Service failures down to poor leadership systems

Weak corporate governance is a major factor in service failures
in the public sector such as the Victoria Climbie case, a report by
the Audit Commission concludes, writes Derren

The report found that failures across a range of public services
could lead to “tragic consequences”, undermining public
trust in public organisations. Well governed public bodies can
deliver and sustain a high quality and meet users’ needs, it

Poor corporate governance – a collective term for
leadership, decision making and systems – was common across the
sectors, the report said, although there are specific weaknesses in
certain areas. Risk management and internal controls are weakest in
local government, while financial risk is highest in the NHS.

The report recommends chief executives and councillors should
regularly review their organisations’ corporate governance
arrangements, and calls for them to be more “open and
honest” about performance in their external communications
“rather than spinning”. It also recommends the
government consider introducing a comprehensive performance
assessment-style system across the whole public sector which would
assess corporate governance.

The Audit Commission spoke to a range of organisations across
health, the police and local government, including the Social
Services Inspectorate.

Corporate Governance: improvement and trust in local public

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