Annual Governance Statement 2015/16 and Local Code of Corporate Governance Review
- Meeting of Audit, Governance and Standards Committee, Monday 11th July, 2016 6.30 pm (Item 10.)
- View the background to item 10.
The Head of Policy and Communications presented the draft Annual Governance Statement 2015/16 and a refreshed version of the Local Code of Corporate Governance for review and approval by the Committee prior to submission to the Policy and Resources Committee for agreement and then sign-off by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive. It was noted that:
· The purpose of the Annual Governance Statement was to provide assurance on the Council’s governance arrangements. The Statement included a review of the effectiveness of the arrangements in place for 2015/16, an update on the action taken to address governance issues in 2015/16 and an action plan for 2016/17.
· Action taken to address governance issues in 2015/16 included reviews by the Democracy Committee of the operation and effectiveness of the new Constitution adopted to support the introduction of a committee system of governance and of the process for electing the Mayor/appointing the Deputy Mayor.
· The action plan for 2016/17 included training and communication on information management; developing and implementing a residents’ survey action plan; establishing risk appetite; and following up audit reviews with a weak assurance rating (Safeguarding, Business Continuity and Mote Park and Cobtree Manor Park cafés).
· The purpose of the Local Code of Corporate Governance was to set out the core principles of corporate governance and the arrangements in place to fulfil these responsibilities. The Code was adopted in 2003 and had been reviewed annually to ensure that it remained fit for purpose and up to date. Minor revisions had been made to the Code as part of the annual review.
· In 2016/17, the Annual Governance Statement and the Local Code of Corporate Governance would need to be significantly overhauled to reflect the new “Delivering Good Governance Framework” which was published by CIPFA/Solace in April 2016 and was intended to be used as best practice for developing and maintaining a locally adopted code of governance.
In response to questions by Members, the Officers explained/confirmed that:
· The purpose of the Performance Plan was to set out how the Council was performing against the Key Performance Indicators and strategic actions that directly contributed to its corporate priorities. Progress made against Key Performance Indicators and strategic actions was reported to the Policy and Resources Committee on a quarterly basis and would also be reported to the other Service Committees this year. Covalent was an in-house performance and risk management system which was used to produce performance monitoring reports. The Annual Governance Statement could be amended to include an explanation of the system.
· The contract for the new webcasting system had been awarded to Public-i. It was hoped that the system, which included new microphones and an optional facility to manage voting at Council/Committee meetings, would be installed very soon as the Town Hall would be used for the Local Plan examination in October/November. Use of the new voting system would have governance implications which would be considered initially by the Democracy Committee. The Officers were confident that Public-i being market leaders would have solutions to any equalities issues associated with use of the new webcasting system.
· Following a review, ‘Reach the Summit’, an internal performance management tool, was no longer in existence and a new system would be introduced later in the year that acknowledged and rewarded teams that had performed well. The review had shown that people did not like the competitive nature of ‘Reach the Summit’ and felt that their performance was being measured against targets that were out of their control or external to them. An update on the operation of the new system would be provided six months after it had come into effect. The annual awards ceremony for staff where staff/Members were encouraged to nominate individuals or teams, focused on the Council’s six core values (STRIVE) in the delivery of services, was well established and budgeted for.
· A report would be submitted to the Policy and Resources Committee in September with options for conducting the annual consultation on the budget. Last year the consultation with the public was carried out as part of the Residents’ Survey, but a roadshow with Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen or an online consultation could be arranged to engage with local people.
· In terms of channel shift, there had been a significant drop in face to face contacts together with an increase in the use of online forms and contacts by phone. Whilst there was a questionnaire seeking feedback on the Council’s website, the issue of whether there was a satisfaction survey in respect of online consultations/transactions would be followed up and the details circulated. A new search function was being trialled on the Council’s website to direct people to the information required and consideration was being given to the provision of interactive online support.
· The reference to the Communication and Engagement Strategy in the Local Code of Corporate Governance would be amended to show that the Strategy was in place and reviewed annually. A refreshed action plan based on the results of the Residents’ Survey would be reported to the Policy and Resources Committee in September.
RESOLVED: That subject to the points raised in the discussion, the draft Annual Governance Statement 2015/16 and the refreshed Local Code of Corporate Governance be approved for submission to the Policy and Resources Committee for agreement and then sign-off by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive.
- Annual Governance Statement 2015-16 and Local Code of Corporate Governance, item 10. PDF 63 KB View as HTML (10./1) 56 KB
- Appendix A_Annual Governance Statement 2015-16, item 10. PDF 550 KB
- Appendix B: Local Code of Corporate Governance, item 10. PDF 112 KB View as HTML (10./4) 171 KB