Effective decision-making, risk and performance management remain the cornerstones of good governance and good organisations. However, in light of the public sector’s effective crisis management we consider the impact of the Covid-19 response on the governance frameworks within the emerging new norm. C.Co’s Ian Kirby explores this in his latest blog. 

In 2018, following the publication of the Northamptonshire Best Value report, C.Co’s Ian Kirby asked how good is your boring? The report suggested that there was no substitute for doing boring well. it recognised that having good governance, sound financial, performance and risk management; and a culture of continuous improvement and positive challenge was the key to being an effective organisation.

Throughout the period of the pandemic, C.Co has observed and heard about the incredible response of all of the public sector to meeting the needs of the NHS specifically, residents and the wider workforce. Much of this has been facilitated by a relaxing of bureaucracy, increased delegations and a flattening of hierarchies to achieve delivery at pace. Responding effectively to the pandemic has resulted in a relaxing of historic controls and the acceptance of increased risk. When our new norm emerges we should be asking what have we learnt and how appropriate our controls should be moving forward.

We also need to review how staff worked, who has stepped up and flourished as part of crisis management and how do we harness the best of the response as we emerge? There is no question that the key tenets of good governance will remain the same:

  • Effective communication and understanding of processes and procedures
  • Clear risk and evidence-based decision making
  • Transparency of decision making and actions
  • Effective and informed use of data
  • An effective Internal Audit function
  • Transformation plans to effect change
  • A strong, positive culture

The key moving forward is to consider whether the relaxation of controls during the response period has contributed to a more effective operational performance and if, as part of any return planning, that these freedoms could be incorporated, in whole or in part, within the new norm. Risk management, audit and control remain critical to effective governance, but organisations’ risk appetite and degree of control requires review and setting or resetting at a level that contributes to the increased effectiveness of delivery.

We would like to hear your thoughts on the new challenges across the sector and whether you recognise all or any of these themes. If you would like to talk to us about how we might be able to help, please contact us at speaktous@wearec.co

To find out more about how we can help review your governance with one of our governance healthchecks