Core Principle 1
Focussing on the Council's purpose and on outcomes for its citizens and service users
Core Principle 2
Members and officers working together to achieve a common purpose with clearly defined functions and roles
Core Principle 3
Promoting high standards of conduct and behaviour across the council
Core Principle 4
Making transparent decisions which are subject to scrutiny and risk management
Core Principle 5
Developing the capacity of members and officers to be effective
Core Principle 6
Engaging with local people and stakeholders
This Council recognises that in order to fulfil its purpose and deliver the intended outcomes for its citizens and service users it needs to have in place comprehensive arrangements for corporate governance and accountability designed to ensure that it operates in an effective, efficient and ethical manner.
The Cadbury Report (1992) defined corporate governance as "the systems by which organisations are directed and controlled". It identified three fundamental principles of corporate governance:
Openness: This ensures that all interested parties are confident in the organisation itself. It leads to effective and timely action and lends itself to necessary scrutiny.
Integrity: This is straightforward dealing reflected in the honesty of the annual report in portraying a balanced view. It depends on the integrity of those who prepare the report which is a reflection of the professional standards within the organisation.
Accountability: This is the process whereby individuals are responsible for their actions. It is achieved by all parties having a clear understanding of those responsibilities, and having clearly defined roles through a robust structure.
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) adapted the Cadbury definition for the local government sector. It defines corporate governance as "the systems and processes, the cultures and values, by which local government bodies are directed and controlled and through which they account to, engage with and, where appropriate, lead their communities".
The Nolan Committee (1995) identified seven general principles of conduct which should underpin public life and which all holders of public office should practise:
The Relevant Authorities (General Principles) Order 2001 added three additional principles to those identified by the Nolan Committee:
Respect for others
Duty to uphold the law
Stewardship (using resources prudently)
Building on these principles the Good Governance Standard for Public Services (2004) set out six core principles that should underpin the governance arrangements of all public bodies.
In 2007 CIPFA published a Framework for Delivering Corporate Governance in Local Government to assist Councils to review their governance arrangements and to highlight any gaps. It adapts the six core principles of good governance for the local government sector and recommends that all councils should comply with them.
This Council believes that effective corporate governance is achieved by:
putting in place sound control systems and processes
regular checking to make sure those systems and processes are working in practice
reviewing those control systems and processes at least annually
This Code demonstrates how the Council does this in practice and how it complies with each of the six principles. These are:
1. Focussing on the Council's purpose and outcomes for its citizens and service users
2. Members and officers working together to achieve a common purpose with clearly defined functions and roles
3. Promoting high standards of conduct and behaviour across the council
4. Making transparent decisions which are subject to scrutiny and risk management
5. Developing the capacity of members and officers to be effective
6. Engaging with local people and stakeholders
The Code brings together in one document all the governance and accountability arrangements which the Council currently has in place and highlights areas where more work is required.
The Code will be reviewed and updated annually.
As part of the annual accounts process the Council has been required to review its system of internal controls and to publish a statement of that review known as the Statement on Internal Control (SIC). This year, with effect from 1 April 2007, the scope of the review has been extended to include the Council's wider governance arrangements as well as its internal controls. The Council is now required to publish an Annual Governance Statement (AGS) with a wider scope than the SIC, which it will replace. The Code will facilitate the Council's review of its corporate governance arrangements for the purposes of the AGS.
This Local Code of Corporate Governance was approved by City Council on 2 April 2008.
(Throughout this Code, references to meetings of Groups, Boards, Committees etc. are evidenced by the agendas and minutes of those meetings.)