Implementing and achieving effective governance in the public sector
Produced in partnership with Lisa Larsen of PPL
Implementing and achieving effective governance in the public sector

The following Public Law guidance note Produced in partnership with Lisa Larsen of PPL provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Implementing and achieving effective governance in the public sector
  • What does effective governance mean in the public sector?
  • Why do we practice effective governance?
  • Key principles of effective governance
  • Effective governance in practice
  • Examples of ‘hard’ characteristics
  • Potential barriers to implementing and achieving effective governance

What does effective governance mean in the public sector?

The function of governance is to ensure that an organisation or partnership fulfils its overall purpose, achieves its intended outcomes for citizens and service users, and operates in an effective, efficient and ethical manner. Effective governance encapsulates the successful process by which an organisation assures its identity and function, cascades its values into culture and ethos, and manages outputs, performance and individual staff roles.

The term governance is understood differently across the public sector, but at its most fundamental level can be thought of as ‘the arrangements put in place to ensure that the intended outcomes for stakeholders are defined and achieved’. These arrangements can include political, economic, social, environmental, legal and administrative structures and processes.

This Practice Note uses the following report extensively: International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

The characteristics of the public sector mean that the function performed by governance differs to that in the private sector. Rather than generating profits, public sector organisations are focused on achieving outcomes, and through both elected and non-elected officials are accountable for maintaining or improving the wellbeing of their citizens and the services they receive. Governance in the public sector must therefore ensure that organisations