Three #EthicsDates for your desk diary & wall calendar

Here’s a quick round-up of some interesting events coming up – and you can always search for #EthicsDates to find more… and with culture being integral to Ethical Business Practice, let’s start with:

Facing uncomfortable truths: NCVO’s culture change journey – Association of Chairs

Tuesday 25 January 2022 – 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm UK – Live Webinar – REGISTER HERE

NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations), represents and connects voluntary sector organisations, with currently over 16,000 member organisations across England. It develops resources and training, produces research, and advocates for support for charities. The speakers are:

Dr Priya Singh became Chair of NCVO in October 2020 after an extensive recruitment process. Priya is also Deputy Chair at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Priya has a wealth of experience as an Executive Director for organisations such as the Society of Assistance of Medical Families and the Medical Protection Society, and has a background in general practice.

Sarah Vibert

Sarah Vibert joined NCVO in January 2020 as Director of Membership and Engagement, and took up the position of Interim Chief Executive in January 2021. Sarah has had a range of senior roles in the sector, including working as Chief Executive of The Neurological Alliance. Sarah has also served as a trustee on boards including her current role at The Brain and Spine Foundation.

Help spread the word via LinkedIn

2022 European Business Ethics e-Forum

01 – 04 February 2022REGISTER HERE

For the 19th year, this Forum will bring together those who are responsible for the ethics, compliance or business conduct programmes within their organisations. Participants share with their peers practical information and experiences relating to current best practices and explore together some of the problems that are raised in doing business ethically around the globe.

European Compliance & Ethics Institute

14-16 March 2022 REGISTER HERE

Help spread the word via Twitter:

Got an event to share? Tag it with #EthicsDates… / ping me in LinkedIn / DM on Twitter.

New Year & New Handbook?

2022 is well underway and the FT section on Flexible Working has gotten a fair few people riled up with the recent article:

Why modern managers are reviving old-school staff handbooks

Corporate leaders are rewriting the rules of the workplace in response to the challenges of remote working – Emma Jacobs in the Financial Times 6 January 2022 (Paywall)

Sharing examples from a range of modern digitally driven businesses, the heckling in the comments section includes questions on why the examples aren’t from manufacturing – to the virtue and vice of banning email. And then some more random comments. There’s a reason for the old “don’t read the comments” meme in other words.

But let’s set the trolling aside and focus on the key development identified: the shift from the staff handbook of yore (largely fixed in time, covering mostly policies and rarely updated) to a more dynamic and iterative approach. And in some cases, as the example of GitLab from the article: these are made available directly on the web for all stakeholders to see – and I am encouraged to see that they’ve thought about ethics and values. And I am concerned others have not.

And as they explain:

Having a “handbook first” mentality ensures there is no duplication; the handbook is always up to date, and others are better able to contribute.

And they’re clear about the pro / cons – and how it ties into existing organisational practice – arguably making the approach accessible:

Documenting in the handbook before taking an action may require more time initially because you have to think about where to make the change, integrate it with the existing content, and then possibly add to or refactor the handbook to have a proper foundation. But, it saves time in the long run, and this communication is essential to our ability to continue scaling and adapting our organization.

This process is not unlike writing tests for your software. Only communicate a (proposed) change via a change to the handbook; don’t use a presentation, email, chat message, or another medium to communicate the components of the change. These other forms of communication might be more convenient for the presenter, but they make it harder for the audience to understand the context and the implications for other potentially affected processes.

Time to reflect

As you kick off the new year, here are some timely questions for reflection – whether you’re a General Counsel, Chief Risk/Ethics/Compliance Officer or Chairperson:

  • When did you last check out your own handbook?
  • Are you sure your employees actually read it?
  • Is it consistent with your Ethics/Compliance Code?
  • Does it match up to the needs for a rapidly changing environment?
  • And specifically, does it enable, or perhaps even hinder Ethical Business Practice?

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss this topic in more depth.


Cover photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Register now: 2022 OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum

The health, economic and social crisis triggered by the pandemic created new opportunities for integrity violations and corruption to thrive, prioritising integrity in governance like never before. While leaders were faced with this unique challenge, the COVID-19 crisis also exposed countries to unprecedented risks, leading to low levels of public trust across the globe. The 2022 OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum will bring together stakeholders across policy communities to discuss how creating different frameworks could resolve longstanding challenges. As leaders transition from uncertainty to establishing a renewed sense of global social purpose, and if we are to make good on our commitments on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, how can governments, business and civil society renew with integrity?
Renew governance, business, finance, sustainability, development aid, taxation and more, with integrity

Clever / Wise / Inept / Innocent

A quick and worthwhile excerpt from a newsletter from Tom Geraghty which I subscribe to:

It would be lovely to live in a world without organisational politics, but it’s unlikely to happen: power structures, hierarchies, vested interests and incentives all contribute to political organisational dynamics, and if we’re blind to them, we do ourselves and our team members a disservice. I’ve used this model (From Baddeley, S. and James, K., 1987) of the Fox, Owl, Donkey and Sheep before, where it can help us recognise the political behaviours of ourselves and others in organisations, and where we may ourselves be blind to politics or not acting with integrity

And this article from the OPM (now Traverse, I believe) is an excellent deeper dive into the various behaviours of the different personas. It’s clear from the example below that the Wise Owl is the persona that best facilitates psychological safety, acting with both political awareness and personal integrity.

Currently reading: Corruption from a Regulatory Perspective

Maria De Benedetto‘s new book:

“…seeks to enrich and, in some cases, reverse current ideas on corruption and its prevention. It is a long held belief that sanctions are the best guard against corrupt practise. This innovative work argues that in some cases sanctions paradoxically increase corruption and that controls provide opportunities for corrupt transactions. Instead it suggests that better regulation and responsive enforcement, not sanctions, offer the most effective response to corruption. Taking both a theoretical and applied approach, it examines the question from a global perspective, drawing on in particular a regulatory perspective, to provide a model for tackling corrupt practises.”

Get your copy here – and come back later for my review…

International Network for Delivery of Regulation

Founded in 2017 – and now recently incorporated as a non-profit – congrats to the team!

The International Network for Delivery of Regulation (INDR) is a membership organisation that aims to provide:

  • A Centre of Excellence to support improvement in the way regulation is delivered, namely how regulations are received and applied by businesses and others whose behaviour they seek to control, and the manner in which they are enforced.
  • A ‘safe space’ International Hub for the exchange of views and sharing of information on regulation and enforcement models, approaches, and techniques. This brings together governmental policy and regulatory practitioners with academic support, to enable strong practical applications of best regulatory delivery practice.
  • Coordination of further research and experience on regulatory delivery issues.

INDR is led by:

Graham Russell MBE, CEO of the Office for Product Safety and Standards, in the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Professor Christopher Hodges OBE, Emeritus Professor of Justice Systems at the University of Oxford, and Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford.

Srikanth Mangalam, President, Public Risk Management (PRISM) Institute, Canada.

Hilary Reid Evans, who coordinates INDR as Executive Director and is formerly Deputy Director General of the International Federation of Inspection Agencies.

Debate: Bringing Behavioural Science into the 3 LOD

 18 Nov 2021 16:55 – 17:45 – Debate – Culture & Conduct

  • What are the different approaches firms are taking to incorporate behavioural science within their existing control frameworks? Should banks be hiring a Chief Behavioural Officer?
  • What insights does behavioural science provide that can help financial institutions improve conduct?
  • How can behavioural science-based approaches help to effect behavioural change in organisations?
  • What are the key behavioural indicators which can be used to assess whether conduct programmes have had a lasting impact on an organisation?


Dr. Roger Noon, Conduct, Risk Culture and Behavioural Science Advisor


  • Irene Rey, Global Director, Culture and Conduct – TD Securities
  • Mirea Raaijmakers, Global Head Behavioural Risk Management – ING
  • Dr Rimma Teper, Senior Director, Behavioural Scientist, Internal Audit – RBC

…and yours truly – I hope to see you there – sign up for the whole conference here and be sure to connect too.

Every crisis is an opportunity

In an article for the Institute of Business Ethics, four well-respected ethics practitioners (Sally March, Jane Mitchell, Robert Smith and Ruth Steinholtz) argue that now is the time for ethics and compliance practitioners to lift their horizons, leverage their unique perspective of risk, governance and sustainability across their organisations, and take a more central role in addressing today’s business challenges. The alignment of purpose, values and culture will be fundamental for longer-term business success, and ethics and compliance functions can earn their seat at the top table by helping their boards and leadership teams bring that alignment to life.

The pandemic has forced businesses to reflect on purpose and values as well as strategies and objectives. It has brought to the fore the need for companies to treat their workforce in a way that is empathetic, fair and transparent. It has also been empowering, allowing individuals to climb out of the constraints of their roles and challenge established approaches. Ethics and compliance professionals have a huge role to play in influencing and encouraging colleagues to do the right thing. Homeworking has required much greater levels of trust and it has been more important than ever for organisations to be listening and learning when colleagues speak up, and to be actively monitoring their welfare.

Breaking down silos and connecting the dots across the organisation has never been more important. But to earn their seat at the table and make this happen, ethics and compliance practitioners also need to redefine their roles and recognise the need for new ways of thinking, towards those based on trust rather than the traditional focus on control. The article ends with a suggested set of actions for individuals to make the most of the opportunity.

More: – including the full article (PDF).

Recruiting and Training Your Ambassadors: It’s All About the People

All your burning questions answered – including how to:

  • Recruit the right people
  • Formalize the network to reflect your organization’s culture
  • Ensure your ambassadors have the skills and resources they need to be effective

At the one-day virtual SCCE conference on Leading an Effective Ethics & Compliance Ambassadors Program – I’ll be there alongside:

We hope to see you there! Sign up today: