Governance provides the control framework for public sector organisations: setting boundaries, probing and testing decisions and processes. As governments and public sector bodies worldwide tackle – and seek to recover from – the financial impact of COVID-19, internal and external governance controls themselves will be subject to fresh challenges.
Demonstrating that decisions are taken in their interest is vital to securing and building public trust. Internal controls, assurance arrangements and proper scrutiny are essential to ensuring that the decisions taken are the right ones – or to help guide corrective actions if they are not.
What are the challenges?
In this environment, public sector organisations are likely to face renewed and increasing demands for accountability from citizens and wider stakeholders. As they work to deliver ever-greater services within tighter financial constraints, the challenges to building governance and trust are complex and often interwoven.
An increased demand for transparency and accountability
Public sector bodies will continue to face tougher calls for openness in their practices from stakeholders and at audit.
Increased responsibilities and workload
With additional demand and pressures on employees, organisations face increased human errors and potential skill gaps in maintaining adherence to best practice and procedures.
The shifting landscape of fraud, corruption and bribery
The acceleration of the move to digital since the start of the pandemic means that organisations face fresh challenges in identifying and controlling fraud, bribery and corruption across their operations.
Public service delivery
Collaborative arrangements, trading and partnerships within public sector organisations are complex, affecting the clarity of accountability and thus presenting challenges for governance and assurance.
Tighter budgets and resources
The need to do more with less places extra strain on an organisation to balance its allocation of funds and assets, including its workforce, while maintaining expected services levels.
How can CIPFA help?
CIPFA is the global leader in financial management and governance, playing a vital role in the development of policy and technical guidance in public financial management, governance, financial reporting and audit for public sector finance professionals.
Against this backdrop, CIPFA helps our members and other public finance professionals to respond to change by having the skills, systems and processes in place to develop robust internal audit and governance frameworks.
For further information on how we can help visit our sections on: