Core principles of governance

Corporate governance is the way a county council ensures that it is doing the right things, in the right way, for the right people, in a timely, inclusive, open, honest and accountable manner.

Lancashire County Council has as the core purpose of its corporate strategy to make sure we do those things that will make the most difference in reducing poverty, discrimination and inequality and improving the quality of life for local people.

It has adopted this code of corporate governance which incorporates the core principles of good governance set out in the framework and guidance published by CIPFA and SOLACE in June 2007.

The core principles together with their supporting principles are to be found at numbers 1-6 below; at 7 and 8 there are our proposals for monitoring and review and for our annual governance statement.

1. The county council focuses on the purpose of the county council and on outcomes for the community and creating and implementing a vision for its area ‘Lancashire – a place where everyone matters’.

Supporting principles

  • It exercises strategic leadership by developing and clearly communicating the county council’s purpose and vision and the intended outcomes for citizens and service users.
  • It uses its resources efficiently and provides (directly or indirectly) high quality cost effective services.

2. Members and officers of the county council work together to achieve a common purpose with clearly defined functions and roles.

Supporting principles

  • There is effective leadership throughout the county council; the county council is clear about executive and non executive functions and the role and responsibilities of the scrutiny function.
  • The county council ensures that there is a constructive working relationship between its Members and officers and that the responsibilities of members and officers are discharged to a high standard.
  • The county council ensures relationships between it and the public are clear so that each knows what to expect of the other.

3. The county council promotes ethical values and demonstrates the value of good governance through upholding high standards of conduct and behaviour.

Supporting principles

  • It ensures that members and officers exercise leadership by behaving in ways that exemplify high standards of conduct and effective governance.
  • It ensures that organisational values are put into practice and are effective.

4. The county council takes informed and transparent decisions which are subject to effective scrutiny and risk management.

Supporting principles

  • It is rigorous and transparent about how decisions are taken; it listens and acts on the outcome of constructive scrutiny.
  • It receives good quality information, advice and support to ensure that services are delivered effectively and are what the community wants/ needs.
  • It ensures that effective risk management arrangements are in place and followed.
  • It uses its legal powers to the full benefit of the citizens and communities in its area.

5. The county council develops the capacity and capability of its members and officers to be effective.

Supporting principles

  • It makes sure that members and officers have the skills, knowledge, experience and resources to perform well in their role.
  • It develops the capability of people with governance responsibilities and evaluates their performance as individuals and as a group.
  • It encourages new talent for membership of the County Council so that best use can be made of individuals’ skills and resources in balancing continuity and renewal.

6. The county council engages with local people and other stakeholders to ensure a robust public accountability supporting principles.

  • It exercises leadership through a robust scrutiny function which effectively engages local people and all local institutional stakeholders including partnerships and develops constructive accountability relationships.
  • It takes an active and planned approach to dialogue with the community and is responsive to their needs.
  • It makes best use of human resources by taking an active and planned approach to meet its responsibility to staff.

7. Monitoring and review

The council has two committees that have responsibilities in relation to the council’s corporate governance arrangements;

  • the Audit Committee has responsibilities relating to the council’s arrangements for
    • Approving the council’s accounts
    • External audit
    • Policies and practices that ensure compliance with statutory and other guidance
    • Internal audit
    • Assurances relating to the county council’s corporate governance arrangements.
  • the standards committee has responsibility for providing an overview of the implementation of member and officer codes and protocols relating to probity and conduct.

Through these committees the county council will ensure that these arrangements are kept under continual review by;

  • The work of internal audit
  • Reports prepared by managers with responsibility for aspects of this Code
  • External audit opinion
  • Other review agencies and Inspectorates
  • Opinion from the county council’s statutory officers

8. The annual governance statement

Each year the county council will publish an annual governance statement. This will provide an overall assessment of the county council’s corporate governance arrangements and an appraisal of the key controls in place to manage the council’s principal governance risks. The statement will also provide details of where improvements need to be made. The annual governance statement will be published as part of the county council’s annual statement of accounts and will be audited by our external auditors.