Good governance is essential for any organisation, particularly where public spending is involved.
The Audit Commission has defined governance as:
“The systems and processes by which health bodies lead, direct and control their functions, in order to achieve organisational objectives and by which they relate to their partners and wider community.”
This definition stands equally well for non-health organisations, however.
At Verita, we have extensive experience of carrying out governance reviews and developing solutions to governance problems. We are frequently called into organisations where something has gone wrong and improvements to organisational structures and processes are needed. These concerns are raised from a variety of sources, including staff and service users, from students at universities to employees working at charitable organisations.
What are Governance Issues?
In the NHS governance issues are often identified following a serious clinical incident or concerns about an individual clinician. When a specific incident is at the centre of the investigation, we are asked to look into whether the organisation could or should have known something was amiss earlier.
Increasingly issues are raised by whistleblowers who feel that they cannot make their voice heard internally. This can be a difficult experience for organisations who are automatically put on the back foot and it’s our job to diagnose and suggest improvements to prevent this from happening.
Our Experience with Governance Issues
Our work for organisations such as the Arts Council and the British Council centre on complaints that are made to them. We are able to look at the issues that lie behind these complaints and see whether there they raise more fundamental questions about how the organisation is run. That allows us to consider what changes are needed within the organisation.
Through a combination of careful sifting of evidence and thoughtful evaluation, Verita are able to resolve difficult issues and develop clear solutions. We pride ourselves in the ability to advise organisations in practical ways that lead to real improvement.
We conduct our reviews by looking at relevant policies and any guidance issued. These are assessed wherever possible against benchmarks of good practice. We interview staff to see if policies are adhered to, monitored and reported on. Our specialist knowledge and experience of working with regulated organisations allow us to identify the key issues and recommend improvements.
We recently carried out a major review of an outsourced public service looking at the way the service was managed and how this was reported up through the organisation. We were also asked by two government departments (DH and DfE) to oversee how public bodies went about investigating the issues that arose from the activities of Jimmy Savile. Our role was to quality control the investigative work undertaken by a number of organisations and see if improvements could be made to the approach that they took.
To find out more about our experience working with issues of governance, and about the case outlined above, click here.
To see how Verita might be able to assist your organisation, please contact Peter Killwick on 020 7494 5670 or [email protected].