ICSA's extensive network of branches offers support and opportunity for governance professionals
ICSA has 29 branches and network groups across the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Associated Territories. They regularly hold events, which offer a friendly local opportunity to update your skills and knowledge and meet others doing the same job as you. The events are usually open to anyone who has an interest in governance – irrespective of whether they are ICSA members or not – and are often free.
What is more, they offer the opportunity to enrich your understanding of company secretarial practice by networking with other professionals.
This is particularly valuable if you are the only governance professional in your organisation and can help to prevent professional isolation. I started working for the ICSA as UK branch liaison and mentoring manager a few months ago, and spent the first few weeks speaking to all the UK branch and network chairs. They are all passionate about what the branches and network groups can offer members and non-members alike and would welcome new attendees.
Alongside me, Theresa Minnie, ICSA's head of outreach, liaises with the branch chairs in the Channel Islands and Associated Territories and helps to organise CPD events, conferences and student support groups in those jurisdictions.
Younger members and students are particularly encouraged to attend. There are always experienced members on hand to provide useful professional advice and support, although if you just want to listen to the speaker and chat to the person sitting next to you, that is also fine.
Charlotte Norris is an ICSA student and had this to say about her experience: 'When I attended my first ICSA branch networking event, I had not been in the company secretariat department role for long. I must say I was a little apprehensive attending on my own, as my manager was unable to make it.
'I need not have worried – everyone was really friendly and welcoming and it is a great place to practise networking skills. I have made some helpful contacts (I even got offered a job interview), plus it helps me keep up to date with what is going on in the world of company secretaries and governance professionals. I would definitely recommend attending.'
Branches and network groups hold a wide variety of events. Some recent examples include:
- What will the Trade Secrets Directive mean for you? (Bristol and district network)
- Effective networking for company secretaries (Essex branch)
- Audit committees, organisational culture, directors duties (Ireland branch)
- Reforms to whistleblowing laws in Northern Ireland, the governance implications of S.7 of the Criminal Finances Act and an introspective from a former member of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland on the governance controls in a devolved government context (Northern Ireland branch)
- Brexit seminar: Sir Mark Boleat gave an update on Brexit and its implications for the UK, European Union, US, Asia, Commonwealth and the wider global markets (Thames Valley branch)
- Branch strategic update and ICSA changes (Zambia branch).
During 2018, there have also been a number of branch conferences in Guernsey, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey and Scotland, while the Uganda branch had a joint conference with the Capital Markets Authority. Speakers covered topics such as leading board development, diversity and delivery of information to the board, risk, GDPR, cyber security, conflicts of interest.
If these sound interesting, then why not get in touch with your local branch or network? You will find a list of current branches and networks below and you can find up-to-date details of events and activities on the ICSA website. If you would like your branch to consider including a particular topic in a local event, just let them know.
Full list of ICSA branches
UK, Ireland and Channel Islands
Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire
Bristol and district
East of England
Isle of Man
South Coast Company Secretary Forum
Swindon network group
British Virgin Islands
Trinidad and Tobago
Stay up to date
To receive an email invitation to your next local branch event, you will need to make sure you have consented to receiving this kind of information. Without your permission, ICSA will be unable to send you regular details of branch activities under new data protection law.
Branches and network groups are often looking for new faces on their committees. For example, a new branch will be launched in Ghana shortly and is looking for volunteers. If you are interested in joining a branch committee in the UK, the Channel Islands or Associated Territories, just send us an email and we can put you in touch with your local branch chair.
If you cannot see a local branch on the list, why not consider setting one up? I have been chair of the Yorkshire branch for a year and it is extremely rewarding. ICSA offers a great deal of help to set up a branch, as well with the administration of meeting invitations and attendance lists.
Alongside the benefits of having a local branch, there are advantages to being a committee member. These can include:
- The satisfaction of giving something back
- A stronger CV
- An increased professional profile and network
- The development of new skills, such as networking and chairing skills, which could help you achieve your learning objectives and developing competencies.
If you are interested in setting up a new UK or Associated Territory branch or network, or want to know more about joining a branch committee, send us an email at email@example.com.
We would also like to hear from you at this address if you have any comments, feedback or suggestions about branch and network activity in general.
Lesley Ward ACIS is branch liaison and mentoring manager at ICSA and chair of the ICSA Yorkshire branch