Good governance guide for public sector agencies
Effective agencies focus on achieving good governance through:
- strategy – involves planning and structures, such as strategic and operational planning, organisational structure and having defined and appropriate roles and responsibilities
- culture – relates to leadership and integrity, demonstrated in leadership structures and behaviours, executive oversight of strategic decisions, embodiment of leadership principles, conduct and values, employee engagement and commitment to service delivery
- relations – refers to communication and reputation, shown in internal and external communication and relationships, striving for a reputation for excellence, working effectively across organisational boundaries
- performance - relates to effectiveness and efficiency, through performance monitoring and evaluation systems and process, both at an individual and organisational level, as well as performance reporting
- compliance and accountability – this involves meeting statutory and other obligations, through audit, delegation of authority, and having policies, processes and plans to manage finances, risk, human resources, as well as ethical, equal opportunity, occupational health and safety and record keeping obligations.
The Good governance guide is a valuable reference for public sector employees with corporate governance responsibilities to ensure that administration and reporting obligations impacting on their agency are identified and addressed. Currently this guide focuses on accountability requirements. Further resources and information on monitoring and improving organisational performance will be added to the guide over time.
There are nine governance principles contained in the guide. Attention to these will assist your agency to have appropriate systems and structures to meet accountability obligations and achieve a high level of organisational performance:
- Principle 1: Government and public sector relationship − the agency's relationship with the government is clear.
- Principle 2: Management and oversight − the agency's management and oversight are accountable and have clearly defined responsibilities.
- Principle 3: Organisational structure − the agency's structure serves its operations.
- Principle 4: Operations − the agency plans its operations to achieve its goals.
- Principle 5: Ethics and integrity − ethics and integrity are embedded in the agency's values and operations.
- Principle 6: People − the agency's leadership in people management contributes to individual and organisational achievements.
- Principle 7: Finance − the agency safeguards financial integrity and accountability.
- Principle 8: Communication − the agency communicates with all parties in a way that is accessible, open and responsive.
- Principle 9: Risk management − the agency identifies and manages its risks.
Agencies are responsible for determining their own governance systems, structures and approaches to delivering agency outcomes provided this is consistent with any applicable legislative mandate. Governance arrangements need to be tailored according to the type of public sector body, its primary functions and the context in which it operates. This context includes factors such as its size, risk exposure and type of business the agency conducts.
A balance is required to ensure processes are sufficient to ensure accountability but not so onerous as to obstruct organisational efficiency.
Tools contained in the guide:
- Operational matrix − provides further details about applicable standards, how you reach these, how you check if you are meeting your target, and how you report about this.
- Accountability map − provides a comprehensive overview of the requirements applicable to WA public sector bodies and available guidelines.
- Checklist − provides a quick appraisal of whether you are still on track with respect to your accountability obligations and to communicate this to your staff and the broader public.
Page last updated 26 April 2013