Governance describes the overall management approach through which senior executives direct and control the entire organization, using a combination of management information and hierarchical management control structures. Governance activities ensure that critical management information reaching the executive team is sufficiently complete, accurate and timely to enable appropriate management decision making, and provide the control mechanisms to ensure that strategies, directions and instructions from management are carried out systematically and effectively.
Obligational awareness refers to the ability of the organisation to make itself aware of all of its mandatory and voluntary obligations, namely relevant laws, regulatory requirements, industry codes and organizational standards, as well as standards of good governance, generally accepted best practices, ethics and community expectations. These obligations may be financial, strategic or operational where operational includes such diverse areas as property safety, product safety, food safety, workplace health and safety, asset maintenance, etc.
Risk management is the set of processes through which management identifies, analyzes, and, where necessary, responds appropriately to risks that might adversely affect realization of the organization’s business objectives. The response to risks typically depends on their perceived gravity, and involves controlling, avoiding, accepting or transferring them to a third party, whereas organizations routinely manage a wide range of risks (e.g. technological risks, commercial/financial risks, information security risks etc.).
Compliancemeans conforming with stated requirements. At an organizational level, it is achieved through management processes which identify the applicable requirements (defined for example in laws, regulations, contracts, strategies and policies), assess the state of compliance, assess the risks and potential costs of non-compliance against the projected expenses to achieve compliance, and hence prioritize, fund and initiate any corrective actions deemed necessary. Compliance administration refers to the administrative exercise of keeping all the compliance documents up to date, maintaining the currency of the risk controls and producing the compliance reports.