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Local Code of Corporate Governance

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What is Corporate Governance?

Corporate Governance is about the systems, processes and values by which councils operate and by which they engage with, and are held accountable to their communities and stakeholders

Preston City Council is committed to demonstrating that it has the necessary corporate governance arrangements in place to perform effectively and, building on best practice, has refreshed its Code of Corporate Governance to one which follows the latest guidance issued by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) entitled:

"Delivering Good Governance in Local Government (2016)"

The guidance defines the seven core principles, each supported by sub- principles that should underpin the governance framework of a local authority.

  • Behaving with integrity, demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values and respecting the rule of law
  • Ensuring openness and comprehensive stakeholder engagement
  • Defining outcomes in terms of sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits
  • Determining the interventions necessary to optimise the achievement of the intended outcomes
  • Developing the entity's capacity, including the capability of its leadership and the individuals within it.
  • Managing risks and performance through robust internal control and strong public financial management
  • Implementing good practices in transparency, reporting and audit to deliver effective accountability

Benefits of a Code of Corporate Governance

The documents and arrangements set out in the framework within this code demonstrate that the Council continually seeks to ensure it remains well governed and that to deliver good governance the Council must seek to achieve its objectives whilst acting in the public interest at all times.

The Corporate Governance Group is responsible for ensuring the Code is reviewed annually as part of the preparation of the Annual Governance Statement. Any revisions to the Code will be reported to the Audit Committee for approval as part of this process.

Principle A - Behaving with Integrity, demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values and respecting rules of law

Supporting Principles

  • Behaving with integrity
  • Demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values
  • Respecting the rule of law

To achieve this the City Council will

  • Publish an Annual Governance Statement which reviews the effectiveness of the Council's governance framework
  • Maintain the established Corporate Governance Group (CGG) with responsibility for monitoring this framework and all governance matters
  • Maintain shared values which underpin an ethos of good governance
  • Comply with legislation and all relevant professional standards
  • Maintain formal codes of conduct defining standards of behaviour expected of both Members and Officers
  • Gifts and Hospitality Guidelines
  • Maintain a framework which addresses the risks of fraud and corruption including an Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy and Policy and a Whistleblowing policy
  • Maintain effective systems to protect the rights of staff, including whistleblowing policies which are accessible and regularly communicated
  • Maintain a register of interests and seek declarations to be made at the start of Council meetings
  • Maintain arrangements to investigate complaints against Members and Officers including alleged misconduct
  • Maintain an effective Standards Committee;
  • Completed Equality Impact Assessments to help officers meet the statutory equality and communities requirements and to embed economic, social and environmental sustainability into everything the Council does.

This is evidenced by

  • AnnualGovernance Statement
  • Codes ofConduct
  • Preston Values Statement
  • Employee Handbook
  • Council Meetingminutes
  • Anti-Fraud and Corruption Statement and Strategy
  • Fraud Response Plan
  • Whistleblowing Policy
  • Audit Committee
  • Register ofInterests - officers and members
  • Register of Gifts and Hospitality
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Contract Procedure Rules
  • Financial Procedure Rules
  • Statement of Accounts
  • External inspection of the Statement of Accounts
  • Standards Committee
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee
  • Council reports including finance and legal commentary
  • Completed Equality Impact Assessments
  • Equality policies
  • Staff Forum
  • Preston Fairness Charter
  • Faith Covenant
  • The Constitution including
    Codes of Conduct for Members and Officers and the Scheme of Delegation
  • Modern Day Slavery Policy and Statement
  • The role of Chief Financial Officer in Public Service Organisations (CIPFA)
  • Declaration of Interests at the start of every formally constituted Council meeting
  • Annual GARS
  • 7 minute briefings

Principle B - Ensuring openness and comprehensive stakeholder engagement

Supporting Principles

  • Openness
  • Engaging comprehensively with Institutional stakeholders
  • Engaging stakeholders effectively, including citizens and service users

To achieve this, the City Council will

  • Seek the views of its stakeholders and respond appropriately
  • Provide a variety of opportunities for the public to engage effectively with the Council including rights to information, participation and how to complain or comment
  • Ensure Council meetings are accessible
  • Publish Agendas, minutes, report packs and a calendar for a full year for Council meetings on Modern Gov and a formal notice of each meeting will be displayed at Council offices
  • Ensure compliance with requirements under the transparency code - published on the Councils website and intranet
  • Publish an Annual Statement of Accounts and Annual Auditors report to inform stakeholders and service users of the previous year's achievements and outcomes
  • Encourage and assist citizens to inspect the Statement of Accounts in accordance with regulations
  • Consult with stakeholders in the planning process
  • Consult with stakeholders in setting the annual budget;
  • Council's Publication Scheme

This is evidenced by

  • Public attendance at Council meetings
  • Preston Fairness Charter
  • Public speaking in Planning Committee and Council
  • Constitution
  • Modern.gov
  • Media Strategy
  • Public inspection of Accounts by citizens
  • Partnership Agreements
  • Communications Strategy
  • Inclusion Reference Group
  • Budget consultation and service led consultation
  • Customer Access work
  • Public Consultations
  • Equality Impact Assessments
  • Achieving Preston's Priorities.
  • Dedicated web page explaining how the council's decisions are taken during the Covid-19 pandemic including planning applications. 
  • Full webcast of virtual meetings toensure meeting assessable

Principle C - Defining outcomes in terms of sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits

Supporting Principles

  • Defining Outcomes
  • Sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits

To achieve this, the City Council will

  • Make a clear statement of the Council's purpose and vision and use it as a basis for all corporate and service planning
  • Publish on the Council's website the various reports to communicate the Council's activities and achievements including its financial position and performance
  • Prioritise resources to deal with competing demands and consider the impact of decisions in the Medium Term Financial Strategy
  • Identify and manage risks to the achievement of outcomes
  • Work with Partners to achieve common goals;
  • Work with stakeholders to drive the economic, regeneration of the city of Preston to deliver long term economic and productivity growth;
  • Work with other Lancashire authorities to make a submission to the Secretary of State for a Combined Authority for Lancashire;
  • The City Council will work with all City Deal Partners to achieve growth in the Preston area;
  • Work through effective partnerships , for example Preston City Deal, Community Safety Partnership, BID, Winckley Square;
  • Working with neighbouring authorities to deliver the Local Plan.

This is evidenced by

  • Achieving Preston's Priorities
  • Mid-Year Review
  • Fairness Charter
  • Community Wealth Building Initiative
  • Service plans
  • AnnualGovernance Statement
  • Annual GARS
  • Preston City Deal Collaboration Agreement
  • Statement ofAccounts
  • External Auditors Letter and report
  • Medium Term Financial Strategy
  • Reporting of environmental data
  • Budget Working Group
  • Local Development Plan
  • Narrative Report in Annual Accounts
  • Combined Authority Initiative
  • Memorandum of Understanding with Chorley and South Ribble Councils
  • City of Preston Town's Fund Boar
  • Climate Change Member Working Group
  • Procurement Strategy
  • Preston Partnership

Principle D - Determining the interventions necessary to optimise the achievement of the intended outcomes

Supporting Principles

  • Determining Interventions
  • Planning Interventions
  • Optimising achievement of intended outcomes

To achieve this, the City Council will

  • Make a clear statement of the Council's vision and priorities and use this as a basis for corporate and service planning;
  • Regularly report on key performance Indicators (KPIs) which have been established for each service;
  • Ensure budgets are prepared in accordance with organisational objectives and regularly reported upon;
  • Ensure project management principles are embedded, including the use the Boards, regular performance reporting and budget monitoring;
  • Provide senior managers and members with timely financial and performance information;
  • Ensure there is a sound risk management framework to support the achievement of the Council's intended outcomes;
  • Have robust contingency arrangements in place for business continuity and disaster recovery

This is evidenced by

  • Achieving Preston's Priorities
  • Performance Management Framework
  • Risk Management Framework
  • Project Management Framework
  • Budget Working Group
  • Service Improvement Board
  • Innovation and Delivery Group
  • Medium Term Financial Strategy
  • Regular financial and performance reporting to Cabinet
  • Business Continuity Plans
  • Disaster Recovery arrangements and Emergency Plan
  • The Council's enabling strategies
  • O and S Scrutiny challenge of Exec Members
  • Regularly reporting to Exec Members
  • Service Delivery Plans
  • Corporate Management Team
  • Lancashire Resilience Forum
  • City of Preston Town's Deal Board
  • Preston City Deal Collaboration Agreement

Principle E - Developing the Council's capacity, including the capacity of its leadership and the individuals within it

Supporting Principles

  • Developing the Council's capacity
  • Developing the capability of the Council's leadership and other individuals

To achieve this, the City Council will

  • Set out a clear statement of the respective roles and responsibilities of the Council's Cabinet, Full Council and individual members through the Constitution;
  • Set out a protocol to address the working relationship between the Chief Executive and Leader enabling each to fulfil their respective roles;
  • Maintain an effective workforce plan to enhance the strategic allocation of resources;
  • Maintain officer and member induction programmes;
  • Assess the skills required by officers through the appraisal process and address any training gaps to enable roles to be carried out effectively;
  • Develop the capabilities of members through member training;
  • Regularly review the scheme of delegation and Constitution and update when required;
  • Ensure structures are in place to encourage public participation;
  • Ensure arrangements are in place to maintain the health and wellbeing of the workforce;
  • Regularly brief Opposition members;
  • Working through effective partnerships eg Preston City Deal, Community Safety Partnership, BID, Winckley Square.

This is evidenced by

  • Constitution
  • Performance and Development
  • Reviews
  • Effective Induction programme
  • Effective member induction
  • Member/ officer protocol
  • Member training and development
  • Standards Committee
  • Public participation arrangements
  • Occupational Health Provider
  • Schemes of delegation for members and officers
  • Staff Consultation
  • Professional qualified staff
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Staff Forum
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Employee Handbook
  • Preston City Deal Collaboration Agreement

Principle F - Managing risks and performance through robust internal control and strong public financial management

Supporting Principles

  • Managing Risk
  • Managing Performance
  • Robust Internal Control
  • Managing data
  • Strong public financial management

To achieve this, the City Council will

  • Maintain an effective Audit Committee independent of Cabinet and Scrutiny functions
  • Maintain an effective Scrutiny function
  • Ensure robust and integrated risk management arrangements are in place and responsibilities for managing individual risks are clearly allocated
  • Manage performance by ensuring the Performance Management Framework is adhered to
  • Ensure publication of agendas and minutes are published
  • Maintain regular programme of member training
  • Maintain sound financial procedure rules to ensure consistency and clear financial protocols
  • Maintain a transparent complaints and feedback procedure
  • Maintain a risk based programme of internal audits which are informed by the Council's risk registers.
  • Individual audits take account of service/ project risks with each report providing an assurance opinion on how risks are being managed
  • Ensure effective anti-fraud and corruption arrangements are in place
  • Ensure effective information governance arrangements are in place to support compliance with existing and emerging legislation for data protection
  • Ensuring financial management supports decision making and provides sufficient information to support the delivery of the Council's objectives.

This is evidenced by

  • Audit Committee
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee
  • Risk Management Strategy
  • Standards committee
  • Statutory Officers
  • Corporate and Operational Risk Registers
  • Performance Management Framework
  • Modern.Gov
  • Committees Terms of reference
  • Constitution
  • Regular Member training
  • Financial Procedure Rules
  • Contract Procedure Rules
  • Complaints and customer feedback procedure
  • Internal Audit Charter
  • Regular provision of information to Audit Committee
  • Head of Internal Audit annual report
  • Individual audit reports
  • Regular progress reports on results of internal Audit work
  • Anti- Fraud and Corruption Statement and Strategy Annual Governance Statement
  • Council Risk Recording System (GRACE)
  • Information Governance Policies and Procedures
  • Regular financial and performance reporting to the Executive
  • Medium Term Financial Strategy
  • Quarterly Executive Member performance reports
  • Monthly budget monitoring reports
  • Cyber risk training
  • ICT Security Policy
  • Social Media Policy
  • Mipod Training - Officers and Members
  • Topic specific trainings for Members
  • 7 minute briefings
  • GDPR section on website
  • Achieving Preston's Priorities
  • External accreditations
  • CMT COVID updates incl FAQs
  • Microsoft Teams
  • COVID BC Group
  • COVID Management meetings
  • COVID Health and Safety
  • Lancashire Resilience Forums and sub groups
  • COVID BC daily updates / service priorities
  • COVID business grant assurance

Principle G - Implementing good practices in transparency, reporting and audit to deliver effective accountability

Supporting Principles

  • Implementing good practice in transparency
  • Implementing good practices in reporting
  • Assurance and effective accountability

To achieve this, the City Council will

  • Maintain compliance with the local government transparency code and publish all required information in a timely manner
  • Maintain effective and accessible arrangements for dealing with complaints
  • Maintain an effective scrutiny function which encourages constructive challenge
  • Maintain an effective Audit Committee independent of the Cabinet and Scrutiny Committees
  • Publish all Committee reports on Modern.Gov unless there is a statutory reason not to do so.
  • Maintain and regularly communicate whistleblowing policies
  • Ensure performance information is prepared on a consistent and timely basis
  • Ensure Corporate Governance Group meet regularly and monitor compliance with the Governance Framework
  • Maintain an effective Internal Audit function which conforms to the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards (PSIAS) and the CIPFA Statement on the Role of the Head of Internal Audit
  • Welcome Peer Reviews and inspection from regulatory bodies and implement recommendations
  • Produce regular finance and budget monitoring reports for members reporting on performance, value for money and stewardship of resources
  • Produce regular budget manager reports to ensure senior managers own the results

This is evidenced by

  • Transparency information on website
  • Publication of all Freedom of Information queries and responses
  • Information Governance Policies and Procedures
  • Complaints and customer feedback policy
  • Scrutiny Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Modern.Gov
  • Whistleblowing policy
  • Performance Management Framework
  • Annual Governance Statement
  • Internal Audit Charter
  • Regular information to Audit Committee including
    • Head of Internal Annual Audit Report 
    • Individual audit reports
    • Regular reports on results of internal Audit work
  • Opportunity for Audit Committee members to meet both Internal and External Auditors privately
  • Internal audit Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme (QAIP)
  • Peer Review Action plan
  • Medium Term Financial Strategy
  • Regular Financial and Performance reports
  • Monthly budget monitoring reports
  • Independent Remuneration Panel
  • Achieving Preston's Priorities out-turn Report
  • Narrative Report - Annual Statement of Accounts
  • Dedicated web page explaining how the council's decisions are taken during the Covid-19 pandemic including planning applications.
  • Covid Government returns.

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