World Rugby has launched an independent-led governance review set to be chaired by Sir Hugh Robertson.
The announcement came after World Rugby was placed in the top group in the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations’ (ASOIF) third International Federation governance report.
Only six of the 33 International Federations assessed by ASOIF were put into the top group.
The new review aims to build on the foundations of the 2015 version, which World Rugby claim delivered transformational wider union representation and gender inclusion on the governing body’s decision-making body, the Council.
It will also enhance the effectiveness and agility of World Rugby’s governance structures and support the best possible decision-making process for the global game.
British Olympic Committee Chairman and former Minister for Sport Sir Hugh is set to chair a working group, comprising independent experts, players and representatives from emerging and established rugby nations, with a broad range of experience and expertise.
"I am looking forward to working with this talented team from around the globe to conduct a comprehensive review and identify best practice," said Sir Hugh.
"Rugby is a thriving global sport, with a spirit of inclusivity, unity and diversity, and I am committed to ensuring that this is reflected in the review process and any recommendations made by the working group."
The group will review and analyse the effectiveness of the present governance model in line with the terms of reference approved by the World Rugby Council and Executive Committee.
Key focus areas will include gender balance and diversity on World Rugby Boards and Committees, player representation within World Rugby’s governance structures and the criteria for the appointment of Council members.
It will also identify best-practice governance models and lessons which World Rugby can apply.
"In our manifesto, Bernard Laporte and I made a promise to undertake a governance review to ensure World Rugby is agile in its thinking and decision-making and our structures further reflect the diversity and values of our game," said recently re-elected World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.
"This is more important now than ever, and I would like to thank Sir Hugh Robertson for agreeing to lead this process as well as the experienced, independent experts who will be part of this working group.
"As our game continues to grow and we welcome new playing nations, it is imperative our structures and leadership reflect our ambitions and the universality of the game."
Review findings are set to be presented to the World Rugby Council later this year.