By Alistair Steenson, Head of Training, CIPFA
Corporate governance in the public sector is 'fundamental to any effective organisation' and a 'hallmark of any well-managed corporate entity' according to the Code of good practice 2011 (Cabinet Office).
CIPFA is a champion of good governance and financial management in the public sector both domestically and internationally.
A corporate governance failure in a public body can often become a high profile event that may elicit a great deal of press and public interest and affect an organisation and its reputation for a considerable amount of time. This means that good corporate governance within the public sector becomes essential for the effective delivery of public services. It is therefore essential that public sector leaders set the proper tone and culture within their organisation: effectively challenging and scrutinising the public bodies they work within.
This leadership must come from the top. The role of the board, its committees and those who report to them is vital in ensuring robust governance. If the board is to work effectively, skilled chairs and board members must instill the right character in their public body. This will help any organisation to deliver its objectives and provide best value public services.
While good governance may not automatically lead to success, it will assist in developing good management, performance, stewardship of public money and public engagement. In other words, good governance should create the environment in which an organisation can succeed and be seen to prosper.
CIPFA’s new e-learning module, Good Governance in the Public Services, provides a starting point for reviewing and improving governance within your organisation. Supported by our experience in providing advice, guidance and training, it examines the pre-requisites for effective governance based upon principles that can be applied to every public service organisation in any context both within the UK and internationally.