contain. Despite reading the regulator’s detailed Governance Manual and attending a comprehensive orientation session, Ernie continues to pepper Board and committee members with questions about their actions. The Board has an annual, anonymous peer feedback mechanism where Board members post comments about the performance of other Board members on a confidential website page. Ernie is the only person who has access to the comments about him. Almost everyone comments that Ernie gets overly involved in the work of committees making committee members uncomfortable and distracting them from doing their work. Ernie persists. In fact the following month Ernie sends an email to the chair of the registration committee suggesting it reconsider the application of one Ernie’s friend’s daughter because she is a “bright cookie”. This email results in the President having an informal chat with Ernie providing a stern warning and suggesting that Ernie communicate with an assigned mentor in advance of any involvement in committee activities. The following week Ernie assists a practitioner and friend in the practitioner’s response to a complaint. The complaints committee learns of the assistance because the practitioner mentions it in a follow-up communication. The regulator initiates proceedings to disqualify Ernie from sitting on the Board because of persistent breach of the Code of Conduct.
This scenario illustrates how the four E’s can be implemented.