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How To Synchronise Your Governance Activities

August 3, 2020


All three lines of defense are stakeholders in a firm’s governance framework.

Their contributions must be orchestrated to provide a consistent and reliable information flow into the firm’s Governing body.

Very often the Company Secretarial function is holding the baton and conducting the players.

This culminates in Board level reporting where both positive assurance and exception reporting from Risk, Compliance, Internal audit, and specialist areas like information security must be brought together in a way which the Board can readily understand.

Decision Focus offers a holistic, integrated approach to making this happen.

It supports the activities of all three lines of defense and provides some unique and powerful capabilities to bring them all together. Automated Board and Committee ready reporting is at the pinnacle of these, but other valuable features are there too, such as policy management and multi-forum action tracking.

With all your governance assets on one platform you can see if the different components are synchronized effectively. Get this right and the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts.


Data-driven, automated & committee-ready reporting

Decision Focus provides entirely automated, committee-ready reports. No manual intervention is required. The report is a live, dynamic reflection of the data in Decision Focus.

You can open the report at any point in time, and it will have been automatically updated to reflect the latest data.

Beyond what is always reported, stakeholders can easily select additional information to escalate and add commentary to explain, at any time in the reporting period. In this way you can tune the report as you do the work.

As the reporting date draws close you simply need to review the report, not write the report; Decision Focus did that for you.

Importantly, there is a watertight audit trail from the report to underlying data.

Whether the Board is seeking proof when the report shows things are positive, or more detail when the report escalates a deficiency, the data is to hand.

The Board can be confident they are being informed in a reliable manner.


‘No surprises’ action management

An effective governance framework drives action. Decision Focus manages action initiation, tracking and reporting for all your Governance committees.

It distinguishes between operational owners who must execute the action, and executive owners who must speak to progress in committee meetings.

Decision Focus notifies both owners in good time so they can be prepared for the committee.

They can also discuss progress via the tool itself. The email trail is no longer required.

Committee chairs can track progress via committee specific dashboards and can also comment and question via the tool.

The Company Secretary is provided with a multi-committee dashboard and can do the same.

Decision Focus provides holistic action status at a glance and brings a ‘no surprises’ confidence to Governance.


Policy Management

The governance framework has to drive certain behaviors in the business. These can be motivated by regulation, ethical concerns, security, staff welfare and other areas where the Board must set ‘the tone from the top’.

Decision Focus supports the authorship, approval and dissemination of Board policies and where necessary underlying business standards or procedures. It also schedules and co-ordinates their periodic review and adjustment for continued suitability.

Some policies simply require that staff attest that they have ‘read, understood and will comply, and Decision Focus manages this.

Others require compliance to be measured and evidenced. Decisions Focus maps from the principles set out in the policy, to the procedural requirements in the underlying business standards, to the operational controls designed to ensure those requirements are satisfied.

Decision Focus supports periodic assessment and testing of these controls to provide an objective measure of the extent to which the requirements are met, and in turn whether the business is complying with policy.

As usual, dashboards reveal all, and compliance status can be included in Decision Focus’s Committee and Board level reporting.


Seamless senior management accountability

Regulators are placing an ever-increasing focus on individual accountability.

Using the UK’s Senior Managers and Certification Regime as an example, Function Holders must be pre-approved by the regulator and a Statement of Responsibility must be produced for each specifying the specific Prescribed Responsibilities they have.

Collectively these form the Management Responsibilities Map for the firm.

The regulator describes these statements and maps as required documentation, but Decision Focus captures them as structured data, and from this data automates the

generation of the documents for submission to the regulator.

Decision Focus’ data approach enables firms to go beyond documented clarity about who is responsible for what to help individuals understand the status of risks, controls, policies and business standards relevant to their specific Functions.

Individuals are provided with status dashboards tailored just for them, and the action initiation and tracking capability they need to take timely and effective action and drive it to completion.


Quality submissions, on time.

Firms must make numerous submissions each year to regulators. In a group with multiple entities and regulators total submissions can number in the hundreds.

Many are complex and data intense, requiring effort from multiple contributors to prepare.

Decision Focus manages this collaboration using workflow techniques. Firstly, the solution captures the Business Timetable which identifies the required submissions and places them in time.

Each submission in the timetable has a preparation and approval work-flow defined for it. These are drawn from a library, but users can define their own. The workflow automatically notifies contributors when to start work and provides further prompts as the due date approaches.

Approvers too are notified when their review and signature is needed.

Status is tracked by intuitive dashboards throughout. Optionally, breaches can be auto-logged for late submissions and remedial action initiated and tracked. These capabilities greatly reduce the risk of late submissions, but what about their quality? Decision Focus allows firms to reference the data sets each submission relies on.

Data quality criteria can be specified and mapped to the data quality controls operated to make sure the criteria are satisfied.

Decision Focus supports periodic control assessment and testing to uncover deficiencies and drive remedial action. This is important evidence for the regulator.


Regulatory Submissions

  • Timetable driven
  • Workflows manages production
  • Approval management
  • Data Quality Management

Action Management

  • Multi-committee
  • Status Dashboards
  • Notifications and reminders
  • Progress dialogue via tool


  • Automated
  • Committee-ready
  • Dynamic data content

Policy Management

  • Authorship and approval
  • Scheduled review and update
  • Automated compliance measurement

Management Accountability

  • Management Responsibility Map
  • Statements of Responsibility
  • Status dashboards for each manager
  • Remedial action management


Governance is not a silo activity.

It interweaves closely with compliance and risk management to form a complete and effective governance framework.

Decision Focus provides an integrated solution that manages all GRC and assurance activities in a single platform.

You get all the GRC functionality you need at a single, low cost. Importantly, this functionality can be readily adjusted to fit your needs exactly.

Decision Focus is a no-code platform offering comprehensive button-push configurability.

You are in control. As it should be.

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