- Auditing of Organizational Ethics and Compliance Programs” Please respond to the following:
- Examine the significant values of conducting an ethics audit in an organization. Select five (5) areas that you would focus on if you have to conduct an ethics audit, and provide a rationale for your selections.
- Read the article titled, “10 Steps to Good Governance,” located here. Next, develop a checklist for an ethics audit that incorporates the ten (10) steps identified in the article. Provide a rationale for your response.
W10 hat does a golfer, tennis player or
cricketer (or any other professional
sportsperson) focus on to achieve
high performance? They nearly
always give the same answer: “Repeat my
process (that is the process they have practised
a million times) – replicate it under real
pressure and trust in my ability”
That’s why Matthew Lloyd throws the grass
up under the roof at Etihad Stadium. It is
why Ricky Ponting taps the bat, looks down,
looks up and mouths “watch the ball”. It’s
unnecessary for Matthew Lloyd to toss the
grass. There’s no wind under the roof – it’s
simply a routine that enables him to replicate
his process under pressure.
Ricky Pointing knows you have to watch the
ball. Ponting wants the auto pilot light in his
brain to fl ick on as he mutters “watch the ball”.
High performance in sport is achieved through focusing on your
processes, not the scores.
It is absolutely no different in local government. Our business
is governance and we need to be focusing very hard on our
governance processes. We need to learn these processes, modify
them when necessary, understand them deeply, repeat them
under pressure and trust in our capabilities to deliver. If we do
that, the scores will look after themselves.
I want to share with you my ten most important elements in
the governance process. Let me fi rst say that good governance is
the set of processes, protocols, rules, relationships and behaviours
which lead to consistently good decisions. In the end good
governance is good decisions. You could make lots of good
decisions without good governance. But you will eventually
run out of luck – eventually, bad governance process will lead
to bad decisions. Consistently good decisions come from good
governance processes and practices.
Good governance is not only a prerequisite for consistently
good decisions, it is almost the sole determinant of your
reputation. The way you govern, the ‘vibe’ in the community
and in the local paper about the way you govern is almost the
sole determinant of your reputation. Believe me, if reputation
matters to you, then drive improvements through good
So here are the ten core elements:
1. THE COUNCIL PLAN
An articulate council plan is a fundamental fi rst step to achieving
your goals. It is your set of promises to your community for a
Unfortunately, there are too many wrong plans:
• Claytons Plans – say too little and are too bland. Delete the
name of the council from these plans and you can’t tell whose
it is! There’s no ‘vibe’ at all.
• Agreeable Plans – where everyone gets their bit in the plan.
There’s no sense of priorities, everyone agrees with everything
in the plan and we save all the real fi ghts and confl icts to be
fought out one by one over the four-year term.
• Opposition-creating Plans – we don’t do this so often but we
sometimes ‘use the numbers’ to enable the dominant group of
councillors to achieve their goals and fail to accommodate the
non-dominant group’s agenda at all. Accordingly, we create
an opposition and assign these councillors to the opposition
benches for the council term.
An articulate council plan is the least you owe your citizens.
2. POLICY DEVELOPMENT
As a sector we undertake too little policy development which
supports the achievement of our strategic goals. Yet goals or
objectives are what we want to achieve. For example, economic
prosperity, environmental sustainability, community safety and
cohesion are all goals.
Strategies are simply ideas on how to achieve goals. For example,
if economic prosperity is our goal then attracting new investment
is one of the ‘get there’ strategies.
Policies are council ‘rules’ or ‘boundaries’ that establish a specifi c
treatment of a general circumstance. For example, if our goal is
economic prosperity and our strategy is investment attraction
then our policy might be “no rates for fi ve years for new businesses
employing more than 50 people”.
There is much too little policy development in the pursuit of
3. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
We all make mistakes in this area, but here are my fi ve top tips:
(a) It works best when underpinned by a previously articulated
and understood strategic vision –
• People need understand where we are headed before they are
comfortable discussing how we get there.
• The strategic vision, the big picture, creates legitimacy for the
many decisions, some controversial, along the journey.
(b) There is no place for spin. This is all about transparency – it’s
not so much what we decided at last week’s council meeting
but why we reached that decision. There are four reasons to
• Are we keeping promises (accountability)?
• Are we grasping new opportunities (leadership)?
18 | GN | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2010
You know that good
important, but how
does your council
Philip Shanahan has
some simple solutions.
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2010 | GN | 19
• Can people infl uence decisions (participation)?
• Can people access services and opportunities (access and
(c) Repetition and simplicity – we compete for people’s attention
in this marketplace. When you are sick of telling them, they’ve
just started listening.
(d) Be clear about the engagement you seek. Use an accredited
model like the International Association for Public
Participation’s system to match the kind of community input
you are really seeking with the engagement strategy you are
(e) Be multi faceted. All the tools at our disposal are appropriate
in different situations. Try using Twitter, blogging or just
delivering an A4-sheet to every home in a street about to
be reconstructed to tell them how much it costs, who is the
contractor, why the street needs a total makeover and who to
ring with problems.
4. CEO MANAGEMENT
Some still don’t understand the fundamental importance of
properly managing the CEO. There is absolutely no place for
‘folksy’ arrangements. And those who treat CEO performance
management light-heartedly or without rigour don’t understand
the power of the process to achieve real results.
5. COUNCIL MEETINGS
The single most important governance activity which forges a
governance reputation is the council meetings.
They create the governance vibe in your municipality.
(a) Fill each agenda with strategic, broad issues straight from the
council plan. If people aren’t talking about the issues in the
pub, why are these issues on your agenda? I get annoyed when
people congratulate themselves on a quick council meeting
– aren’t there any problems in those municipalities? Quality
agendas need quality planning and preparation.
(b) Every council meeting should demonstrate who is in charge
– by the way, councillors are – so:
• Staff don’t talk much.
• No ‘received’ or ‘to be noted’ recommendations – every
report must invite councillor intervention.
• Interventions from councillors need to be organised – who is
the council ‘whip’?
• Every report includes sound expert advice, information and
• Always be briefed, agree on no surprises or ambushes.
6. REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNANCE
Most thinking about governance is about corporate governance
– councillors acting as a council. However, the electoral system
seems to mimic state and federal governments – councillors feel
like a representative. Citizens treat councillors as a representative.
They reckon they are a constituent. Local governments must
develop sophisticated systems and protocols that enable
councillors to handle constituent representations. However, those
systems and protocols need to protect and enhance corporate
governance – not undermine it.
7. STEWARDSHIP AND BUSINESS MANAGEMENT
Councillors have an obligation to act in the long-term best
interests of the municipality. That’s stewardship. So:
• Monitor progress
• Manage assets
• Leave the municipality in better state than you found it
• Understand the long term implications of decisions
• Manage risks
• Strive to improve service effectiveness and effi ciency.
Relationships are usually affected by behaviours. Where behaviour
causes collateral damage to relationships we often get people in
the decision making process ‘playing the man not the ball’. That
is, being in confl ict with a person instead of their opinion.
Poor relationships, regrettably, usually result in lousy decisions.
Councillors and their colleagues are all on the government
benches – relationships usually matter.
It’s very important to your community. We already know that
a signifi cant improvement in your community’s rating of your
advocacy effort will almost always be accompanied by improved
ratings for all of your services and your overall performance.
Advocacy works best when it comes from previous articulated
strategic positions. In other words, if something is really
important to your community, it ought to be in your council
plan. ‘Left fi eld’ advocacy is seldom appreciated and sometimes a
This is obvious. If they think you are dodgy, your good governance
reputation is in tatters. If in some circumstance you feel confl icted,
remember two things. Firstly, how would you feel if the whole story
was on the front page of the local paper – except your side of the
story. Secondly, use your instincts and intuition to help you decide
what is best. Then check the rules very
carefully. If you only look at the rules, you’re
bound to get confused and miss the point.
So those are my ten key concepts. Good
governance isn’t so hard – it just deserves
our careful attention.
“WE NEED TO LEARN THESE PROCESSES,
MODIFY THEM WHEN NECESSARY,
UNDERSTAND THEM DEEPLY, REPEAT
THEM UNDER PRESSURE AND TRUST IN
OUR CAPABILITIES TO DELIVER.”
IS A FORMER CEO OF
DAREBIN CITY COUNCIL.
HE HAS WORKED IN
LOCAL AND STATE