The Board undertakes a formal evaluation of its performance, and of each Director, on an annual basis. The principal Committees of the Board undertake an annual evaluation of their effectiveness, in accordance with their terms of reference.
As in prior years, the Board met in January 2016 before its scheduled meeting to provide a forum for discussion of the Board evaluation outside the formal meeting. This forum has proven useful for a number of years. The Chairman and non-executive Directors also meet after each Board meeting without executive Directors present to ensure there is an opportunity to discuss potentially sensitive matters. The Chief Executive will join for part of these meetings at least once per annum. The Senior Independent Director meets with the non-executive Directors without the Chairman present, at least annually, to evaluate the Chairman's performance.
The Executives are also given the opportunity to meet with the Chairman and/or the Senior Independent Director separately. The outcome of these meetings is fed back to individuals by the Chairman, Senior Independent Director or Chief Executive, as appropriate.
The Board and Committee evaluations conducted in 2015 were externally facilitated by EquityCommunications. Accordingly, the Board and Committee evaluation for 2016 was an internal evaluation, conducted by the Chairman having a structured one-to-one session with each member of the Board/ Committees and the Company Secretary. The results were anonymised and provided to the whole Board in January 2016.
The main areas of focus arising from the evaluation process, and subsequently discussed by the Board, were: the size and balance of the Board; the continued development of the Group's strategic priorities and future direction; executive succession planning; and the allocation of resources.