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Seven principles of trusteeships and NEDs

Seven principles of trusteeships and NEDs
Richard Kleiner

By Richard Kleiner

02 May 2018

Recently, I came across an insightful “Best Practice Guide” related to the role of trustees and NEDs in business. In my capacity as a NED, I have learned that in order to foster trust with board members, there are some crucial personal qualities and practices which are necessary to embody when undertaking a leadership role.

Engaging with these vital principles has proved to be an instrumental tool for me in my role as a NED and has enhanced my leadership qualities within our own firm.

I thought that it would be valuable to give an overview of the seven principles which were listed, as I’m sure they will resonate with other leaders in business and public office.

1. Selflessness

Those in positions of power such as Directors, Trustees and Holders of Public Office should make decisions based solely in the interest of their beneficiaries.

2. Integrity

Under all circumstances, Directors, Trustees and Holders of Public Office should avoid situations whereby they are under obligation to individuals or organisations who may try to exert influence over them in their capacity as a leader at their firm. Moreover, they should avoid making decisions in order to obtain financial, or indeed any other category of benefits for themselves or those close to them such as family or friends. To prevent misgivings, they must therefore declare and resolve any interests and relationships which might compromise their integrity as a leader.

3. Objectivity and impartiality

Directors, Trustees and Holders of Public Office must be impartial in their actions and decision making. They should use the most credible evidence possible to inform their activities, and act fairly, free from both discrimination and bias.

4. Accountability

The decisions and actions of Directors, Trustees and Holders of Public Office are always accountable to beneficiaries. To promote fairness, leaders must be willing to open themselves up to the level of scrutiny necessary to ensure they remain accountable when carrying out their role.

5. Openness and transparency

The actions and decisions of Directors, Trustees and Holders of Public Office should be taken in a manner which is transparent and open. This promotes the visibility of leaders’ activities and builds trust among stakeholders. Furthermore, leaders should avoid withholding important information from the beneficiaries of their organisation, aside from when there are relevant and lawful reasons for doing so.

6. Honesty

Directors, Trustees and Holders of Public Office should always endeavour to be honest and truthful. It is their responsibility as leaders to act as reliable conduits of information.

7. Leadership

It is crucial that Directors, Trustees and Holders of Public Office demonstrate the principles outlined above in their own conduct as a leader. Individuals in positions of power should always proactively promote and advocate for the principles of ‘best practice.’ In addition, they should exercise a willingness to challenge unethical conduct if it occurs. This instils a positive culture across an organisation.

If you would like to discuss how your business could benefit from my NED and our business advisory services, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at


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