Governance is the system by which local authorities direct and control their functions and relate to their communities. West Lothian Council has produced its own code of corporate governance (new window) to ensure that the principles of good governance apply to everything it does.
Principles of Good Governance
- Openess and inclusivity
Openess is essential to ensure that everyone has confidence in the decision making and management processes of the council. It involves an inclusive approach with everyone having the opportunity to engage effectively with the decision making process of the council.
Integrity is based on honesty, selflessness and objectivity and involves high standard of propriety and probity in the stewardship of public funds and the management of the council's affairs.
Accountability is the process by which the council, the elected members and officers are responsible for their actions and decisions.
Leadership overarches the principles of good governance and is vital if the principles are to be upheld. The council undertakes to exercise leadership through decision making and other actions that provide a vision and leadership for the local community and by elected members and officials conducting themselves in accordance with a high standard of conduct.
To achieve good governance, compliance with the following core principles of good governance is required:
1) Focusing on the purpose of the local authority and on outcomes for the community and creating and implementing a vision for the local area;
2) Members and officers working together to achieve a common purpose with clearly defined functions and roles;
3) Promoting values for the authority and demonstrating the values of good governance through upholding high standards of conduct and behaviour;
4) Taking informed and transparent decisions which are subject to effective scrutiny and managing risk;
5) Developing the capacity and capability of members and officers to be effective;
6) Enagaging with local people and other stakeholders to ensure robust public accountability.
Annual Review and Reporting
The council's Chief Legal Officer undertakes an annual review of the council's code of corporate governance to make sure that the principles of good governance are in place. Following the review, an annual report on the local code of corporate governance (new window) is produced showing how well the council is doing.