Caroline Oliver


promoting purpose, integrity and efficiency in governance


SEE POLICY GOVERNANCE®1 IN ACTION - 10th January, 2013, York, UK.


Come and see how Policy Governance boards tackle a whole range of common issues raised by participants. Caroline and others familiar with this advanced governance system will statr the ball rolling and invite you to join in as you feel moved. See here for the brochure and registration details.




Caroline is helping to develop a new British Standard on effective governance. Public consultation on BSI 13500 finishes at the end of November 2012 and the results are due to be published in Summer 2013. This code of practice aims to provide a framework for effective governance that encompasses system, control, direction and accountability and to be applicable to all types of organization. For more information see :




Caroline is the Managing Editor of Board Leadership, the bi-monthly newsletter from the Wiley Publishing Group of which John and Miriam Carver are Executive Co-Editors. To sign up for free monthly E-Alerts go to




Caroline recently rejoined as a member of the Board of the International Policy Governance Association of which she was the founding Chair (2000 – 2005).  She is also the founding Chair of the UK Policy Governance Association

(2006 to present).  The International Policy Governance Association’s 10thAnnual Conference “Speaking the Language of Board Leadership” along with the first Annual International Young Governors’ Summit are being held in Toronto, Canada from 20-22 June 2013.   For more information see the link to IPGA’s website.




Caroline is the Chief Executive of the international consulting firm Good to Govern, and the founder of the Xylem Group. Good to Govern focusses primarily on Policy Governance teaching and implementation with boards and senior executives. The Xylem Group, with partners in Canada and the USA, is concerned with the design of core accountability systems through whole organisations.




Caroline has contributed the first chapter in a recent Charity Channel publication:


 "You and Your NonProfit : Practical advice and tips from the CharityChannel Professional Community"





For latest information on other workshops in the UK, Canada and the USA please email:




Recent articles by Caroline Oliver


Whose heads should roll? - making sense of accountability (July 2011)


What difference does a board make? (June 2011)


What focusing on outcomes should mean (November 2010)


How hard should governance be?(September 2010)


Governing change from the boardroom (July 2010)


Gaining efficiency at the board level (June 2010)


Assessing Board Assessment (May 2010)


Reflections on public sector board governance (April 2010)


At the heart of the owner experience ( MAC blog April 2010)


Crisis governance (November 2009)


The importance of Boards in democracy (August 2009)


Creating your Board's key connection (June 2009)


Ownership and Boards (April 2009)


Danger: Targets at Work (March 2009)


One way to govern (February 2009)



A short article that appeared in the ACCA Journal, Health Service Review (June 2009)


Policy Governance in the NHS

(Stuart Emslie, John Bruce and Caroline Olive)


and a further article that appeared in the ACCA Journal on the topic of corporate governance:


Governance to the next level

(Vijay Mistri and Caroline Oliver)




Here is one of Caroline's Policy Governance articles:


Getting governance right at board level: the Policy Governance approach to building better National Health Service boards (2006)


(written with Stuart Emslie, former Head of Controls Assurance, Department of Health and John Bruce, Chairman, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)




Caroline recently lectured at Birkbeck College, University of London, Centre for Corporate Governance and Ethics on "The interface between theory and reality in corporate governance and ethics".


Her powerpoint presentation can be viewed here




Caroline's latest book (published in January 2009)


Getting Started with Policy Governance: Bringing Purpose, Integrity and Efficiency to Your Board's Work.

has received the following endorsements:


"Anyone following the events surrounding the financial turmoil in 2007 and 2008 has good reason to wonder if corporate governance is working. Caroline Oliver’s latest book provides a route map to an innovative system of governance that boards should find well worth considering and even trying, it also provides many clues as to how some of the recent financial sector problems could have been prevented. Shareholders too should be interested in this book as it is about them, describing a system for how boards steer their organisations in their owners’ interests."


Paul Moxey

Head of Corporate Governance and Risk Management

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Global)


"What a truly outstanding and thought-provoking book. It has changed how I work with Boards overnight and forever! If we all took the advice within the pages of this book, then organisations would deliver greater value to their owners and be better places to work."


Dr. Jay Bevington


Assurance and Advisory Public Sector

Deloitte and Touche LLP



This is a great read. Such a book is long overdue, it is comprehensive, accessible and fills a big gap in the market.


Geraldine Peacock, CBE

Former Chair of The Charity Commission.





Other books authored by Caroline:


Corporate Boards That Create Value: Governing Company Performance from the Boardroom.

by John Carver with Caroline Oliver (2002)


The Policy Governance Fieldbook: Practical Lessons, Tips and Tools from the Experiences of Real-World Boards.

by Caroline Oliver et al (1999)











1Policy Governance® is an internationally registered service mark of John Carver. Registration is only to ensure accurate description of the model rather than for financial gain. The model is available free to all with no royalties or license fees for its use. The authoritative website for the Policy Governance model






Selected client list
What people are saying about Policy Governance
A brief overview of Policy Governance



Contact information:


Caroline Oliver,

59, Millfield Road,


North Yorkshire,

YO23 1NH


Mobile:  07766 273837




Member of The Governance Corporation Network


Here is a brochure for, a web-based, board organisation software program for boards who are using Policy Governance. Contact Caroline who will arrange an on-line demonstration.




Please subscribe to my email list, below, if you wish to receive occasional newsletters on Policy Governance topics.