Achieving good governance and accountability

Good governance will look different in different places but will always be designed to be genuinely inclusive and accountable, giving all local people an equal opportunity for involvement.

PostboxThere is no blueprint for achieving good governance and no single set of solutions. There are many methods that can be employed to engage people and find out their aspirations and views for a place, but it is the spirit in which these are employed that is most important. Organisations that are able to engage successfully with local people will be able to ensure that their services and facilities continue to meet the needs of local people into the future, something the Parks Trust in Milton Keynes has done in recent years.

Characteristics of good governance include:

  • genuine respect for people
  • a commitment to providing a voice for all residents - whether they are active participants or 'stand-by citizens'
  • transparency and effectiveness in decision making
  • encouraging people to become involved and take on leadership roles
  • a commitment to a collaborative process
  • taking responsibility to monitor and evaluate outcomes
  • an openness to learning from poor decisions or approaches
  • a means of feedback for local people on decisions that couldn't change.

There are ways of making sure that decisions and activities are accountable to local people. These include:

  • providing well publicised routes for residents to make their voices heard
  • making information widely available
  • publishing the outcomes from consultation processes
  • making it known what decisions were taken and why
  • providing opportunities for 'scrutiny' of proposals (which can be informal) within the decision making process
  • setting up mechanisms for residents to provide feedback
  • making board places available for residents to contribute directly to decision making
  • providing opportunities for local people to have a say in how money is spent locally.

The organisation involve specialises in research and facilitation of public involvement in decision-making.