Responsibility of the Board

Roles, responsibilities and duties within the Board – at a glance summary

The Board as a whole

  • Collectively and equally accountable for running the Group’s affairs
  • Responsible for promoting the success of the business of the Group
  • Reviews key activities of the business on a monthly basis and at additional meetings when the business requires
  • Responsible for setting the strategy
  • Primary responsibility for leading the Board and ensuring its effectiveness
  • Chairs Board meetings
  • Role and responsibilities are clearly divided from those of the Chief Executive
  • Ensures other Directors make an effective contribution and, through the Company Secretary, that the Directors receive accurate and timely information
  • Particular responsibility for discussing and critically examining proposed strategies
  • The Senior Independent Director’s role includes being a ‘sounding board’ for and intermediary to the Chairman, leading the assessment of the Chairman’s performance and being available to shareholders
  • The role of other Non-Executive Directors includes challenge and contribution to Group strategy, periodically meeting with the Chairman without the Executive Directors present, participation in committees, questioning the delivery of strategic objectives and monitoring operational and financial performance
  • Responsible for implementing the strategy
  • Organic growth and M & A – identifying opportunities and pursuing them to successful completion
  • Have regard to employee interests, fostering of business relationships and impact of operations on the community and environment
  • Approve all of the annual operating plan and capital expenditure budget
  • The Chief Executive is responsible for implementing the strategy and running the businesses in accordance with the policies and plans approved by the Board, leading the executive team, setting the culture and tone from the top for the Group and communications with stakeholders and shareholders
  • Matters that are not specifically reserved for the Board and its Committees under their terms of reference or for shareholders in general meetings are delegated to the Chief Executive.

As at 6 March 2018 the Board comprised:

Chairman Executive Directors

Non-Executive Directors

Dick Peters Steve Wilson, Chief Executive  Andrew Eastgate, Senior Independent Director
  Chris Payne, Chief Financial Officer Philip Lawrence
  Tony Judge, Chief Operating Officer Amanda Aldridge

The Board considers the balance achieved between Executive and Non-Executive Directors as appropriate and effective for the control and direction of the business.

The Directors bring strong judgement to the Board’s deliberations and the size and balance of skills and experience of the Board are considered appropriate for the requirements of the business and the size of the Company. The Board has considered the independence of the Non-Executive Directors and consider that all three (excluding the Chairman) are independent of management and free from any business or other relationship that could materially interfere with the exercise of independent and objective judgement. In making this determination the Board has considered whether each Director is independent in character and judgement and whether there are relationships or circumstances which are likely to, or could, affect the Director’s judgement.

Andrew Eastgate, who served as the Senior Independent Director throughout the year is available to shareholders if they have concerns which are not resolved through the normal channels of the Chairman, Chief Executive or Chief Financial Officer, or for which such contact is inappropriate. The Chairman and Non-Executive Directors do not participate in any bonus, share option or pension scheme of the Group. They are initially appointed for a three-year term and, subject to review and re-election, can serve up to a maximum of three such terms.

The Board met nine times in the year, at times that ensure the latest operating information is available for review or when key strategic decisions need to be made and when sufficient focus can be given to matters under consideration. During the year there is ample opportunity for the Chairman to meet with the Non-Executive-Directors without the Executive Directors being present, should this be deemed appropriate. In addition, Non-Executive Directors have substantial contact between meetings and endeavour to visit trading locations in order to maintain contact with the Group’s wider employee base and review operations first-hand. A record of Directors’ attendance at Board meetings held during the year is set out below and Committee meeting attendance is given in the relevant Committee report.

Steve Wilson 9/9
Tony Judge 7/7*
Chris Payne 4/4*
Dick Peters 9/9
Andrew Eastgate 9/9
Philip Lawrence 9/9

*Appointed to the Board part-way through the year, attended all eligible meetings. Amanda Aldridge was appointed as a Non-Executive Director on 1 February 2018.

Procedures are maintained by the Board whereby potential conflicts of interests are reviewed regularly. These procedures have been designed so that the Board may be reasonably assured that any potential situation where a Director may have a direct or indirect interest which may conflict, or may possibly conflict, with the interests of the Group are identified and, where appropriate, dealt with in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 and the Company’s Articles of Association. The Board has not had to deal with any conflict during the period.

Directors holding significant commitments outside of the Company are required to disclose them prior to appointment and on an ongoing basis where there are any changes. Actual and potential conflicts of interest are regularly reviewed. Under the Articles of Association, the Board has authority to authorise potential conflicts of interest and to impose any limits or conditions it sees fit. All of the Directors are required to allocate sufficient time to the Group to discharge their responsibilities effectively.

When joining the Board, induction programmes are tailored for each individual Director. A comprehensive information pack is compiled which includes:

  • background information about the Company;
  • briefings on Directors’ duties and responsibilities;
  • information on Board meeting procedures;
  • Board minutes;
  • internal policies;
  • structure charts;
  • matters reserved for the Board;
  • financial budgets;
  • shareholder and other stakeholder feedback; and
  • Committee terms of reference.

The information pack also includes an explanation of the Group’s financing structure, and relevant statutory and regulatory guidance notes, including the Code and the Company’s share dealing policy.

An induction programme will include briefings on general strategy and other matters, site visits, and one-to-one meetings with all relevant colleagues, (including other Directors and members of the Senior Management team) as well as with and advisers including the Company’s Stockbrokers and Auditor.

Training and development in the year took various forms, including visits to Group businesses and attendance at courses run by professional bodies on various commercial and regulatory matters. Directors receive regular updates appropriate to the business throughout the year aimed at developing and refreshing their knowledge and capabilities. All Directors are considered to be suitably qualified, trained and experienced so as to be able to participate fully in the work of the Board. To assist with the independent conduct of their function and, if required, in connection with their duties, a process is in place for the Non-Executive Directors to obtain professional advice at the Company’s expense.

The Non-Executive Directors are encouraged to further their knowledge of the Company by spending time with the Executive Directors, the members of the Senior Management team and other senior managers on site visits. Non-Executive Directors are also encouraged to engage with people across the business to further enhance their understanding of the business.