Effective governance relies on the quality of information provided to directors. Board packs serve as the enabler information flow, allowing directors to make informed decisions and oversee organisational performance.


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Key Points:

  • Board packs are essential tools for directors to monitor performance and make informed decisions.
  • Effective board packs strike a balance between providing comprehensive information and avoiding information overload.
  • Directors have a responsibility to ensure they receive high-quality, relevant information.
  • Well-structured board packs are easy to navigate and focus on strategic issues.
  • Regular review and feedback are crucial for continuous improvement of board packs.

What are Board Packs and Why are They Important?

Board packs are essential tools that provide directors with relevant information about an organisation's performance, risks, and strategic direction. They serve as the primary source of information for board members, enabling them to monitor organisational performance, assess risks, and make informed decisions. As Steven Cole FAICD notes, "We've certainly seen increasing pressure on boards to perform and I think that's made them think more carefully about the quality of the information they're receiving."

How Can Board Packs Bridge the Information Gap? 

Board packs play a role in bridging the information gap between management and directors. Mark Licciardo GAICD explains, "Boards are removed, as they should be, from the day-to-day management of an organisation so the board pack should give them a concise view of what's happening in the business." A well-prepared board pack provides directors with a clear, concise summary of the organisation's current state and future prospects. 

What are the Common Challenges in Creating Effective Board Packs?

One of the main challenges in creating effective board packs is striking the right balance between providing too much and too little information. Kirsten Mander FAICD observes, "Some executives present an encyclopaedia of everything they know on the subject because they don't want to admit they don't have an answer." This can lead to information overload, making it difficult for directors to identify and focus on the most critical issues.

How Can Directors Ensure They Receive Quality Information?   

Directors have a responsibility to ensure they receive high-quality information. As Stephen Howell points out, "The board has a statutory obligation to put procedures in place that ensure all directors have good notice of decisions they need to make and appropriate supporting information in the board pack." Directors should actively communicate their information needs and work with management to refine the content and structure of board packs.

What Makes a Well-Structured Board Pack?

A well-structured board pack should be predictable, easy to navigate, and focused on strategic issues. Mander recommends, "You need to be able to find a relevant paper easily and navigate through the pages efficiently, so they must be properly indexed, with all pages labelled, good executive summaries and with any secondary information annexed, not interwoven in a meandering narrative style." 

How Can Technology Improve Board Pack Delivery and Consumption? 

While technology is changing the way board packs are presented, the formatting requirements remain the same. Digital board packs can offer enhanced navigation, searchability, and real-time updates. However, it is important to maintain a clear structure and ensure all directors are comfortable with the chosen technology platform. 

What Role Does the Board Calendar Play in Improving Board Packs? 

The board calendar is a valuable tool for planning and improving board packs. Mander explains, "Part of best practice is using the board's calendar to identify upfront the key decisions it will have to make, the key areas it needs to oversee and how often it should revisit them." This approach allows for better planning and preparation of board materials. 

How Can Boards Continuously Improve Their Board Packs? 

Regular review and feedback are essential for continuous improvement of board packs. Licciardo suggests, "It would be a good idea to include an assessment of the quality of that month's board papers and a quick review of its contents" during board meetings. Additionally, Howell recommends that "boards review the packs they receive at least once a year." 

What Are the Key Questions Directors Should Ask About Their Board Packs? 

James Beck of Effective Governance provides a list of vital questions directors should consider: 

  • Can I trust the data?
  • Does it cover the critical issues?
  • Is it sufficiently up-to-date?
  • Is it presented in such a way that I can digest it quickly?
  • Is the information purely historic or does it assess future risks?
  • Do I receive only summarised information or data?


Effective board packs enable good decision-making. By focusing on clear communication, strategic alignment, and continuous improvement, boards and management can work together to create board packs that enhance organisational performance and director effectiveness. As the governance landscape evolves, so too must the approach to creating and consuming board packs, ensuring that directors have the right information at the right time to fulfill their fiduciary duties.

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