Leadership Matters

Leadership Matters cover image


All organisations need good leadership. But what does this look like for a local authority operating in a complex regulatory environment and for which leadership is shared between members and officers? Leadership Matters provides practical guidance to help local authorities assess and develop their leadership teams.







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Local authority leadership teams encompass elected members charged with making executive decisions and senior officers. For members this includes executive committees, elected mayors, portfolio holders with delegated powers and other key committees. For officers it includes the head of paid service, the chief financial officer, the monitoring officer and other members of the senior management team. The success of the leadership team depends critically on the relationship between members and officers. Members will have a political mandate but may have limited understanding of the inner workings of the local authority and its legal and financial framework.

Officers will be well versed in the duties and responsibilities of their local authority but must look to elected members to determine the authority's direction, set priorities and take key decisions.

Leadership Matters provides practical guidance for leadership teams to critically assess how effectively they discharge their responsibilities. It covers:

  • purpose and outcomes
  • roles and responsibilities
  • ethics and promoting good conduct
  • risk management
  • leadership capability
  • stakeholder and employee engagement.

In addition to guidance covering the legal and regulatory background and best practice, each section sets out success factors and challenge questions for the leadership team. These are designed to provide a practical tool to support the leadership team improve its own effectiveness and, as a result, facilitate better outcomes for citizens.

Drawing on the principals in Delivering Good Governance in Local Government: Framework (CIPFA/Solace, 2016), this publication aims to provide a practical guide to encourage those with leadership responsibilities to consider their role. It will also be of interest to those supporting or aspiring to leadership including professional advisors and heads of internal audit.

This publication is available as a downloadable PDF. Customers and subscribers will need to log in to CIPFA’s website to access the publication.

Details of licensing arrangements for other categories of purchaser, which includes those organisations operating shared service arrangements, are available from CIPFA's Publications Department.

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