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Board members at personal risk due to ignorance

Most of us are sick and tired of hearing the astounding stories of company directors failing to deliver on their corporate obligations. Royal Commissions, government enquiries and media inquisitions bring us daily revelations of new levels of negligence and incompetence from directors, even at the highest level.

How many company directors are actually aware of their duties and responsibilities under the Corporations Act 2001? Possibly very few it seems.

Directors of Australian companies are often typified as being reluctant learners, having been directors for many years, without any specific education or knowledge of their duties or responsibilities. And the consequences of this have never been more apparent.

But good corporate governance practices can reduce the risk of a collapse. They can also reduce the personal risk to directors if they are found to have breached their duties under the various Acts and regulations. Our most stable, well managed and profitable companies generally show sound corporate governance principles.

Many directors are trying to respond appropriately, to understand their obligations and to do all that a reasonable director can be expected to do in staying up-to-date.

Continuing education for company directors has never been more important for several reasons. First, the legal obligations which are imposed upon directors are always increasing. To appreciate this, we only need to look at how the size of the Corporations Act increases each year. This places the onus on directors to continually update their knowledge of the obligations imposed upon them. Even if directors believe they are acting appropriately, a refresher course on governance and directors' duties can be much needed. And these days, key interest groups, such as shareholders, are wanting to know what education board members have undertaken.

A new education package has been developed to help companies reduce the severe risk that arises from poor corporate governance.

The Directors Professional Education Package is an innovative, comprehensive package to help all directors looking for quality education about the legal duties and obligations required of them. It provides considerable practical advice and insight into matters such as the role of the board, how the board can be made more effective, and the composition and conduct of the board.

Published by CCH, Australia's leading business to business information supplier, it is the most significant recent contribution to the education of directors.

In short the Directors Professional Education Package:

  • acts as a refresher course on sound corporate governance principles;

  • delivers tailored professional development, based on good practice as well as legal requirements;

  • prepares directors for upcoming changes in corporate governance regulations and best practice; and

  • keeps directors informed with ongoing newsletters

The package has been designed expressly to meet the heavy time demands placed on directors by:

  • requiring only a minimum of six hours to complete;

  • is self-paced;

  • can be undertaken at any time, wherever they have access to a computer; and

  • is based on a learning experience built around a case study.

The Directors Professional Education Package should strike many directors as being an ideal insurance policy to help them meet their changing obligations over time and to encourage best practice at the highest levels.

Chief Operating Officer for CCH Australia, Philippa Hughes, stressed that: "This package was pilot tested on many experienced company directors and company secretaries who found the online learning to be educationally sound and highly acceptable as the ideal educational tool for directors."

Ms Hughes went on to mention that: "The package will be sold as a subscription to whole boards of companies — the intention is for each director to individually complete the learning and be able to share their experience with the rest of the board. It will satisfy the need for continuing education, risk management and internal company compliance procedures and can even generate a certificate for each individual on satisfactory completion of the course."

"No other education solution for directors offers such a cost-effective and convenient solution to the need for experienced directors to refresh their understanding of the law and best practice in this area."

The Directors Professional Education Package (DPEP) comprises:

  • 6 online learning modules delivered via the internet;

  • Reference Manual which is linked to the online content;

  • A User Guide which assists with completing each online module; and

  • a weekly emailed newsletter to keep abreast of the latest developments in this dynamic area.

This online course of six modules, together with the integrated Reference Manual, offers an innovative and practical approach which directors will find accessible, interesting and useful.

Each package comes with 7 user licences (additional licences are available) and is priced at $4,000 for the special introductory period.

The DPEP is available 25 October 2002 from CCH Australia on 1300 300 224.

About CCH

CCH Australia is a leading provider of smart information tools for business professionals, serving the legal, tax, business and education markets. CCH Australia is part of the Wolters Kluwer group of companies, one of the world's largest business publishing alliances. For more information please visit

For further information

For product and author related information, please contact:

Diana Marks

Publishing Development

CCH Australia Limited

Tel: 9857 1538


For marketing information or product launch information (25 October), please contact:

Jacinta Hibbert

Direct Marketing Campaign Manager

CCH Australia Limited

Tel: 9857 1647


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