In line with the London Stock Exchange’s recent changes to the AIM Rules requiring all AIM -listed companies to adopt and comply with a recognised corporate governance code, the Board have adopted the Quoted Companies Alliance ( QCA ) Corporate Governance Code ( 2018 ).
The table below sets out how the Company applies the key governance principles defined in the QCA Code. Further information as to the application of the QCA Code will be provided in the Company’s next Annual Report and Accounts , and updated on the website here.
The Board recognises that good Corporate Governance is fundamental to effective management of the business and delivery of long term shareholder value. As such the Board is committed to ensuring that a strong Governance framework operates throughout the Group since this provides an essential foundation on which to build the future success of the Group.
Bob Holt OBE
This page was last updated 15 September 2021 .
Matters Reserved for the Board
Bob Holt OBE, Chairman
Wendy Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer
Lisa Barter, Finance Director
Gloria Cooke, Clinical Quality Director
Michael Steel, Executive Director (Resigned July 2020)
Michael Rogers, Non-Executive Director
Tony Bourne, Non-Executive Director
John Charlton, Group Company Secretary
THE QUOTED COMPANY ALLIANCE (QCA) CODE
|QCA Code Principles||The QCA’s notes on application:||What the Group does and why|
||The Board must be able to express a shared view of the company’s purpose, business model and strategy. It should go beyond the simple description of products and corporate structures and set out how the company intends to deliver shareholder value in the medium to long-term. It should demonstrate that the delivery of long-term growth is underpinned by a clear set of values aimed at protecting the company from unnecessary risk and securing its long-term future.||Totally plc is a leading out-of-hospital healthcare provider. The business operates through three divisions:
The Company’s focus remains on helping patients to avoid hospital and protecting the Emergency Departments of A&E.
Details of the Group’s strategy, business model and principal risks and uncertainties to the business, together with mitigating factors that the Board has identified, can be found within the Strategic Report.
||Directors must develop a good understanding of the needs and expectations of all elements of the company’s shareholder base.
The Board must manage shareholders’ expectations and should seek to understand the motivations behind shareholder voting decisions.
|The Board recognises the importance of active shareholder dialogue with both institutional and private shareholders, and this is led by the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer.
Following both the annual and interim results announcements, meetings are held with analysts, private investors and institutional investors of the Company. The Company’s website also has details of public announcements, Annual and Interim Reports and investor presentations.
The Company has also hosted a series of investor presentations open to all shareholders through the Investor Meet Company platform during the year.
The Annual General Meeting of the Company remains a key focus to give the Directors an opportunity to meet with shareholders and to provide an opportunity to give an update on the Company’s performance. It also provides shareholders with the opportunity to ask questions of the Directors, either in the formal AGM proceedings or informally after the event.
Long-term success relies upon good relations with a range of different stakeholder groups both internal (workforce) and external (suppliers, customers, regulators and others). The board needs to identify the company’s stakeholders and understand their needs, interests and expectations.
Where matters that relate to the company’s impact on society, the communities within which it operates or the environment have the potential to affect the company’s ability to deliver shareholder value over the medium to long-term, then those matters must be integrated into the company’s strategy and business model.
Feedback is an essential part of all control mechanisms. Systems need to be in place to solicit, consider and act on feedback from all stakeholder groups.
|The Board is conscious that our long-term success depends upon our interaction with our wider stakeholder base – patients, Clinical Commissioning Groups, staff, regulators and the wider community.
Totally plc operates in a heavily regulated sector where our work is subject to independent audit and review by Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Care Quality Commission. Formal or informal feedback is encouraged from staff and from other stakeholders through, amongst other routes, the Contact Us section of the Company website.
Employee engagement is fostered by regular Group-wide communication with all employees through staff engagement meetings and through Totally News – a Company-wide newsletter. Targeted COVID-19 communications have been issued to all staff during the pandemic with individual clinical support for every member of the team impacted by the virus.
||The Board needs to ensure that the company’s risk management framework identifies and addresses all relevant risks in order to execute and deliver strategy; companies need to consider their extended business, including the company’s supply chain, from key suppliers to end-customer.
Setting strategy includes determining the extent of exposure to the identified risks that the company is able to bear and willing to take (risk tolerance and risk appetite).
|Full details of the risks and uncertainties faced by the Group, and actions to mitigate risk, can be found in the Principal Risks and Uncertainties section of this Annual Report and Accounts.
The business operates in a highly regulated market with activities complying to NHS operational and administrative procedures. Stringent additional measures were implemented during the year as part of the Group’s response to COVID-19 reporting measures.
Risk management is a core focus of the Board and this is reviewed at each Board meeting. Detailed feedback is received from each operating subsidiary, together with external regulatory bodies, at these meetings. Formal risk registers for the business are reviewed on a regular basis by the Board. Operational risk and any newly identified risk to the business are also considered.
The Group Clinical Governance Board meets on a regular basis and reports from that Committee, and the newly formed Risk Committee, are circulated to the Group Board.
Regular dialogue is maintained with Clinical Commissioning Groups, the CQC, NHS England and our insurers. The Company maintains appropriate levels of insurance cover.
MAINTAIN A DYNAMIC MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
|QCA Code Principles||The QCA’s notes on application:||What the Group does and why|
||The Board members have a collective responsibility and legal obligation to promote the interests of the company, and are collectively responsible for defining corporate governance arrangements. Ultimate responsibility for the quality of, and approach to, corporate governance lies with the chair of the board.
The Board (and any committees) should be provided with high quality information in a timely manner to facilitate proper assessment of the matters requiring a decision or insight.
The Board should have an appropriate balance between executive and non-executive directors and should have at least two independent non-executive directors. Independence is a Board judgement.
The Board should be supported by committees (e.g. audit, remuneration, nomination) that have the necessary skills and knowledge to discharge their duties and responsibilities effectively.
Directors must commit the time necessary to fulfill their roles.
|The Company has a strong and experienced Board of Directors with strong financial and sector experience.
The Board, led by the Chairman, is responsible for the overall management of the Group including the approval and implementation of the Group’s objectives and strategy, budgets and operational performance along with the maintenance of sound internal control, corporate governance and risk management procedures.
Whilst the Board may delegate day-to-day management to the Executive Directors, subject to formal delegated authority limits, certain matters are reserved for full Board approval.
Details of matters reserved for the Board and the terms of reference for each of the Board Committees may be found on the Company website.
The Board of Directors comprises a Non-Executive Chairman, two further Non-Executive Directors and three Executive Directors. Composition of the Board changed during the year, following the resignation of Michael Steel on 10 July 2020. All Non-Executive Directors are considered to be independent. Details of the Directors, including brief biographies, Committee membership, key strengths and experience, skills and qualifications, can be found in the Annual Report.
The work of the Board is supported by the Audit, Remuneration and Nomination Committees, membership of which is made up of the Non-Executive Directors. The table below summarises the membership of the Board and the Board Committees and the attendance record of the Directors.
All Directors are required to commit sufficient time to their respective roles in order to adequately discharge their duties.
Directors retire by rotation and are subject to re-election at the Annual General Meeting of the Company. The Board has considered the independence of the Non-Executive Directors and the table below sets out details of their appointment date and those considered to be independent.
Each of the Directors is subject to either an Executive Service Agreement or a letter of appointment.
||The Board must have an appropriate balance of sector, financial and public markets skills and experience, as well as an appropriate balance of personal qualities and capabilities. The Board should understand and challenge its own diversity, including gender balance, as part of its composition.
The Board should not be dominated by one person or a group of people. Strong personal bonds can be important but can also divide a Board.
As companies evolve, the mix of skills and experience required on the board will change, and Board composition will need to evolve to reflect this change.
|The Board considers that there is currently an appropriate balance between sector, financial and public market skills and experience at Board level. Directors’ biographies including details of their key strengths and experience and their skills and qualifications can be found in this Annual Report.
The Directors are mindful of the need to maintain gender and equality balance to the Board.
Sector specific training for the Directors is maintained through regular business updates from the Executive Directors and briefings from external advisers.
External professional advice has only been sought for routine business matters.
||The Board should regularly review the effectiveness of its performance as a unit, as well as that of its committees and the individual directors.
The Board performance review may be carried out internally or, ideally, externally facilitated from time to time. The review should identify development or mentoring needs of individual directors or the wider senior management team.
It is healthy for membership of the Board to be periodically refreshed. Succession planning is a vital task for boards. No member of the Board should become indispensable.
|Whilst it had previously been agreed to undertake an internal Board evaluation process during the current financial year, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the additional demands that brought to management meant that process had to be further deferred as both time and resources were required elsewhere.
The Board has agreed that a formal Board evaluation should be undertaken during the current year. This will take into account both the requirements of the QCA Corporate Governance Code (2018) and the Financial Reporting Council’s Guidance on Board Effectiveness.
There is a performance evaluation undertaken of all Directors being proposed for re-election to ensure their performance continues to be effective and in the case of Non-Executive Directors that their continuing independence and time commitment to the role is demonstrated.
||The Board should embody and promote a corporate culture that is based on sound ethical values and behaviours and use it as an asset and a source of competitive advantage.
The policy set by the Board should be visible in the actions and decisions of the chief executive and the rest of the management team. Corporate values should guide the objectives and strategy of the Company.
The culture should be visible in every aspect of the business, including recruitment, nominations, training and engagement. The performance and reward system should endorse the desired ethical behaviours across all levels of the Company.
The corporate culture should be recognisable throughout the disclosures in the annual report, website and any other statements issued by the Company.
|The Strategic Report within the current Annual Report sets out Totally plc’s mission and values, all of which underpin how the Group is run.
Given the nature of the Group’s activities, Totally plc is subject to significant external scrutiny from Clinical Commissioning Groups and regulators. The business is fully compliant with all NHS requirements for governance, information security and quality management.
Compliance with laws
||The Company should maintain governance structures and processes in line with its corporate culture and appropriate to its:
The governance structures should evolve over time in parallel with its objectives, strategy and business model to reflect the development of the Company.
|Details of how the Board, its Committee structure and governance structures operate are included within the Board Assurance Framework which is regularly reviewed and updated.
The PLC Board held six meetings during the year.
The Company Secretary works closely with the Chairman and the Chairmen of the various Board Committees to ensure that Board procedures, including setting agendas and the timely distribution of papers, are complied with and that there are good communication flows between the Board and its Committees, and between senior management and Non-Executive Directors.
There is a formal agenda at each Board meeting which includes an operational update from the Chief Executive Officer, financial updates from the Finance Director and a detailed Clinical Quality update, including any interface with regulators from the Clinical Quality Director. The reports from the Executive Directors cover all business units within the Group and also cover new business opportunities. Strategic issues are dealt with at each Board meeting by the Chairman.
Within the annual calendar of Board meetings there is normally an annual budget presentation at which the Executive team presents its budget for the forthcoming financial year.
The Non-Executive Directors are encouraged to attend visits to the individual operating businesses to discuss performance and other issues with the management teams.
During the course of the year, other matters considered by the Board have included annual and half year results announcements, AGM resolutions, interactions with NHS England and the CQC, reports from the Group Clinical Governance Board, principal risks and uncertainties, shareholder communications and management incentivisation.
Board papers are circulated to the Directors at least three clear business days in advance of the meetings to enable proper consideration of the content of the papers.
The Chairman maintains regular contact with the Non-Executive Directors outside of formal Board meetings.
The roles of all Board members are as detailed below:
All Directors have access to the support and advice of the Company Secretary as required. Directors are also able to take independent professional advice at the Company’s expense in the furtherance of their duties where considered necessary.
The terms of reference for all Board Committees are reviewed regularly and can be found on the Company website at www.totallyplc.com/investor-relations/corporate-governance.
Committee Chairs attend the Company AGM and are available to answer any questions from shareholders regarding the activities of the Committees.
|QCA Code Principles||The QCA’s notes on application:||What the Group does and why|
||A healthy dialogue should exist between the board and all of its stakeholders, including shareholders, to enable all interested parties to come to informed decisions about the company.
In particular, appropriate communication and reporting structures should exist between the Board and all constituent parts of its shareholder base. This will assist:
It should be clear where these communication practices are described (annual report or website).
|In the year to 31 March 2021 the Executive Directors and members of the Board met and had dialogue with a large number of shareholders and investors.
The Board maintains an active dialogue with institutional and private shareholders and employees – both employee shareholders and others.
The Company’s website includes a specific Investor Relations section containing all RNS announcements, share price information and details of significant shareholders, corporate governance and annual documents available for download at www.totallyplc.com/investor-relations.
The website also provides details for contacting the Company on any issues.
The AGM remains an important opportunity for the Board to engage with shareholders. Formal questions may be tabled to the Board during the AGM, or asked informally in conversation after the AGM.
There is feedback to the full Board of any shareholder interaction at each Board meeting.
This year’s AGM will be held on 6 September 2021 and full details of the venue and resolutions proposed may be found in the Notice of Meeting enclosed with these accounts or on the Company website.
Approved by order of the Board.
Bob Holt, OBE Chairman, 21 July 2021