by Ian Kirby, Programme Director at C.Co

My first few weeks and months with CIPFAC.Co have been fast-paced, interesting, stimulating and hugely enjoyable. 

After spending the last 20 years working in best value, performance and audit for local government, 2017 was the year for me to make a change and cast the net more widely in order to realise my passion for supporting and transforming the sector. Although not an easy decision, it’s one that has been made all the more positive thanks to the ethos.

As a new starter I was welcomed into the organisation with a modern, interactive and enjoyable induction process that enabled me to understand the company, yes, but more importantly its people. This wasn’t your typical on-boarding process, focussed solely on the ‘hows’ but instead on the ‘whys’ – a successful bid to install the beliefs of a strong culture from the outset. 

From experience, the on-boarding process is often something that ignores this element and organisations consistently miss the opportunity to inspire new starters by providing them with clear direction and reason for wanting to contribute to its success. 

My reason for telling you this? Well, for me, this is one of the many building blocks which contribute to good governance.

Last week I took time to reflect on the recent turmoil in local government, especially in light of the Best Value Inspection report for Northamptonshire. A clear issue is the seeming lack of Governance which has contributed to their situation – that said, even the glossiest of staff handbooks mean nothing without the right cultures to underpin it.

In our recent post ‘How good is your boring?’ one key consideration noted on how to assess corporate performance is how to ensure an organisation doesn’t suppress difficult decisions or bury bad news. 

Again, this is something we face on a daily basis. When working with organisations to assess or review performance, challenge can be a tricky nut to crack, with a risk of being perceived as criticising rather than providing healthy challenge. A willingness to be open about a situation and receive honest feedback can be the difference between a good organisation and an excellent one – whatever it’s facing. 

On the whole, transparency is key and this requires organisational maturity; an attribute which is often assumed, but only identified as lacking when things go wrong. Yes, successful on-boarding of new staff can help to shape an organisation, but only when the right cultures and behaviours already exist does it have the impact required. In essence, it’s never too late to redefine your purpose and begin to strengthen a culture to prevent organisational shortcomings – but why not wrap the right support around you at the same time?

To find out how C.Co can help visit  

Or get in touch with me at if you would like any further information on how CIPFA C.Co can support your organisation.

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