The questions posed in this guide provide a high-level, quick reference checklist that FRA members can use to consider all aspects of their governance role. It is based around a set of internationally recognised good governance principles developed by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and suggests how each might be addressed by FRA members.
The primary aim of all fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) is to provide a good service to communities that is built on a thorough understanding of local risks and tailored to community needs. Good governance is central to this.
Good governance can ensure that outcomes for communities are clearly defined and then delivered by skilled employees, working in an inclusive and collaborative working environment. Outcomes are achieved in line with statutory requirements both for fire and rescue services themselves and in collaboration with other emergency services and partners.
The questions posed in this guide provide a high-level, quick reference checklist that FRA members can use to consider all aspects of their governance role. It is based around a set of internationally recognised good governance principles developed by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and suggests how each might be addressed by FRA members. It should be read in conjunction with the LGA’s Leading the Fire Sector Guide. Adherence to the principles will help FRA members to lead high-performing fire and rescue services, regardless of the governance model in which they operate.
The seven principles of good governance
The International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector was jointly developed by IFAC and CIPFA. It identifies seven principles of good governance that all public sector organisations should apply to achieve their intended outcomes while always acting in the public interest.
The first two principles are focused on acting in the public interest:
- Principle A: behaving with integrity, demonstrating strong commitment to ethical values, and respecting the rule of law
- Principle B: ensuring openness and comprehensive stakeholder engagement.
In addition to these, the Framework outlines that good governance also requires effective arrangements for:
- Principle C: defining outcomes in terms of sustainable benefits
- Principle D: determining the interventions necessary to optimise achievement of intended outcomes
- Principle E: developing the organisation’s capacity – including the capability of its leadership and the individuals within it to achieve intended outcomes
- Principle F: managing risks and performance through robust internal control and strong financial management
- Principle G: implementing good practices in transparency, reporting and audit, to demonstrate clear accountability.
Principles A and B are behaviourally orientated and should permeate the way in which all the other principles are applied.
Principles C to G should be undertaken as a continuous series of activities to ensure good governance and continuous improvement.
Further guidance and training resources
- Leading the Fire Sector: oversight of fire and rescue service performance – The Local Government Association
- Fire Authority Members' Guide – The Local Government Association
- The Role of Fire and Rescue Authority Members – A webinar from the Local Government Association
- Political Oversight of Fire and Rescue Service Performance – A webinar from the Local Government Association
- Effective FRA Governance in Times of Crisis – A webinar from the Local Government Association
- Overview and scrutiny: statutory guidance for councils and combined authorities – Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, HM Government
- The Good Scrutiny Guide – The Centre for Public Scrutiny
- A Councillor's Workbook on Scrutiny – The Local Government Association
- Diverse by Design Guide – The Local Government Association