Policy Governance

A complete operating system for boards

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What is Policy Governance®?

Policy Governance is a model of governance created by Dr. John Carver. It is often referred to as “Carver governance” or the “Carver model.”

Policy Governance principles form a complete governance system which enables boards to provide strategic leadership in creating the future for their organizations. Policy Governance is designed to ensure accountability of the Board to the owners or shareholders and of the CEO to the Board. The Carver model is made up of a set of internally consistent principles, all of which are necessary in order for the model to work because it was designed as a system.

  • Strategic Leadership

    Policy Governance enables your board to exercise strategic foresight and provide strategic leadership – the board’s key responsibility – by clearly defining, on behalf of the owners, what needs are to be met, for whom, and at what worth.

  • Role Clarity

    Policy Governance provides clear definition of where governance stops and management starts. This clarity frees the board from either “rubber-stamping” or “meddling.”

  • Empowerment with Rigorous Accountability

    By clearly defining expected organizational results and setting parameters within which management has freedom, the board can unleash management creativity but still hold management rigorously accountable.

  • Accountability to Owners

    Policy Governance helps your board be accountable to its shareholders (in equity corporations) or “moral owners” (in public sector and not-for-profit organizations).

Policy Governance is the registered service mark of John Carver. The authoritative website for the Policy Governance model can be found at

The Governance Coach™ can provide you with a qualified consultant to coach you in the implementation of the Policy Governance model.  We are experts in the Carver Model.  As Carver Governance consultants, we will work with you to enable your board to provide the strategic leadership needed for your organization to thrive in our complex, rapidly changing world.

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Policy Categories

  1. Ends – the benefits the organization is to produce, for which people, at what worth.
  2. Executive Limitations – the boundaries of prudence and ethics within which the Board allows the CEO to make further decisions about means.
  3. Board–Management Delegation – the manner in which the Board delegates authority to staff through the CEO and holds the CEO accountable.
  4. Governance Process – the manner in which the Board itself operates, including its philosophy, accountability, discipline, and its own job.

With these policies in place, the Board can delegate the achievement of the Ends to the CEO, be assured that they are being achieved, and that the means used to achieve them are within the Board’s boundaries of prudence and ethics. This assurance is based, not on trust, but on a carefully structured monitoring process.

The Governance Coach provides fully qualified Policy Governance consultants and coaches who are experts in the Carver Policy governance model.

We provide Carver governance training, coaching and consulting for all levels – from introductory Policy Governance seminars through to advanced training and coaching for boards who aspire to a mastery of the Policy Governance model.

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Behind the Scenes of Policy Governance®, Board Chair Forum

Custom On-Site Workshops

Check out our custom on-site workshops for boards.

REALBoard Self-Directed Learning™

Learn more about our interactive REALBoard Self-Directed Learning modules, covering all the basics of Policy Governance.
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