Confidant for Supervisory Board members

Conscience issue? Fellow supervisory board member with conflict of interest?
Sometimes you face a conscience issue in your role as supervisory board member. Or you notice that one of your fellow board members has an unwanted conflict of interest. Or you have sleepless nights worrying about threatening legal procedures. Or you don’t know how to address a continuity risk of doubt about ethical dilemma’s. In such situations you may feel very alone, yet you may feel the need to discuss such a matter on a strictly confidential basis with an experienced and independent colleague. As certified Confidant we offer that possibility.

A board member of a non-profit foundation was in doubt whether its contract party complied with all relevant laws. His acting might even contribute to the avoidance of it.
A joint analysis showed that his intution was correct, but the board member insufficiently discriminated between “incompetence” and “willful misconduct” at the side of the contract party. Including a few practical tips we were able to help the board member within 20 minutes.

New for supervisory board members
Confidential intervision is not new for professionals (accountants, lawyers and medical specialists have comparable services), but it is new for supervisory board members. Your performance is increasingly monitored by critical media. Your risk of a legal procedure or liability grows. In case (several) fellow supervisory board members are facing conflicts of interest or demonstrate indifferent, if not apathic behavior as reponse to a continuity risk, you often are very alone as supervisory board member.
Conscience occurs, but doesn’t make ik to the headlines. A discussion with fellow supervisory board members is not always possible, calling a lawyer may have an escalating effect and consulting third parties is not possible due to confidentiality. As a supervisory board member you therefore should be able to consult an experienced fellow board member in an informal, confidential setting. For that purpose we decided to establish ourselves as Confidant for Supervisory Board membersCommissarissen en Toezichthouders in te stellen.

We meet a certain need
We don’t expect many phone calls for this service, however we believe that we meet a certain need. We wouldn’t be surprised when the demand for this service increases in next years.

Usually we are called by board members who feel that a discussion with their fellow board members and executive board is not productive anymore , because relationships are not workable anymore, or a legal procedure is threatening. Often it already leaves being able to talk with a sounding board. Our task as Confidant is: listen, but also asking questions. What going on?

Your discussions with us as Confidant have a non-committal nature: “We agree verbally what we are going to do. We never take notes and don’t start a file. Supervisory board members need to discuss their feelings in an open and informal atmosphere. Of course everything remains confidential.”

No whistleblower, Confidentiality & Protocol
Supervisory board members are no whistleblowers. And neither thus the Confidant serve that purpose.
Remaining non-committant is leading for us. As Confidant we never want to act as a witness in a legal procedure: “We have to know our limitations. Example: we may advise on the cause of a conflict with the CEO, but as Confidant we are not lawyers. As Confidant I am able to listen, show understanding and ask questions. But always with the objective to reach a solution: what is the next step? Can it still be solved? Sometimes I help with introductions. My advise is always non-committal: take it or leave it.”
As Confidant we are not entitled to a legal privilege, but our services are covered by the Regulation for Behavioral and Professional rules for Accountants, including the obligation to maintain confidentiality.
Furthermore we comply with a Protocol Confidant, which you may find here.

People really may feel an emergency sometimes. Therefore we want keep offer our service accessible.
For that reason the first half hour is free. For longer consults we are forced to charge some costs, but at a reduced tariff.