The Committee received and considered the report from the Corporate Services Officer.
The Corporate Services Officer reported that Corporate Governance had started to receive prominence during the 1990's following a series of concerns regarding the way that organisations, both in the public and private sectors, were operating. These concerns prompted a number of reviews, most notably the Cadbury Report, and in 1994 the Committee
on Standards in Public Life was formed. The first report of the Committee introduced the seven principles of public life,now known as the Nolan Principles, which were enshrined as the fundamental principles of how those in public office should behave.
The Corporate Services Officer reported that following this, CIPFA and SOLACE worked together to produce a framework for Corporate Governance in the public sector. This was first produced in 2001 and re-issued in 2007 and 2016. This had formed the basis for the Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Code of Corporate Governance. The Code of Corporate Governance was the framework of systems, processes, cultures and values by which the Council was directed and controlled and through which it accounted to, engaged with, and where appropriate, led the community. It enabled the Council to monitor the achievement of its strategic objectives and was based upon the seven principles of the International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector. The tools that made up the framework provided structures and guidance that Councillors and Officers required in order to ensure effective governance.
Good governance supported the Council through:
• Enabling the Council to achieve its objectives in an open and accountable way,
• Ensures decisions are sound and lawful, upholding the Council’s reputation and minimising the risk of financial loss,
• Ensures decisions take into account local people’s needs and priorities; and
• Giving the public confidence in the work we do.
The seven principles of good governance were:
A. Behaving with integrity, demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values, and respecting the rule of the law,
B. Ensuring openness and comprehensive stakeholder engagement,
C. Defining outcomes in terms of sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits,
D. Determining the interventions necessary to optimise the achievement of intended outcomes,
E. Developing the entity's capacity, including the capability of its leadership and the individuals within it,
F. Managing risks and performance through robust internal control and strong public financial
G. Implementing good practices in transparency, reporting and audit, to deliver effective
The Corporate Services Officer reported that from a legal perspective, the Council was required, at least once a year, to undertake a review of the effectiveness of its system of internal control and include a statement of this review (the Annual Governance Statement) with its published Statement of Accounts. The Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting, which the Council followed when preparing its Statement of Accounts, expected that authorities should give regard to the CIPFA guidance when preparing their Annual Governance Statement.
The Corporate Services Officer reported that CIPFA Guidance stated that “to achieve good governance, each local authority should be able to demonstrate that its governance structures comply with the core and sub-principles contained within this Framework. It should therefore develop and maintain a local code of governance/governance arrangements reflecting the principles set out”. Officers had reviewed the Council’s current governance arrangements against the CIPFA Principles of Good Governance,sub-principles and examples of systems, processes, documentation and other evidence demonstrating compliance. This had generally shown that the Council could demonstrate that it had a high degree of compliance with the principles and sub-principles, although there was room for development.
The Corporate Services Officer reported that the attached Code of Corporate Governance showed that good progress had been made in further embedding the Code of Corporate Governance, with deadlines and responsible officers for future action during 2021/22 incorporated into the document. Where further action had been identified, progress reports would be requested from responsible officers during the year.
That the Committee note the updated Code of Corporate Governance.