A formal evaluation of the performance of the Board, its committees and individual directors was carried out by Dr Long of Boardroom Review in late 2008 and presented to the Board. For the ﬁrst time the scope of the evaluation was widened to include the views of senior executives below board level. The aim is to ensure continuous improvement in the functioning of the Board. Arising from this review, the Board has agreed to certain changes and ongoing development in the following areas:
As in past years, the evaluation process also included a review, chaired by the senior independent non-executive director (without the chairman present), of the performance of the chairman. It is the Board's current intention to continue to engage an external reviewer for the Board effectiveness evaluation process from time to time. In light of the many changes to the Board during the year it was decided that an external review would not be carried out in 2009. In the meantime, the chairman has held individual briefings with each director to ensure that the necessary Board and committee processes are functioning properly. Since his appointment, Sir John has introduced a rolling agenda for the Board and instigated regular informal meetings of the non-executives prior to each Board meeting. These informal meetings give the Board the opportunity, inter alia, to discuss the performance of the management and to air subjects outside the confines of the boardroom in an informal but nevertheless constructive manner.