Tony Brian suggests no form of governance can guarantee correct decisions every time, but that good governance should mean there are more correct decisions than if there wasn’t good governance. He sees constructive challenge as questioning which encourages the proposer to develop their thinking, and avoids the individual leaving the meeting feeling they have been personally criticised or belittled. The decision-making of the Court include the use of a ‘pathfinder’ approach. This is a two-stage process, allowing new ideas to be explored and developed. It avoids the risk of the governing body being placed in the position of having to take or leave a proposal. In short it creates space for discussion and development. Stage one of the pathfinder approach involves the submission and discussion of a concept paper.
The paper contains an initial assessment and associated financials. Discussion at this stage allows members of the Court to offer inputs from their own knowledge and expertise. If the idea is supported in principle, stage two of the pathfinder involves the development and discussion of a detailed paper to allow a decision to be made. The dialogue also touches on concerns as to the risks associated with smaller boards and groupthink, and about the remuneration of chairs and governors. Remuneration is rejected on the basis that it could comprise the individual’s independence