Governance Reviews

At its heart governance is about decision-making and policy creation – and the necessary powers, authority, responsibility and limitations placed on decision-makers.

More than ever, good governance is vital – councils have a responsibility to ensure that decision-making is as effective and timely as it can be. In a council, decision-making should critically benefit from the perspective of all councillors, but also be accountable, and involve the public.

Councils will often want to update and modify their governance arrangements by tightening up existing processes and ensuring that avenues exist for all members to get involved in the policy development and decision-making process. Some councils will also decide to go a step further, and revisit their formal governance arrangements, looking at the different decision-making models available to them and taking steps to make a legal change towards an improved governance system.

When councils choose to review their governance model the task can become more complex and multifaceted than originally envisaged. Whilst governance structure options are limited, the review itself will often have far reaching implications and can generate considerable challenges. But as councils engage in governance reviews it is essential that a clear methodical and systematic approach is followed, whilst ensuring that there is full engagement from all involved.

CfPS offer a range of support services for councils who are considering their options on governance change:

  • Step back’ review to discover strengths and weaknesses of the existing model, including Member insight on expectations and drivers for change
  • Facilitated workshops with members and officers to assist clarity and understanding, following a collaborative approach to explore objectives, options and possibilities
  • Consideration of options – advice and expertise on the ‘best fit’
  • Options appraisals – improving, modifying or changing
  • Contrasting and learning – using CfPS network and experience to compare options and working models
  • Constitution implications – support to officers on procedural and constitutional matters
  • Implementation plans – putting it all into practice, member development and officer guidance

The Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS), is ideally placed to support councils with complex governance challenges. CfPS is the leading national organisation dedicated to the principles and practice of excellent governance and scrutiny. In all types of councils – Unitary, Council, Borough and District. We’ve worked and supported many councils through their governance reviews, helping them to find solutions that meet the needs and expectations of councils and the communities they serve.

Uniquely we bring a wealth of in-depth experience across local government and the public sector. Our work also covers engaging in extensive governance reviews and support for national institutions, public service bodies, membership organisations, charities and faith bodies.

Get in touch
To discuss how CfPS can help you implement governance changes please contact Ian Parry on 

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