A new advice service for companies seeking to enhance their boardroom governance has been launched by Burness Paull LLP.

The independent law firm has engaged three consultants with extensive experience in corporate legal and governance roles, to deliver the new offering.

They are David Elston, who has advised PLCs, mutual and private businesses, particularly in the financial sector, and has recently worked with Santander and the Phoenix Group; Donald McPherson, former general counsel and group company secretary of Alliance Trust; and Sheelagh Duffield, who has held senior executive roles including general counsel and company secretary positions at Scottish Power plc, Scottish Television plc and The Miller Group Ltd, and now has her own business, Savendie, providing governance advice and board evaluation services.

The new service is designed to support a broad spectrum of organisations, including major corporates with listed company obligations, privately held companies that do not have formal governance structures in place, and private equity houses that want to ensure they have appropriate governance in their portfolio companies. The three experts will offer the ability to work flexibly on specific projects or longer term requirements.

Their expertise will support Burness Paull’s existing in-house team of 12 company secretarial and governance specialists, along with consultant Jennifer Adams, formerly legal director at Aegon UK plc, who provides governance support for pension scheme trustee boards, on an ongoing or project specific basis.

Gary Gray, head of Governance & Company Secretarial Services at Burness Paull, commented: “The demand for specialist governance advice has grown steadily in recent years due to new regulations that have put business ethics and good governance under more scrutiny than ever before.

“Failure to meet the UK’s increasingly strict corporate governance regime can potentially have a huge reputational impact, including an impact on share prices, as well as the legal issues for companies and potential personal consequences for directors.

“That’s why we have responded to client demand to provide a service specifically aimed at helping organisations protect themselves against such threats.”