1. Purpose and scope of the policy
The CIPFA/SOLACE Joint Working Group advocate use of their Guidance Document entitled ‘Delivering Good Governance in Local Government: Framework’ (“the Framework”) published in April 2016.
The Framework observes;
‘Governance arrangements in the public services are keenly observed and sometimes criticised. Significant governance failings attract huge attention – as they should – and one significant failing can taint a whole sector. Local government organisations are big business and are vitally important to tax payers and service users. They need to ensure that they meet the highest standards and that governance arrangements are not only sound but are seen to be sound.’
The Framework is intended to assist authorities in reviewing and accounting for their own unique approach. The overall aim is to;
‘ensure that resources are directed in accordance with agreed policy and according to priorities, that there is sound and inclusive decision making and that there is clear accountability for the use of those resources in order to achieve desired outcomes for service users and communities.’
The ‘International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector (CIPFA/IFAC, 2014)’ identifies the key principles which should underpin the governance arrangements of local authorities to ensure that the overarching requirement of ‘achieving the intended outcomes while acting in the public interest at all times’ is delivered.
Principles A and B permeate the other 5 core principles (C-G) and moreover that ‘good governance is dynamic, and that an entity as a whole should be committed to improving governance on a continuing basis through a process of evaluation and review.’
In essence, governance is about how we make sure that we are doing the right things, in the right way, for the right people, in a timely, inclusive, open, honest and accountable manner. Governance comprises our systems and processes, culture and values by which we act and account to, engage with and, where appropriate, lead our community.
This document forms the basis of our Local Code of Corporate Governance and identifies the overarching principles in respect of our corporate governance arrangements and sets out our objectives in respect of them. It should be noted that while this Policy sets out the basis of our corporate governance arrangements it does form part of a wider set of local documents and policies that overall constitute the Council’s Corporate Governance Framework.
Accordingly, our commitments are to:
- Accept the seven core principles of the Framework as the overarching basis for our Corporate Governance Framework.
- Publish an Annual Corporate Governance Assurance Statement with the annual Statement of Accounts – this is because such a statement if prepared and published in accordance with the Framework will fulfil the statutory duty for a local authority to conduct a review at least once in each financial year of the effectiveness of its system of internal control.
- Where necessary, produce an action plan of improvements to our Corporate Governance Framework, which will be monitored by the Council’s Cabinet assisted by Audit and Governance Committee.