1. Corporate governance is the way in which organisations are directed, controlled and led. It defines relationships and the distribution of rights and responsibilities among those who work with and in the organisation, determines the rules and procedures through which the organisation’s objectives are set, and provides the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance. Importantly, it defines where accountability lies throughout the organisation.
2. The Senedd Commission (the Commission) is established as a corporate body to provide property, staff and services required to support the purpose of the Senedd and its Members. This includes responsibility for the governance arrangements to facilitate the effective operation of the Commission to deliver against its strategic goals and objectives.
3. Schedule 2 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 sets out principles in accordance with which the Commission’s functions are to be exercised. They are that:
- The Senedd Commission must make appropriate arrangements with a view to securing that its functions are exercised with due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people.
- In the exercise of the functions of the Senedd Commission due regard must be had to the principle of promoting sustainable development.
- In the exercise of the functions of the Senedd Commission effect must be given, so far as is both appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practicable, to the principle that the English and Welsh languages should be treated on a basis of equality.
4. Sitting alongside the legislative requirements is the Commission’s Governance Framework. This Framework, which comprises the structures, systems, processes, policies, rules and procedures, culture and values by which the Commission is directed and controlled, is central to the effective operation of the organisation.
5. The Senedd Commission is not a profit making corporation, but does need to be business-like and operate according to the following recognised precepts of good governance:
- leadership – articulating a clear vision for the organisation and giving clarity about how activities contribute to achieving this vision, including setting risk appetite and managing risk;
- effectiveness – bringing a wide range of relevant experience to bear, including through offering rigorous challenge and scrutinising performance;
- accountability – promoting transparency including through clear and fair reporting; and
- sustainability – taking a sensible, long-term view about what the organisation is trying to achieve and what it is doing to get there.
6. In line with this and its Governance Framework, the Commission has adopted the principles and supporting provisions set out in this document. As well as covering the leadership, effectiveness and accountability elements set out above, they also outline arrangements for risk management and internal control; remuneration of Members of the Senedd, office holders and senior management; and relations with Members of the Senedd. Together they are intended to help instil an effective operational culture throughout the organisation which, in turn, will aid delivery of the Commission’s goals and objectives and the management of key business risks.
7. These principles and supporting provisions, which will be used to guide the work of the Commission and its staff, are consistent with relevant elements of the following governance codes, with variations which are appropriate for a parliamentary organisation:
- the UK Corporate Governance Code, published by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC); and
- Corporate Governance in central government departments: code of good practice, published jointly by HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office.
8. They also take account of the International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector.
9. In terms of behaviours to support these principles and supporting provisions, the Codes of Conduct both for Members of the Senedd and for Commission staff outline the importance of adhering to the seven principles of public life (the Nolan Principles). These promote a culture of integrity and openness. The Code of Conduct for Members of the Senedd which has been updated for the Sixth Senedd also includes an eighth principle of respect in line with Commission policies on dignity and respect. 10. These principles and supporting provisions should be reviewed periodically to take account of any changes to governance arrangements and/or updated codes and guidance.
10. These principles and supporting provisions should be reviewed periodically to take account of any changes to governance arrangements and/or updated codes and guidance.