Good Governance and Transparency

Good governance is important in the NHS to ensure that public money is spent effectively and appropriately, and that organisations are accountable for its expenditure.  As explained by Sir Alan Langlands (Good Governance Standard for Public Services, 2004): "Good governance leads to good management, good performance, good stewardship of public money, good public engagement and, ultimately, good outcomes"

There are different areas of governance including corporate (operational), financial and information, however sometimes these are combined into an integrated governance model. The most broad, corporate governance, was defined in the Cadbury Report (1992) "as the system by which an organisation is directed and controlled, at its most senior levels, in order to achieve its objectives and meet the necessary standards of accountability and probity."

The NHS has a significant number of mandatory arrangements in place for corporate governance, including:

  • Standing Orders, Standing Financial Instructions, Reservation of Powers to the Statutory Body and Scheme of Delegation
  • Requirement for a statutory Body
  • Committee structure
  • Line management
  • Codes of conduct and accountability
  • Business planning
  • Procedural guidance for staff
  • Risk register and assurance framework
  • Internal audit
  • External assessors

The IWCCG conducts itself in line with its Constitution, a document detailing the responsibilities of the organisation and individuals, and how they will be expected to discharge them. The Constitution defines the roles and remits of bodies within the organisational structure, setting out how the different parts work together. Alongside this internal governance approach and structure, the IWCCG also works to:

  • The Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles)
  • HSG(93)5 “Standards of Business Conduct for NHS Staff” and “Commercial Sponsorship – Ethical Standards for the NHS” (2000)
  • The NHS Code of Conduct and Code of Accountability (2004) which requires the maintenance of strict ethical standards in the NHS

Maintaining robust and effective governance within the organisation is important for a number of reasons, including to prevent fraud and corruption, ensure there is a clear structure of authority for decision-making and that people can be held to account for their decisions.

At an operational level the governance functions of the organisation are explained in the Standards of Business Conduct. This covers how staff should work to manage:

  • Fraud and counter fraud
  • Conflict of interests
  • Standing orders
  • Scheme of delegation and reservation 
  • Financial Scheme of Delegation 
  • Prime financial policies
  • Procurement
  • Gifts and hospitality
  • Outside employment
  • Commercial sponsorship