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Good governance in local govt

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What is good governance?

“The IoD believes that a preoccupation with creating and adding value must underpin all governance practice.”

Four Pillars of Governance Best Practice (2012)
Simon Arcus - Manager, Governance Leadership Centre


You, as an elected member or senior manager, have taken on a major responsibility to serve your community and to run a complex, multi-million dollar operation that is integral to your community’s wellbeing. We believe you should have the support, advice and access to the governance skills, financial knowledge and risk management expertise of leading professionals.

As part of our governance and financial excellence initiative, Simon Arcus from the IoD, has written a guide on ‘what is good governance?’ If you would like a copy please email EquiP. 

You can also access more information about the IoD governance series in partnership with KnowHow by clicking here.

Audit and risk best practice guide

As part of our governance and financial excellence initiative, we will release an audit and risk best practice guide in April, as well as a suite of related services to assess and support your audit and risk functions.

Better Boards

In partnership with the IoD we will also be launching a Better Boards tool and a preferential IoD membership available to LGNZ members. The Better Boards tool is an assessment of your councils governance skills and recommends options for developing governance excellence.

If you would like us to send you a copy of the audit and risk guide when it’s released, or you would like more information on the audit and risk assessment and support services, Better Boards tool or IoD membership, please email EquiP. 

The good governance guide

The good governance guide – what is good governance? – is insightful, easy to read and thought provoking. It covers:

What is governance?
The principles of good governance:

  • responsibility;
  • accountability;
  • fairness; and
  • transparency.

Local Government Act and good governance principles.
The five principles of governance for Councils evident in the Act:

  1. Clarity in governance roles;
  2. Effective, open and transparent processes;
  3. Separation of regulatory and non-regulatory functions;
  4. Good employer; and
  5. Effective and clear relationships between elected members and management.

How is governance different from politics?

Why practice good governance in local government?

What is the difference between governance and management?

The four critical areas where governance can add value.
The IoD believes that directors must be preoccupied with creating and adding value to the board on which they sit. The principle of adding value is the yardstick by which a good governor should operate.

Accountability: doesn’t an elected representative get their mandate is from the voters?

Public interest decision making.
“Effective local government requires communities being afforded opportunities to participate in council processes and the decisions that most affect them. This relies on there being a level of trust and connectedness between the community and its council – both its elected representatives and officers.”

The relationship with the CEO and management.

What’s the risk of ignoring good governance principles?

Once a representative has won their seat at the table, it is time to earn it.
Every councillor must understand their governance role recognise that the aim as a council is to achieve the best outcomes for their community. This means making well-informed decisions, quality investments and wise use of resources.

If you would like a copy of the good governance guide, please email EquiP. 

Service Level Review | Organisational Review | Executive Performance | Executive Recruitment |

Professional Development | Elected Members Induction | Asset Management | Audit & Risk

Date updated: 11 August 2017