Board paper templates

Need to write a board paper?  Here's a couple of templates to get you started.

Generally papers will either be created to update the board and keep them informed or to ask for a decision that requires board approval.

See below for a template for each.  Update or delete any guidance or content in [square brackets] on the template

General points

  1. Use simple language.  Write clearly and keep to standards e.g. £32m not £32.0m, £32k not £32.0k and reflect the same numbers within a table if using it.
  2. Be brief and get to the point.
  3. Be clear on what you need / expect from the board (if anything) - provide sufficient information to the Board to enable it to discharge its duties (eg approve plans, monitor performance, identify and manage risk etc)
  4. Use bullets and numbers where helpful to aid readability
  5. Ask a colleague to proof read and suggest improvements
  6. Ensure any risks/mitigations are included in the report if --required.

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Template 1 - Decision or approval required

[A maximum of six pages , unless otherwise agreed with the CEO or Chair - if appendices then this can be up to eight pages]
[Provide sufficient information to the Board to enable it to discharge its duties (eg approve plans, monitor performance, identify and manage risk etc)]

Paper X: [Paper title]

Prepared by: [Author]

Prepared for: [XXX] Board

Date: [XX Month YYY]

Introduction & purpose of the paper

[A short introduction. The “Why”.  This paper is asking for a decision or opinion on X]

Executive Summary

[Write this section last.  It should be a very short succinct summary of the point(s) you are making in the paper.  One page at the most]

Background to the proposal

[Outline why the paper has come into being, any other relevant context and document purpose. For example, ‘We are seeking approval or this is for investment x’. It may be useful to use the 4Ps ‘Position, Problem, Possibilities, Proposal’ framework here.]

Proposed activity

[Give a full explanation of what are we planning to do, with timelines.]

Costs and benefits

Explain the costs and financial/other benefits and put these in a table - keep this in a uniformed manner:-

Heading - (£m or £k) - show negatives with a bracket


Heading

Heading

Item

200

200

TOTAL

200

200

Risks and mitigations

[Explain the risks associated with the proposed activity and what we are doing about them (including where we are explicitly accepting a given risk). Compare your risk assessment to the risk appetite and tolerances set out in the Risk Management framework and captured within your functional risk register.]

Other considerations

[Explain, for example, the regulatory, technology and organisational implications of our proposals.]

Recommendations and next steps

[Make clear the specific requests to the Board that you are making, numbering each of them for ease of reference. For example:

We are seeking Board approval for:

1.     the acquisition outlined in Proposed Activity

2.     capital expenditure of £xxxx to complete software development and testing of the technical solution.

In setting out next steps, these should follow the SMART mnemonic and be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound]

Appendices

[Add any related notes here.  Or - delete if not needed]

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Template 2 - Update

[This template to be used when an update or review of progress is required]
[Provide sufficient information to the Board to enable it to discharge its duties (eg approve plans, monitor performance, identify and manage risk etc]
[A maximum of three pages will be accepted, unless otherwise agreed with the CEO or Chair - if appendices then five pages]

Paper X: [Paper title]

Prepared by: [Author]

Prepared for: [XXX] Board

Date: [XX Month YYY]

Introduction & purpose of the paper

[A short introduction. The “Why”.  This paper is for information/review - it is to provide information on……… regarding the….etc ]

Executive Summary

[Write this section last.  It should be a very short succinct summary of the point(s) you are making in the paper.  Only a couple of paragraphs]

[In the next sections, these are the types of headers that that might make sense for your paper.  Delete any that don’t make sense. Only use what you need.  Make up your own headings if you need to, these are just ideas….]

Background to the update

[Outline why the paper has come into being, any other relevant context and document purpose. For example, ‘We are updating you on the progress of x, informing you of what has happened with y’..]

Activity

[Give a full explanation of what has happened with timelines.]

Impact

[Explain what impact this has had already - e.g. bkgs made, extra revenue etc etc or what this updated system/product could do:-]
[If using a table...]

Heading - (£m or £k) - show negatives with a bracket


Heading

Heading

Item

200.0

200.0

TOTAL

200.0

200.0

Learnings

[what has been found out/what will not be done again etc]

Recommendations and next Steps

[What is going to be done next, by when - timeline - and value - will board require another update. In setting out next steps, be  Specific,  Measurable,  Achievable, Realistic, Timebound]

Appendices

[Add any related notes here.  Or - delete if not needed]



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