Code of Corporate Governance
To achieve the principles of good corporate governance Stafford Borough Council has adopted a local code of corporate governance which comprise the following elements:-
- publish on a timely basis an annual report presenting an objective, understandable account of the authority's activities and achievements and its financial position and performance;
- publish on a timely basis a performance plan presenting an objective, balanced and understandable account and assessment of the authority's current performance in service delivery and its plans to maintain and improve service quality;
- have in place proper arrangements for the independent review of the financial and operational reporting processes;
- have in place proper arrangements designed to encourage individuals and groups from all sections of the community to engage with, contribute to and participate in the work of the authority and appropriate monitoring processes to ensure that they continue to work in practice;
- an explicit commitment to openness in all of their dealings, subject only to the need to preserve confidentiality in those specific circumstances where it is proper and appropriate to do so;
- establishment of clear channels of communication with all sections of their community and other stakeholders, and proper monitoring arrangements to ensure that they operate effectively;
- a vision for their local communities including strategic plans, priorities and targets that are developed through robust mechanisms, and in consultation with the local community and other key stakeholders, and that they are clearly articulated and disseminated.
Service Delivery Arrangements
- standards and targets for performance in the delivery of services on a sustainable basis and with reference to equality policies;
- sound systems for providing management information for performance measurement purposes;
- monitor and report performance against agreed standards and targets and develop comprehensive and understandable performance plans;
- arrangements to allocate resources according to priorities;
- foster effective relationships with other public sector agencies and the private and voluntary sectors, and consider outsourcing where it is efficient and effective to do so, in delivering services to meet the needs of the local community, and put in place processes to ensure that they operate effectively;
- respond positively to the findings and recommendations of external auditors and statutory inspectors and put in place arrangements for the effective implementation of agreed actions.
Structures and Processes
- clearly documented protocols governing relationships between members and officers;
- ensure that the relative roles and responsibilities of executive and other members, members generally and senior officers are clearly defined.
Roles and Responsibilities - Members
- meet on a formal basis regularly to set the strategic direction of the Council and to monitor service delivery;
- develop and maintain a scheme of delegated or reserved powers, which should include a formal schedule of those matters specifically reserved for the collective decision of the Council;
- clearly documented and understood management processes for policy development, implementation and review and for decision-making, monitoring and control, and reporting; and formal procedural and financial regulations to govern the conduct of the Council's business;
- arrangements to ensure that members are properly trained for their roles and have access to all relevant information, advice and resources necessary to enable them to carry out their roles effectively;
- define formally in writing the role of the executive member(s) of the authority, to include responsibility for providing effective strategic leadership to the Council and for ensuring that the Council successfully discharges its overall responsibilities for the activities of the organisation as a whole;
- define clearly in writing the roles and responsibilities of all members of the Council, together with the terms of their remuneration and its review.
Roles and Responsibilities - Officers
- a chief executive, as Head of the Paid Service to be responsible to the Council for all aspects of operational management;
- a senior officer to be responsible to the Council for ensuring that appropriate advice is given to it on all financial matters, for keeping proper financial records and accounts, and for maintaining an effective system of internal financial control (S151 Officer);
- a senior officer responsible to the authority for ensuring that agreed procedures are followed and that all applicable statutes, regulations and other relevant statements of good practice are complied with (Monitoring Officer);
- define clearly in writing the roles and responsibilities of all senior officers, together with the terms of their remuneration and its review;
- adopt clear protocols and codes of conduct to ensure that the implications for supporting community political leadership for the whole council are acknowledged and resolved.
Risk Management and Internal Control
- develop and maintain robust systems for identifying and evaluating all significant risks which involve the proactive participation of all those associated with planning and delivering services;
- effective risk management systems, including systems of internal control and an internal audit function. These arrangements to ensure compliance with all applicable statutes, regulations and relevant statements of best practice and to ensure that public funds are properly safeguarded and are used economically, efficiently and effectively, and in accordance with the statutory and other authorities that govern their use;
- ensure that services are delivered by trained and experienced people;
- effective arrangements for an objective review of the effectiveness of risk management and internal control, including internal audit;
- maintain an objective and professional relationship with external auditors and statutory inspectors;
- publish on a timely basis, within the annual report, an objective, balanced and understandable statement and assessment of the authority's risk management and internal control mechanisms and their effectiveness in practice.
Standards of Conduct
- formal codes of conduct defining the standards of personal behaviour to which individual members, officers, and agents of the authority are required to subscribe and put in place appropriate systems and processes to ensure that they are complied with;
- arrangements to ensure that members and employees of the Council are not influenced by prejudice, bias or conflicts of interest in dealing with different stakeholders and have in place appropriate processes to ensure that they continue to operate in practice;
- arrangements to ensure that procedures and operations are designed in conformity with appropriate ethical standards, and to monitor their continuing compliance in practice;
- arrangements for whistle blowing to which staff and all those contracting with the Council have access.
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