Corporate Governance

The National Library Board (NLB) is established under the National Library Board Act (Chapter 197) and is governed by the statutory functions and constitution set out in the NLB Act. A Board comprising the Chairman and 16 non-executive members from sectors such as academia, the finance and social sectors, and public institutions, guides NLB in the performance of its functions to the public. With their diverse backgrounds and experience, members of the Board are well placed to provide NLB with strategic leadership as well as to put in place effective controls to meet the highest standards of governance. There is also one observer from the Ministry of Communications and Information.

The Board reviews and oversees NLB’s plans, performance and policies; ensures accountability in its operations; and develops mechanisms for gathering and responding to stakeholders’ feedback. Board members helm seven committees. These are: the Audit and Risk Committee, the Establishment Committee, the Finance Committee, the National Library Advisory Committee, the Public Library Advisory Committee, the Innovation & Technology Advisory Committee and the National Archives Advisory Committee.

An Internal Audit Unit further strengthens NLB’s corporate governance. Reporting directly to the Chairman of the Audit Committee and administratively to the Chief Executive Officer, the Internal Audit Unit reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of NLB’s internal control system. This includes evaluating policies, procedures and systems to assess the integrity of financial and operating information, compliance with laws and regulations, and economical and efficient use of resources.

All NLB staff also uphold public trust by complying with a Code of Ethics and Conduct. NLB staff are empowered to report potential ethical breaches confidentially to the Board’s Establishment Committee.

As a charity, NLB adheres to the recommended guidelines set out in the Code of Governance for Charities and Institutions of Public Character proposed by the Charity Council (the Code). NLB openly discloses its corporate governance practices covering board governance, conflict of interest policy and other relevant governance practices and controls on an annual basis. Any deviations from the Code are also explained as part of this annual submission. NLB continually seeks to improve governance to maintain the trust and confidence of our stakeholders.

The members of the Board are paid allowances based on a tiered structure, which takes into consideration the different workload and responsibilities held by the various members. Eight of our Board members receive an annual allowance of between $10,000 and $25,000, while nine members receive an annual allowance of less than $10,000. The annual remuneration of our four highest paid executives is between $300,000 and $500,000. This comprises their salary, bonus, benefits and employers’ CPF contribution.

NLB manages its reserves proactively to ensure funding sustainability for operating expenditure as well as long term commitments. The quantum of minimum and maximum cash reserve, taking into account working capital needs and long-term commitments, is reviewed and approved annually by the Finance Committee of the Board. Our Board regularly reviews our financial results and position via quarterly management reports. The cash reserve as at the balance sheet date was below one year’s annual expenditure.