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Company secretaries are responsible for ensuring that an organisation complies with standard financial and legal practice and maintains high standards of corporate governance. Although they are not strictly required to provide legal advice, company secretaries must have a thorough understanding of the laws that affect their areas of work. Company secretaries hold a strategic position at the heart of governance operations within an organisation and act as a point of communication between the board of directors and company shareholders, reporting in a timely and accurate manner on company procedures and developments. They can also provide an important link between the board of directors and an organisation's executive management. Public limited companies are legally required to employ a company secretary and many private companies also have the role. Positions can be found across all sectors, in the public and not-for- profit sectors in particular. Alternative job titles may include 'head of governance' or 'head of democratic services'