Governance as a profession and a promotion of leadership integrity

Today, I spotlight the parent and the focal point for the governance profession in Kenya, the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICS).

Many are unaware that good governance is a profession regulated by law and superintended by legally mandated statutory bodies.

ICS is established by Section 3 of the ICPSK Act and is concerned with public servants and other non-state officers working in governance, compliance and administration. These governance professionals are known as Certified Secretaries (CS) in Kenya, registered and licensed by the Registration of Certified Public Secretaries Board (RCPSB).

Section 20 of the ICPSK Act provides for the qualifications of a CS as a person awarded by the Examinations Board the Final Certificate of the Certified Public Secretaries Examination; holds a qualification which the Registration Board, by notice in the Gazette, has approved as sufficient to allow a person to be registered; or was on the 30th June 2002, both a citizen of Kenya and a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators; or was on the 30th June 2002, both ordinarily resident in Kenya and a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators; or was, at the commencement of this Act, registered as an accountant under section 24(1) of the Accountant Act (No. 15 of 2008); or was on the 30th June 2002, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

The Registration Board may require a person to satisfy other criteria like knowledge of local law and practice, professional fitness, etc., as the governance profession is one of integrity, trust, competence and ethics. The bulk of members are those registered based on the Final Certificate of the Certified Public Secretaries Examination conducted by KASNEB.

The training courses’ topics are sector-specific and broadly include CS induction and public and private practice, Boards Secretariat, County Government Governance, Governance, Ethics, risk and compliance, governance auditors accreditation, preparation of board papers, notices, agendas, minutes, resolutions, and conduct of meetings, artificial intelligence and governance, women in governance, boardroom dynamics, statutory compliance and managing change/transitions and much more and involves all sectors including public, private, religious, academia and civil society.

Through these trainings, the ICS works closely with both levels of government and has trained thousands of Board members of State Corporations and government and semi-government entities and officers in the sectors mentioned above.

The ICS also develops Codes of Governance such as the Mwongozo – The Code of Governance for State Corporations, for Capital Markets Authority (CMA), and many others, including many collaborations with the Public Service Commission (PSC) and State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC).

ICS has also prepared many governance guidelines, standards, instruments, and tools in support of the governance profession. Section 4 of the ICPSK Act provides membership categories of fellows who have rendered outstanding service to the Institute and the governance profession and ordinary CSs. The ICS College of Fellows is the highest organ of the ICS, revered in the governance profession, and mentors and guides the council and its membership.

In a colourful ceremony held on October 12th 2023, the ICS awarded fellowship of the Institute to 11 members including CS Mercy Wanjau, Secretary to the Cabinet, CS Dr Kenneth Wyne Mutuma, a council member of ICS, CS Rebecca Miano, Cabinet Secretary of Trade Investments and Industry, CS Dr Koki Muli Grignon, CS Dr Julius Monzi Muia, former Principal Secretary of Planning and National Treasury, and CS Patrick Mulwa, the Secretary/CEO of RCPSB.

Honorary Fellowships were awarded to three non-members of ICS, Dr Chris Kiptoo, the PS, National Treasury, Bishop Dr David Oginde, Chairman Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), and Dr Simon Kibet Rotich, the Secretary/CEO of the PSC.

Being awarded a fellowship is a great honour and an incredible responsibility to promote and protect good governance, leadership integrity, and professional ethics.

For those of us who have been in the governance profession for a long time, this recognition is an appreciation of great efforts amid difficulties and is greatly appreciated.