Simon Goacher 19 January 2017

Aiding an unprotected species

Aiding an unprotected species image

Governance is a word which means different things to different people. For some, the very mention of the word is time to switch off and do something less boring.

A local authority’s governance arrangements are often only scrutinised when the council is under pressure. This is no different from the private sector.

From the south sea bubble to the banking crisis, from rotten boroughs to interventions in failing authorities, there are countless examples of failures in governance leading to much wringing of hands and promises that lessons will be learned and failings will never happen again. And so it goes, until the next time...

A crucial factor in the success (or otherwise) of the governance arrangements of local authorities is the trinity of statutory officers: the head of paid service, the chief finance (or Section 151) officer and the monitoring officer. If these work well together, then things are likely to stay on track. If there is a weakness in the chain, things invariably go wrong.

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Councils and their partners could do even more to contain the spread of COVID-19 if properly funded to undertake a robust localised system of testing, tracking and tracing, argues Professor Donna Hall.
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