GOOD GOVERNANCE IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR
Governance in the public sector
1.1. There is no universally agreed-
upon definition for the term ³public sector governance.´ What is
understood by the term appears to vary considerably between jurisdictions. Existing definitions of
governance, including those that are public sector focused, considered during the development of
the International Framework are included in Appendix B. For the purpose of this International
Framework, the following definition of governance has been adopted:
Governance comprises the arrangements
put in place to ensure that the intended outcomes
for stakeholders are defined and achieved.
1.2. The definitions of the other terms used throughout this document are set out in Appendix C.
system based approach
1.3. Governments and other public sector entities raise resources from taxpayers, donors, lenders, and
other suppliers for the provision of services to citizens and other recipients, as well as less visible
activities, such as regulation and policy development. These entities are primarily accountable for
their management and use of resources to those that provide the resources and those that depend
on the resulting services. The resources raised are generally distributed through a network of public
sector entities with specific functions that have a range of accountability mechanisms. However, the
fundamentals of good governance should remain the same at all levels and stages.
1.4. Most governance codes focus on delivering good governance practices at an organizational level.
This International Framework aims to be relevant not only at the individual entity level but also at
the whole-system level, which may be sub-national, national, or international. It draws on some of
the architecture maps in CIPFA¶s
Whole System Approach to Public Financial Management, which
outlines how the key constituent parts, such as external assurance and scrutiny, financial reporting,
and audit standards, contribute to the integrity of the whole system.
The International Framework also adopts a ³substance over form´ approach, in that the
fundamentals of good governance should apply equally to a whole system within government, just
as much as to individual entities. As this may involve a number of individual organizations, the term
³entity´ has been used instead of ³organization´ throughout this document.
1.6. In some jurisdictions, governments or other public sector entities may fund and engage with entities
in the private and not-for-profit sectors to carry out certain activities or provide certain services.
While this International Framework does not specifically apply to governance arrangements in
these circumstances, the principles may also be relevant in such cases.
1.7. As noted in the Foreword, the aim of this International Framework is to promote the development of
robust governance in public sector entities by establishing a benchmark for good governance.
1.8. Public sector entities worldwide do not operate within a common legislative framework, nor do they
have standard organizational shapes or sizes. Therefore, in developing this International
Includes political, economic, social environmental, administrative, legal, and other arrangements.
In some instances, these are also called public-private partnerships.