The future of the Public Sector is always uncertain, however, with good governance you can rest assured that you will succeed no matter what. 

 

Good Governance in the Public Sector is based upon the 8 principles set out by the UN.

  1. Rule of Law
  2. Transparency
  3. Participation
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Consensus Oriented
  6. Equity and Inclusiveness
  7. Effectiveness and Efficiency
  8. Accountability

 

It may be unclear what these terms mean as they can be quite vague, so we have compiled a detailed explanation for each one and how with a few simple steps your organisation can achieve good governance.

 

What Do The 8 Principles Of Good Governance Mean In Practice?

 

1) Rule of Law

Good governance requires legal frameworks to maintain standards. This means compliance should always be your top priority.

The Public Sector is answerable to the taxpayers and their governing bodies and thus should have a clear Code of Governance that they are held accountable to. 

 

2) Transparency

As the Public Sector is funded by the taxpayers, it is essential that all decisions are public. This is especially the case with finances: all balance books should be made public. 

Reporting is essential to avoid any sudden crisis. This means that audit trails should be a priority at all times. 



3) Participation

From AGMs to community outreach, your organisation should prioritise engagement with your stakeholders

There should also be open communication channels for the stakeholders, be that institutional or individual citizens.

 

4) Responsiveness

Risks are prevalent in all sectors, as the Covid-19 Pandemic has proven. This means that in order to be successful you have to perform regular risk assessments and have prepared solutions to certain scenarios. 

You also have to be capable of responding rapidly to changes. This may be in policy or could also mean the shift in methods of working, i.e. remote or hybrid working.

 

5) Consensus Oriented

This means taking into account the needs of your stakeholders as well as the rule of law. 

Public sector organisations and bodies are there to serve a diverse set of needs and should be taking this into account at all stages. 

 

6) Equity and Inclusiveness

The importance of diversity must not be understated. You want to be at the forefront of innovation, and diversity encourages this.

This means accessibility for all your employees and community members. 

 

7) Effectiveness and Efficiency

The Public Sector needs to be durable, and thus sustainable. All processes should be developed with longevity and cost-effectiveness in mind. 

This also applies to the decision-making process, which should be fulfilled with individuals who are qualified and capable of their positions, and fully understand the roles and responsibilities given to them. 

 

8) Accountability

As mentioned, the Public Sector needs to be accountable to governing bodies, legislative bodies and the general public.

This means that there has to be regular both internal and external audits, as well as previously stated, full transparency. 

 

 

How You Can Use These 8 Principles To Improve Your Governance:

 

1) Rule of Law

Although you likely already have a Code of Governance set out by your regulatory body, it may also be a good idea to have your own Code of Governance specific for your organisation. This will set out clearly what values and procedures you expect your employees to have at the forefront of their minds at all times. 

It may also be helpful to have a Governance Manager who would oversee compliance for the whole organisation. This will reinforce a clear chain of command and prove that you are dedicated to ensuring good governance throughout all processes. 



2) Transparency

There needs to be open communication with your stakeholders at all times. This may mean publishing annual reports, board documents and other key information. Before this is published, you should always ensure that the information is correct and appropriate to be shared. If there is a reason financial information can not be disclosed, then it is essential that you have an independent auditor.

3) Participation

If you want more community involvement, it is good to focus on the S in ESG and create social programmes. This may be in the form of outreach or mentoring programmes, anything which makes your industry more accessible. 

You also want your own employees to be satisfied with the company. It has been proven that those who feel like an active member of the workplace community work harder and stay longer. The Public Sector is at a significant risk of talent loss with the Private Sector offering higher salaries and more enrichment opportunities. Consider what social schemes would enrich your employees working environment and life.

 

4) Responsiveness

Consider investing in software which enables you to switch between remote, hybrid and in-person working with ease. This constant shift between methods of working is likely to become our “new-normal” and in fact studies have found that your workers may even be more productive working from home!

Risk assessments are also likely to shift dramatically and responses to more extreme scenarios will have to be planned out with increased seriousness. Most people believed the current global pandemic was incredibly unlikely before it happened! For the Public Sector to be successful, you need to ensure you are prepared for whatever comes your way. 



5) Consensus Oriented

The best way to hear the concerns of your stakeholders would be to hold a forum or town hall, allowing for their voices to be heard by your Senior Management or Executive Team. This information should then be fed back at the subsequent board meeting.

It is equally as important for you to hear the concerns of your employees as well as of those of the general public. At the end of the day, your first priority is governing your teams. This can be done through surveys, either quarterly or annually. You never know, you may discover solutions or problem areas you have been neglecting to consider. 



6)Equity and Inclusiveness

Part of ensuring that you can have a diverse workforce is enabling accessibility for all. We have already mentioned the importance of having software which allows for remote or hybrid working, but during this difficult period it is essential that your vulnerable workers are capable of working from home. You may also have workers who find this easier in the long run and this should be taken into consideration.

It is crucial that any software you purchase has built-in accessibility features. Your team members may have specific need-requirements you have to cater for, and it is better to purchase with them in mind than try to find solutions after the fact. 

You should also review your hiring practices, especially for Board Members. Consider implementing term limits for Board Members to ensure that you prioritise innovation. If you decide to do this, make sure that you have a smooth onboarding of all your new Members.



7) Effectiveness and Efficiency

Prioritising ESG will help your organisation to focus on sustainability. The Climate Crisis has reached boiling point and it is time for every person and organisation to make dramatic changes. This means going digital as much as you possibly can. 

Consider hiring a CSO to oversee your ESG projects. Having dedicated support can ensure that you are able to refocus your energy into what really matters. 

You should also be monitoring ways in which you can save money. The Public Sector needs to squeeze the most it can out of every budget given. There may be solutions that initially seem more expensive but once the calculations are made, will actually save money in the long run. This is especially the case with software, resources may initially seem cheaper but usually in the long run, going digital will actually be cheaper.

 

8) Accountability

As previously stated, accountability means audits. You should make sure that at every stage of your processes you are doing your due diligence. This can range from internal reviews, independent audits or publishing your Code of Governance.

This also means protecting special category data and ensuring that you have the best security at all times. Public Sector bodies often deal with sensitive information and it is your responsibility to keep it safe. If there is a data breach, there needs to be a full investigation and appropriate consequences.

 

How Can Convene Help You Improve Your Governance?

Convene is an award-winning Board Portal, available specifically for your Board Members and Senior Management Team or now organisation wide with Convene in Teams, designed to digitise and streamline your meeting processes from start-to-finish. 

We have a feature that will help you achieve every step of good governance:

  1. A Document Library with role-based access to ensure that your sensitive documents will only be seen by those you permit and other documents are available for all to see.
  2. A built-in audit trail so you can be sure you are compliant with any and all regulations.
  3. You can follow-along with the speaker during a meeting so you will literally always be on the same page during discussions.
  4. Integrated Video Conferencing so you can make the switch from remote to hybrid working seamlessly, whilst still viewing your Board Pack all on one screen.
  5. Surveys, with the option for anonymity, so you can be sure you are aware of your employees opinions.
  6. Our accessibility features, including text-to-voice, make us the leading accessible Board Portal.
  7. Not only do we help you save resources such as paper, and thus being better for the environment but we also save you money! The cost of paper adds up and our option for cloud-hosting also ensures that you can be at the forefront of energy savings.
  8. Our state-of-the-art security is CMMI-Level 5 accredited, which means we could work with NASA, so you can rest assured that your data is given the protection it deserves.


If you would like to learn more about how Convene’s wide range of features can help your organisation achieve better governance, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us, read our customer success stories, or book a demo today!

Gabriella Mangham

Written by Gabriella Mangham

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