Statement of Compliance with QCA Corporate Governance Code
As a Board of Directors, we feel the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) Corporate Governance Code is the most appropriate code for Eckoh plc, given the Groups size, complexity and stage of maturity.
We are confident as a Board that the correct strategy has been adopted and that our culture of good governance and accountability will enable us to work towards delivering the strategic goals while maintaining Eckoh as a sustainable business.
We have set out in the table below, against each of the Principles of the QCA Corporate Governance Code, how Eckoh complies with the QCA Corporate Governance Code and where the relevant information can be located in the Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2020.
|1: Establish a strategy and business model which promote long-term value for shareholders||The strategy and business model which explains the strategic objectives of the Group and how the Company generates and preserves value over the longer term are set out in the Strategic Report on pages 3 to 19 of the Annual Report.
The Board is collectively responsible for the long-term success of the Company and provides effective leadership by setting the strategic aim of the Company and overseeing the efficient implementation of these aims in order to achieve a successful and sustainable business. In practise the Executive Directors prepare and present the strategic plan to the Board, which the Board challenges in order to determine the strategic priorities. On an ongoing basis the Board ensures that the strategic plan is taken into consideration in its decision-making process.
|2: Seek to understand and meet shareholder needs and expectations||The Directors consider that the Annual Report and Financial Statements play an important role in providing Shareholders with an evaluation of the Company’s position and prospects. The Board aims to achieve clear reporting of financial performance to all Shareholders. The Board acknowledges the importance of an open dialogue with its institutional Shareholders and welcomes correspondence from private investors.
The Executive Directors have an ongoing programme of meetings with institutional investors and analysts twice a year for up to two weeks at a time. Feedback from these meetings is reported to the Board. In addition, the Non-Executive Chairman has held meetings with the major Shareholders, independently of the Executive Directors.
In addition to the Annual Report and the Company’s website, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is an ideal forum at which to communicate with investors, and the Board encourages Shareholder participation. All Board members are present at the AGM and are available to answer questions from Shareholders.
The articles of association require that at the AGM one third or as near as possible, of the Directors will retire by rotation. David Coghlan and Guy Millward will retire by rotation and put themselves forward for re-election at the AGM.
|3: Take into account wider stakeholder and social responsibilities and their implications for long-term success||Eckoh’s Corporate Responsibility statement, which focuses on our business ethics, employee engagement, our local community and the environment is found on pages 20 to 25 of the Annual Report.
In addition to the stakeholders covered in the Corporate Responsibility statement, our Customers are also important stakeholders, whose opinions and voice Eckoh values highly. We have various channels for customers and prospects to communicate with the Group, through regular business reviews, that are conducted by our Client Services Team, to post project reviews. In the UK there is also an annual Customer Satisfaction survey which we are also planning to launch in the US in the next financial year.
|4: Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation||The Board has overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining sound risk management and internal control systems, and for the monitoring of these systems to ensure that they are effective and fit for purpose. The Audit Committee provides support to the Board in this regard and overseas the monitoring process. Further information on the risk management and internal control system is set out in the Audit Committee report in the Annual Report on page 36.
The Directors have carried out a robust assessment of the principal risks facing the Group and how these risks could affect the business, financial condition or operations of the Group. The explanation of these principal risks including how they are being mitigated can be found on pages 16 to 17 of the Annual Report.
|5: Maintain the Board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the chair||The Board, led by the Chairman, has a collective responsibility and legal obligation to promote the interests of the Group. The Chairman is ultimately responsible for Corporate Governance. However, the Board is responsible for defining the corporate governance policies.
The Board is made up of three Non-Executive Directors and two Executive Directors and has delegated certain roles and responsibilities to its Audit, Nomination and Remuneration Committees whilst retaining overall responsibility.
Non-Executive Directors are all independent and are expected to devote sufficient time to the Company to meet their responsibilities.
The Board and its Committees met regularly throughout the year with the meetings scheduled around key dates in the Company’s corporate calendar. There were twelve scheduled meetings during the year and two meeting at short notice. Directors in principle attend all meetings either in person or by video or telephone conference arrangements. The table on page 29 of the Annual Report shows Directors’ attendance of Board and Committee meetings.
Further details covering the work undertaken by the Board during the year and the division of roles and responsibilities are set out on pages 29 to 30 of the Annual Report.
|6: ensure that between them the directors have the necessary up-to-date experience, skills and capabilities||All members bring different experiences and knowledge to the Board and between them they provide a blend of business understanding, technical knowhow, experience of public markets and financial experience. The Board consider that this is appropriate to enable it to successfully execute its long-term strategy.
All members of the Board attend seminars and regulatory events to ensure that their knowledge is up to date and relevant. Where the Board considers it does not possess the necessary expertise or experience it will engage the services of professional advisors. The Board considers that the three non-Executive Directors, including the Chairman, are independent.
|7: Evaluate board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement||During the financial year ended 31 March 2019, the Chairman led a formal review of the Board, its Committees and each Director. The performance evaluation of the Chairman was undertaken by the Chair of the Remuneration Committee, David Coghlan. The review centred on the following areas:
- the Board’s role and scope of its authority, how it is led by the Chairman, the frequency and time allotted to the Board meetings and their agendas.
- the Committees’ terms of reference, leadership, the frequency and time allotted to the Committee meetings and their agendas;
- the Directors feedback was free-ranging and unstructured with guidance on areas to consider.
|8: Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours||Our Corporate Responsibility section on pages 20 to 25 set out the importance of business ethics to Eckoh and the way we do business. The employee engagement section on pages 21 to 24 demonstrates the value we place on our employees and the culture we drive in the UK and US business.|
|9: Maintain governance structures and processes that are fit for purpose and support good decision-making by the board||The Board provides the strategic leadership for the Company and ensures that the business operates within the Corporate Governance framework that has been adopted. Its prime purpose is to ensure the delivery of Shareholder value in the long term by setting the business model and defining the strategic goals to achieve this.
The Board is supported by a Remuneration Committee, Audit Committee and Nomination Committee. Each committee has formally delegated duties and responsibilities and the terms of reference for the Committees are reviewed annually. The Committee Chair is responsible for reporting, throughout the year, to the Board any recommendations or issues which require further consideration by the Board. The Board reviews annually the list of matters that are reserved for the Board.
The report on the Nomination Committee, the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee are set out on pages 32, 34 and 37 respectively.
The role and responsibilities of the Chairman, Chief Executive and other Directors have been set out under principle 5 on pages 29 to 30 of the Annual Report.
|10: Communicate how the Group is governed and is performing by maintaining a dialogue with Shareholders and other relevant stakeholders||The Company is committed to open communication with all its Shareholders. Communications with Shareholders is predominantly through the Annual Report and AGM. The last AGM results can be found on the Group’s website. Other communications are in the form of full-year and half-year announcements, periodic market announcements (as appropriate) one-to-one meetings and investor roadshows. The Remuneration Committee report is included on pages 37 to 42 of the Annual Report.
The Group’s website www.eckoh.com is regularly updated. Annual Reports and Notices of Meetings can be found on the Group website.
The information on this website was last updated on 17 September 2020.
16 September 2020