The overall governance culture of the organisation prior to late 2018 was described as being generally poor and one where individuals relied on others to do the right thing, rather than accept the responsibility themselves.
Across key facets of the organisation the focus was predominantly on ‘getting the job done’, which was often done at any cost with little regard to following policies, processes and legislation. There was little focus on good governance.
Leadership from the top is an essential element in creating a positive organisational culture. The council leadership team must communicate expectations to staff and demonstrate appropriate values. For example, in works depots, given their sometimes isolated nature, management needs to be visible and to effectively communicate desirable organisational behaviours.
The Inspectorate acknowledges the steps taken by council since mid-2018 but notes this report contains many recommendations for issues that need to be addressed as a matter of priority. Importantly, it is incumbent on the elected council to maintain oversight on governance arrangements for the organisation they represent. This is achieved through: a strategy and policy framework that councillors drive; proper management of the CEO; and effective management reports that provide overarching insight into the operations of the organisation.
The council and individuals that may be identified due to their current or former position were provided a copy of this report in advance and invited to provide comment. One formal response was received from the council which was reproduced in the report and can be viewed below.