What makes an effective Chair and board in a public body


Public bodies are an intrinsic part of the delivery of public services and it is crucial that their boards have the necessary support, knowledge and expertise to operate well.

The Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) have today published a joint ‘how to’ guide for Chairs and Boards of public bodies.

Board Governance Essentials: A Guide for Chairs and Boards of Public Bodies offers Chairs and board members indispensible advice on the roles that they perform, in turn helping to make their time with the board as effective and fulfilling as possible. 

The guide looks at the components of effective Chairs and Boards in Public Bodies across four key areas:

  • Good corporate governance
  • Roles, responsibilities and relationships
  • Standards of behaviour in public life
  • Effective financial management and transparency

This guide is recommended reading for all Chairs and board members of public bodies. It pin points existing guidance and requirements for public body boards, building on them to provide a comprehensive and extensive guide for Chairs and board members of public bodies in England.

Jon Graham, Managing Director of CIPFA, said:

“Current economic conditions make it a challenging time to sit on the board of a public body. These boards play a critical role in ensuring good governance and performance and it is essential that board members are equipped to rise to the task.

“This guide provides essential information for Chairs and board members to ensure that they make the most of their position and are as effective as possible.”

Chris Banks CBE, Chair of the PCF, said:

“The PCF is committed to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public services by supporting Chairs of public bodies in their roles. This guide equips Chairs and board members with the information and advice that they will need to perform their role effectively.

“The development of the guide has been overseen by a steering group of PCF members, who have ensured that it adds value to all Chairs and Board members of public bodies, whatever their role and whatever their level of experience.

“A lot is written about good governance, but what we aimed to do here was produce a very practical guide for Chairs. And thanks to the steering group and CIPFA, that's what we have done”



Contact: Tim Windle

CIPFA Press Office

t 020 7543 5787

e tim.windle@cipfa.org.uk

Notes to editors

  • Board Governance Essentials is available for purchase from the CIPFA website and is free of charge for all members of the Public Chairs’ Forum.
  • Members of the PCF steering group are as follows:

Chris Banks CBE, Chair of the Public Chairs’ Forum

Sir Bert Massie, Former Chair of the Commission for the Compact

Robert Napier, Chair of the Homes and Communities Agency and the Met Office

Ed Smith, Chair of the Student Loans Company

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission

Anne Watts CBE, Chair of the Appointments Commission



CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance.