WHY IS GOOD GOVERNANCE IMPORTANT?
Good governance is important for several reasons. It not only gives the local community confidence in its council, but improves the faith that elected members and officers have in their own local government and its decision-making processes.
It also leads to better decisions, helps local government meet its legislative responsibilities and importantly provides an ethical basis for governance.
BENEFITS OF GOOD GOVERNANCE
Promotes community confidence
People are more likely to have confidence in their local government if decisions are made in a transparent and accountable way.
This helps people feel that local government will act in the community’s overall interest, regardless of differing opinions.
It also encourages local governments to remember that they are acting on behalf of their community and helps them to understand the importance of having open and ethical processes which adhere to the law and stand up to scrutiny.
Encourages elected members and council officers to be confident
Elected members and council officers will feel better about their involvement in local government when good governance is practised.
Councillors will be more confident that they are across the issues, that they can trust the advice they are given, that their views will be respected even if everyone doesn’t agree with them, and that the council chamber is a safe place for debate and decision making.
Officers will feel more confident in providing frank and fearless advice which is acknowledged and respected by councillors.
Leads to better decisions
Decisions that are informed by good information and data, by stakeholder views, and by open and honest debate will generally reflect the broad interests of the community.
This does not assume that everyone will think each decision is the right one. But members of the community are more likely to accept the outcomes if the process has been good, even if they don’t agree with the decision. They will also be less tempted to continue fighting or attempting to overturn the decision. So even the most difficult and controversial decisions are more likely to stick.
Helps local government meet its legislative responsibilities
If decision-making is open and able to followed by observers, it is more likely that local governments will comply with the relevant legal requirements. They will also be less likely to take shortcuts or bend the rules.
Supports ethical decision making
Good governance creates an environment where elected members and council officers ask themselves ‘what is the right thing to do?’ when making decisions.
Making choices and having to account for them in an open and transparent way encourages honest consideration of the choices facing those in the governance process. This is the case even when differing moral frameworks between individuals means that the answer to ‘what is the right thing to do’ is not always the same.