External interest in what boards do increases year on year and it is for this reason that we set out, in the following detail, a description of our activities. Our agendas are prepared in such a way that we have the time to discuss the key issues of the moment without affecting the proper oversight of those matters with which we have to deal. As will be seen from the reports of the committees, directors have visited a number of BP’s facilities during the year. This is a key part not only of building our understanding of the business but also testing the mood and the morale of our people in these difficult times.
As we look to the future, it is vital that the work of the board evolves with the business. We cannot be working to one rhythm while the business works to another. It is all too easy for a board to work to a historic schedule created to address past challenges. For this reason I am pleased that this year we have carried out a fully externally facilitated evaluation. We are reflecting on the conclusions which are set out elsewhere; it is important that we keep on learning. However, behind all of this an effective board has to keep asking itself two key questions: are we talking about the right things and are we adding value?
It is some time since we reviewed our governance policies. We will be doing this in 2016. The results of our evaluation will be part of this process. Prompted by changes to the Governance Code, we have further focused on risk and our systems of internal control. This has been a valuable process for the board. After what seems almost annual changes to the Code, I welcome the FRC’s decision that this will not be reviewed again until 2019, enabling the UK governance landscape to settle and establish. I am however looking forward to BP being able to contribute to the FRC’s work on succession and culture, which both remain key issues for any board.