TORFAEN COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL: CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

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1 Introduction 1. This Code sets out Torfaen County Borough Council s approach to achieving and maintaining good corporate governance. It follows guidance produced by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE) in Corporate Governance is the framework of accountability to users, stakeholders and the wider community, within which organisations take decisions, and lead and control their functions, to achieve their objectives. 3. In order to maintain citizens confidence, these mechanisms must be sound and be seen to be sound. Governance Principles 4. The Council operates through a governance framework that brings together its legislative responsibilities and management processes with six core governance principles. These are: Focusing on the purpose of the authority and on outcomes for the community and creating and implementing a vision for the local area; Members and officers working together to achieve common purposes with clearly defined functions and roles in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for citizens; Promoting values for the authority and demonstrating the values of good governance through upholding high standards of conduct and behaviour; Taking informed and transparent decisions which are subject to effective scrutiny and managing risk in order to foster innovation; Developing the capacity and capability of members and officers to be effective; and Engaging with local people and other stake holders to ensure robust public accountability. 5. The Council commits itself to each of these principles including where we act collaboratively with partners as set out in our Collaboration Framework. Monitoring, Review and Changes 6. The Council s commitment to good corporate governance includes the application, development and maintenance of this Code. The Leader and Chief Executive are

2 responsible for the regular review of the governance systems and processes that are in place to ensure that they are applied and are effective. The Corporate Governance Review Group enables them to discharge this responsibility. The results of this review are contained in the Annual Governance Statement which is reported to the Audit Committee and then published with the Annual Statement of Accounts. 7. Where the review of the Council s governance arrangements reveals possible gaps or weaknesses, action is agreed to ensure effective governance in future. These actions are added to the Council s Action Plan for Governance & Improvement. This plan is monitored on a regular basis by the Council s Audit Committee to ensure effective and timely implementation. 8. Independent sources of assurance concerning the Code s suitability and effectiveness include Internal Audit, External Audit, the work of the Council s Ethics and Standards Committee, Audit Committee and the Council s Overview and Scrutiny Function. 9. Any changes that are required to this Code resulting from its review, from regulators recommendations or from changes in legislation or recommended best practice will be considered by the Audit Committee and incorporated in the Council s Action Plan for Governance & Improvement. Where appropriate, changes will be submitted with their recommendations to the Cabinet and /or full Council for approval.

3 Principle 1: Focusing on the purpose of the authority and on outcomes for the community and creating and implementing a vision for the local area Supporting principles: Exercising strategic leadership by developing and clearly communicating the authority s purpose and vision and its intended outcome for citizens and service users. Develop and promote the authority s purpose and vision. Review on a regular basis the authority s vision for the local area and its implications for the authority s governance arrangements. Examples for Key Processes/ Council s Corporate Plan Council s Annual Forward Facing Improvement Plan (published in the first quarter of each year) Council s Medium Term Financial Plan Communications Strategy Annual Service Plans and Team Plans(published annually in April each year) Council s Annual Performance Report (published by 31 October each year) Engagement with members of the Council s Citizens Panel MySay consultations Local Service Board (LSB) Engagement Framework adopted by the LSB. Use of Council Facebook & Twitter sites Ensure that partnerships are underpinned by a common vision of their work that is understood and agreed by all partners. Torfaen Together, Torfaen s Single Integrated Plan Outcome Planning Training delivered by Public Service Support Unit LSB Terms of reference Collaboration Framework and collaborative arrangements drawn up under it. Publish an annual report on a timely basis to communicate the authority s activities and achievements, its financial position and performance. Annual Statement of Accounts Annual Performance Report Torfaen Talks Communication through all available Council channels Publication of performance information on internet site Budget and MTFP Reports Webcasting of key meetings (e.g. joint scrutiny of budget, performance etc) Equality Impact Assessment Programme Corporate Equality Schemes

4 Principle 1: Focusing on the purpose of the authority and on outcomes for the community and creating and implementing a vision for the local area Supporting principles: Ensure that users receive a high quality of service whether directly, in partnership, or by commissioning. Deciding how the quality of service for users is to be measured and making sure that the information needed to review service quality effectively and regularly is available. Put in place effective arrangements to identify and deal with failures in service delivery Examples for Key Processes/ Corporate Planning Budget Planning Medium Term Financial Planning Annual Forward Facing Improvement Plan Service Planning Performance Management reporting Ffynnon Performance Management System Overview and Scrutiny Function. Corporate Complaints process Six monthly Executive Member Performance Review Sessions Annual Governance Statement & Review Audit Committee & Internal Audit Corporate Complaints Procedure Performance Management Reporting Ffynnon performance management system Overview & Scrutiny Function Six monthly Executive Member Performance Review Sessions Action Plan for Governance & Improvement Responses to statutory inspection report Support of Statutory Reviews and Investigations Communication Strategy

5 Principle 1: Focusing on the purpose of the authority and on outcomes for the community and creating and implementing a vision for the local area Supporting principles: Ensure that the authority makes best use of resources and that taxpayers and service users receive excellent value for money (taking account of agreed Corporate Plan Priorities and annual Improvement Objectives) Deciding how value for money is to be measured and making sure that the authority or partnership has the information needed to review value for money and performance effectively Measuring the environmental impact of policies, plans and decisions Work constructively with partner organisation to deliver improved services Examples for Key Processes/ Corporate Planning Asset Management Budget & Medium Term Financial Plan Departmental Service and Team Planning Financial Regulations Improvement and Efficiency Agenda Internal Audit Partnership Governance Arrangements Performance Management Framework Procurement Overview & Scrutiny Function. Six monthly Executive Member Performance Review Sessions Worksmart Review Process Impact assessments Performance Management reporting Overview & Scrutiny Function Torfaen Together, Single Integrated Plan Local Service Board Scrutiny Panel LSB Terms of Reference Collaboration Framework and arrangements made under it.

6 TORFAEN COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL: CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Principle 2: Members and officers working together to achieve a common purpose with clearly defined functions and roles in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for citizens Supporting principles: Ensure there is effective leadership throughout the authority and being clear about executive and non- executive functions and of the roles and responsibility of the scrutiny function setting out a clear statement of the respective roles and responsibilities of the executive and of the executive s members individually, and the authority s approach towards putting this into practice Setting out a clear statement of the respective roles and responsibilities of other authority members, members generally and senior officers. Examples of Key Processes/ The Constitution Role descriptions in place for all members Code of conduct for members Local protocol and procedure (Appendix 21) Ensure a constructive working relationship exists between elected members and officers and that the responsibilities of members and officers are carried out to a high standard Determine a scheme of delegation and reserve powers within the constitution, which includes a formal schedule of those matters specifically reserved for collective decisions of the authority taking account of relevant legislation, and by ensuring that it is monitored and updated when required Make a Chief Executive (or equivalent) responsible and accountable to the authority for all aspects of operational management The Constitution Scheme of delegation Standing Orders Financial Regulations Constitution (Part 12) Job Description Develop protocols to ensure that the Leader and Chief Executive (or equivalent) negotiate their respective roles early in the relationship and that a shared understanding of the roles and objectives is maintained. The Constitution Job Description Leader s Role Description Make a senior officer (the section 151 officer) responsible to the authority for ensuring that appropriate advice is given on all financial matters, for keeping proper financial records and accounts, and for maintaining an effective system of internal financial control Make a senior officer responsible to the authority for ensuring that agreed procedures are followed and that all applicable statutes and regulations are complied with. a senior officer being responsible to the authority for ensuring the adequacy of support for non executive members and the scrutiny function The Constitution Appointment of S 151 or Statutory Finance Officer CIPFA Guidance on role of the Statutory Finance Officer Job Description of officer so appointed The Constitution Appointment of Monitoring Officer Job Description of officer so appointed The Constitution Appointment of Head of Democratic Services Job Description of officer so appointed

7 Principle 2: Members and officers working together to achieve a common purpose with clearly defined functions and roles in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for citizens Supporting principles: Ensure relationships between the authority, its partners and the public are clear so that each knows what to expect of the other Develop protocols to ensure effective communication between members and officers in their respective roles Setting out the terms and conditions for remunerating members and officers and an effective structure for managing the process including an effective remuneration panel. Examples of Key Processes/ Local protocol and procedure(appendix 21) Codes of member and officers conduct (Appendices 1 & 15 of Constitution) Members Remuneration Scheme Staff Pay Structure Pay Policy Statement approved by full council annually Ensure that effective mechanisms to monitor service delivery Ensure that the organisations vision, strategic plans, priorities and targets are developed through robust mechanisms and in consultation with the local community and other key stakeholders, and that they are clearly articulated and disseminated. When working in partnership (and collaborative working) ensure that members are clear about their roles and responsibilities both individually and collectively in relation to the partnership and to the authority. Ensure there is clarity about the legal status of the partnership Ensure that representatives or organisations both understand and make clear to all other partners the extent of their authority to bind their organisation to partner decisions Service and Team Plan Quarterly Updates Performance Management reporting Annual Performance Report Overview & Scrutiny Function Six monthly Executive Member Performance Review Sessions Risk Management Budget & Medium Term Financial Plan Communications strategy Torfaen Together, Single Integrated Plan Corporate Planning Council s Annual Forward Facing Improvement Plan Council s Annual Performance Report Service and Team Planning Ffynnon Performance Management framework Engagement with members of the Council s Citizens Panel My Say consultations LSB Engagement Framework Collaboration Framework and arrangements made under it LSB Terms of Reference

8 TORFAEN COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL: CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Principle 3: Promoting values for the authority and demonstrating the values of good governance through upholding high standards of conduct and behaviour Supporting Principle: Ensure members and officers exercise leadership by behaving in ways that exemplify high standards of conduct and effective governance Requiring the authority s leadership to set a tone for the organisation by creating a climate of openness, support and respect Examples of Key Processes/ Constitution Employee & Member Codes of Conduct Council s Published Values - Fair, Supportive and Effective Dignity at Work Policy Annual Employee Survey Web casting of meetings Ensure organisational values, are put into practice and are effective Ensure that standards of conduct and personal behaviour expected of members and staff, of work between members and staff and between the authority, its partners and the community are defined and communicated through codes of conduct and protocols. Put in place arrangements to ensure that members and employees are not influenced by prejudice, bias or conflicts of interest in dealing with different stakeholders, and put in place appropriate processes to ensure that they continue to operate in practice. Developing and maintaining shared values, including leadership values, for both the organisation and staff and which reflect public expectations, and by communicating these with members, staff, the community and partners Anti Fraud & Corruption Strategy Employee & Member Codes of Conduct Financial Regulations Internal Audit LSB Terms of Reference Ethics and Standards Committee Local Protocol & Procedure Registers of Interests Declaration of members interests at meetings Ethics and Standards Committee Whistleblowing Communications Strategy Employee & Member Codes of Conduct Equality Impact Assessment Programme LSB Terms of Reference Council s Vision & Values Strategic Priorities and underlying principles as set out in the Council s Corporate Plan Put in place arrangements to ensure systems and processes are designed in conformity with appropriate ethical standards, and monitor their continuing effectiveness in practice Annual Governance Statement & Review Corporate Complaints Procedure Employee & Member Codes of Conduct Internal Audit Ethics and Standards Committee

9 Principle 3: Promoting values for the authority and demonstrating the values of good governance through upholding high standards of conduct and behaviour Supporting Principle: Develop and maintain an effective Standards committee Examples of Key Processes/ Constitution Committee Minutes, Agendas & Reports Ethics and Standards committee meetings Using the organisation s shared values to act as a guide for decision making and as a basis for developing positive and trusting relationships within the authority In pursuing the vision of collaborative working agree a set of values against which decision making and actions can be judged. Such values must be demonstrated by partners behaviour both individually and collectively Constitution LSB Terms of Reference Collaboration Framework and arrangements made under it.

10 TORFAEN COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL: CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Principle 4: Taking informed and transparent decisions, which are subject to effective scrutiny and managing risk in order to foster innovation Supporting principles Being rigorous and transparent about how decisions are taken and listen and act on the outcome of constructive scrutiny Activity Develop and maintain an effective scrutiny function which encourages constructive challenge and enhances the authority s performance overall and that of any organisations for which it is responsible. Develop and maintain open and effective mechanisms for documenting evidence for decisions and by recording the criteria, rationale and considerations on which decisions are based. Examples of Key Processes / Committee Minutes, Agendas & Reports on Council s internet site Constitution Pt 6 Modern.gov System Overview and Scrutiny Function Scrutiny Handbook Webcasting system Putting in place arrangements to safeguard members and employees against conflicts of interest and put in place appropriate processes to ensure that they continue to operate in practice. Anti Fraud & Corruption Strategy Employee & Member Codes of Conduct Financial Regulations Internal audit LSB Terms of Reference Registers of Interests Registers of Gifts and Hospitality Ethics and Standards Committee Whistleblowing Policy Monitoring Officer Having good quality information, advice and support to ensure that Develop and maintain an effective audit committee which is independent and complies with the Local Government (Wales) Measure Ensuring that effective, transparent and accessible arrangements are in place for dealing with complaints Ensuring that those making decisions, whether for the authority or partnerships, are provided with information that is fit for the purpose relevant, timely and giving clear explanations of technical issues and their implications The Torfaen Constitution Financial Regulations Specific Audit Training External Audit Assurance of key processes Corporate Complaints Procedure Complaints Task & Finish Group working to ensure the Council s learns from complaints received Ethics and Standards Committee Monitoring Officer Committee Minutes, Agendas & Report on internet Member Induction & Member Development Training Programme

11 Principle 4: Taking informed and transparent decisions, which are subject to effective scrutiny and managing risk in order to foster innovation Supporting principles services are delivered effectively and are what the community wants/needs Ensure that effective risk management is in place Use of legal powers to the full benefit of the citizens and communities in their areas Activity Ensuring that proper professional advice is available on matters that have legal or financial implications and recorded well in advance of the decision making and used appropriately. Embedding risk management into the culture of the authority, where members and managers at all levels recognising that risk management is part of their jobs Maintaining effective arrangements for whistle- blowing which are easily accessible to officers, staff and all those contracting with or appointed by the authority. Actively recognising the limits of lawful activity placed on them by, for example the ultra vires doctrine, but also striving to utilise their statutory powers to the full benefit of our communities. Recognising the limits of lawful action and observing both the specific requirements of legislation and the general responsibilities placed on authorities by public law Examples of Key Processes / Personal Development Plans for Members Workshop presentations and materials Members seminars Overview and Scrutiny Function Constitution Report pre consultation with Statutory and other officers Officer Training Annual Governance Statement & review Audit Committee & Internal Audit Departmental service and team planning Health & Safety Policy and Arrangements Management Competency Framework Management Induction & Training Member Induction & Training Performance Management framework Risk Management Framework Risk Management Group Overview and Scrutiny work programming Annual Governance Statement & review Audit Committee & Internal Audit Ethics and Standards Committee Committee Minutes, Agendas & Reports Constitution Management Induction & Training Member Induction & Training Report pre consultation with Statutory and other officers

12 Principle 4: Taking informed and transparent decisions, which are subject to effective scrutiny and managing risk in order to foster innovation Supporting principles Activity Observing all specific legislative requirements placed upon the authority, as well as the requirements of general law, and in particular, by integrating the key principles of good administrative law rationality, legality and natural justice into our procedures and decision making processes Examples of Key Processes / Implementation of automated Committee and Decision Management System Modern.gov

13 TORFAEN COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL: CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Principle 5: Developing the capacity and capability of members and officers to be effective. Supporting principles: Making sure that members and officers have the skills, knowledge, experience and resources they need to perform well in their roles Develop the capability of people with governance responsibilities and evaluate their performance, as individuals and as a group Providing induction programmes tailored to individual needs and opportunities for members and officers to update their knowledge on a regular basis Ensure the statutory officers having the skills, resources and support necessary to perform effectively in their roles and that those roles are properly understood throughout the authority Assessing the skills required by members and officers and committing the authority to develop these skills to enable roles to be carried out effectively Developing skills on a continuing basis to improve performance, including the ability to scrutinise and challenge and to recognise when outside expert advice is needed Ensuring that effective arrangements are in place for reviewing the performance of the executive as a whole and of individual members and by agreeing an action plan which might, for example, aim to address any training or development needs Examples of Key Processes / Employee Induction Member Development Charter Member Induction & Training Staff appraisals (Worksmart Reviews) Professional CPD 1 to 1 briefings and supervision All members seminars Online Training (Cardinus etc) Audit Committee Ethics and Standards Committee Overview & Scrutiny Function Staff appraisals CPD development and membership of professional groups. e g LLG ( Lawyers in Local government) and Welsh Treasurers) Employee Competency Framework Learning & Development WLGA Member Development Charter Staff appraisals Management competencies Member development programme CPD development and membership of professional groups. Eg LLG ( Lawyers in Local government) and Welsh Treasurers) Overview and scrutiny function Torfaen Scrutiny Handbook Implementation of Modern.gov Personal development Review for members

14 Encourage new talent for membership of the authority so that best use can be made of individuals skills and resources in balancing continuity and renewal Having in place effective arrangements in place designed to encourage individuals from all sections of the community to engage with, contribute to and participate in the work of the authority Local democracy week Candidates pack for elections Torfaen Talks Citizens Panel LSB Engagement Framework Co- opted Members of Scrutiny Committees Webcasting Social Media Recruitment of independent members for Audit and Standards committees

15 TORFAEN COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL: CODE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Principle 6: Engaging with local people and other stakeholders to ensure robust public accountability Supporting principles: Exercise leadership through a robust scrutiny function which effectively engages local people and all local institutional stakeholders, including partnerships, and develops constructive accountability relationships Take an active and planned approach to dialogue with and accountability to the public to ensure effective and appropriate service delivery whether directly by the authority, in partnership or by commissioning Make clear throughout all the authority and to all staff and the community to whom the authority is accountable and for what Considering those institutional stakeholders to whom the authority is accountable and assessing the effectiveness of the relationships and any changes required Producing an annual report on the activity of the scrutiny function Ensuring that clear channels of communication are in place with all sections of the community and other stakeholders, and by having in place monitoring arrangements to ensure that they operate effectively Examples of Key Processes / Torfaen Corporate Plan Annual Statement of Accounts Annual Governance Statement and review Business consultation on the budget Overview & Scrutiny function use of social media Executive Member engagement on 14/15 savings proposal Live Facebook consultation on Waste Annual Scrutiny Report External Audit Annual Letter Council s Annual Forward Facing Improvement Plan Council s Annual Performance Report Webcasting Public Questions / Third Party Speaking rights in Planning Communications Strategy Local Service Board Citizens Panel Council s Facebook and Twitter Sites Torfaen Talks Holding meetings in public unless there are good reasons for confidentiality Committee Minutes, Agendas & Reports on internet (Council s website) Committee meetings held in public Constitution Proper Officer consider s Public Interest tests. Ensuring that arrangements are in place to enable the authority to engage with all sections of the community effectively. These arrangements should recognise that different sections of the community have different priorities, and by establishing explicit processes for dealing with these competing demands Publishing an annual forward facing plan and a backward facing performance report giving information on the authority s vision, strategy, plans and financial statements as well as information about outcomes, achievements and the satisfaction of service users in the previous period Communications Strategy Torfaen Together, Single Integrated Plan Consultation with the public on the Council s annual improvement objectives Equalities Programme Council s Website MySay Consulation Portal Annual Statement of Accounts Council s Annual Forward Facing Improvement Plan Council s Annual Performance Report External Audit Annual Letter WAO Annual

16 Principle 6: Engaging with local people and other stakeholders to ensure robust public accountability Supporting principles: Ensuring that the authority as a whole is open and accessible to the community, service users and our staff, and that it has made a commitment to openness and transparency in all its dealings, including partnerships, subject only to the need to preserve confidentiality in those specific circumstances where it is proper and appropriate to do so Examples of Key Processes / Improvement Report (AIR) Information Legislation Policy and Procedures Draft Collaboration Framework Published Agendas and Minutes Webcasting Council Social Media Sites Torfaen Talks Council s Website

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