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Corporate Governance

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 to ensure that the principles of good governance apply to everything it does. 

Principles of Good Governance

  • Openness and inclusivity
    Openness 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
    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
    Accountability is the process by which the council, the elected members and officers are responsible for their actions and decisions. 
  • Leadership
    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) Engaging with local people and other stakeholders to ensure robust public accountability.

Reporting on Corporate Governance

The council's Governance Manager reviews the council's governance arrangements each year. The Local Code of Corporate Governance is used to assess evidence of practice against the Code's standards. Senior council managers produce signed annual statements to confirm compliance with legal requirements and major council policies and procedures. Along with information and assurance from the Audit Risk & Counter Fraud Manager, these lead to an annual governance statement presented to the Governance & Risk Committee for approval. It is signed by the Chief Executive and the Leader of the Council. It forms part of the council's annual accounts submitted for audit.

There is then an annual report to Council Executive pulling these elements together. The report is to give members assurance that the governance standards expected of the council have been met, and to highlight any areas of concern or for review or improvement. The report is then referred on to the Governance & Risk Committee for closer consideration and scrutiny.

All of these documents are made available to the public. The most recent annual report can be accessed on this page.

Decision making

Find out more about the council's decision making stucture.