The future of the Public Sector is always uncertain. However, with good governance you can feel confident 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, 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. 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 taxpayers, decisions must be public, especially financial ones.

Financial 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. To be successful you have to perform regular risk assessments and have prepared solutions to certain scenarios. 

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

5) Consensus Oriented

Consensus oriented 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 take 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 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, and fully understand their roles and responsibilities.

8) Accountability

The Public Sector needs to be accountable to governing bodies, legislative bodies and the general public. There must be regular internal and external audits to maintain transparency.

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


1) Rule of Law

You likely already have a Code of Governance set out by your regulatory body but it may also be a good idea to have an organisation-specific Code. This should set out what you expect of your employees.

It may also be helpful to have a Governance Manager to oversee compliance for the whole organisation. 

2) Transparency

There needs to be open communication with your stakeholders. This may mean publishing annual reports, board documents and other key information. 

Before this is published, ensure information is correct and appropriate. If there is a reason financial information can not be disclosed, you must have an independent auditor.

3) Participation

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

You also want your employees to be satisfied with the company. 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. 

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 will become our “new-normal”.

Risk assessments are also shifting dramatically and responses to more extreme scenarios will have to be planned out with increased seriousness. For the Public Sector to be successful, you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way. 

5) Consensus Oriented

The best way to hear the concerns of your stakeholders is 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.

You need to hear the concerns of your employees as well as 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.

6)Equity and Inclusiveness

Part of maintaining a diverse workforce is enabling accessibility. 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.

Any software you purchase must have built-in accessibility features. Your team members may have specific requirements, and it is better to purchase with them in mind than try to find solutions later. 

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

7) Effectiveness and Efficiency

Prioritising ESG will help your organisation focus on sustainability. The Climate Crisis has reached boiling point and requires an international framework for change. This means going digital as much as you can. 

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

You should also monitor ways you can save money. The Public Sector needs to squeeze the most out of every budget given in the long term. This is especially the case with software where going digital will actually be cheaper.

8) Accountability

As stated, accountability means audits. You should make sure you are doing your due diligence at every stage of the process. This can range from internal reviews to independent audits.

This also means protecting special category data and maintaining high security. Public Sector bodies often deal with sensitive information and it is your responsibility to keep it safe. If there is a data breach, there must 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. 

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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