3.2.9 Relative responsibilities of the chief executive and elected members

  1. The chief executive, who is appointed and employed by the Governing Body [1], is responsible for employing council staff [2], implementing Governing Body and local board decisions, and providing advice to the Governing Body and local boards [3].
  2. Elected members and the chief executive need to have a clear and shared understanding of their different roles and responsibilities. In broad terms, the elected members have a governance role and the chief executive is responsible for managing the organisation and implementing governance decisions. However, in practice it is not always easy to identify where the line
  3. The Auditor-General has commented on the difference between local authority governance and operational roles:"[Having a] representational role and connection with the community is part of the role of an elected member, but so is the responsibility for steering and governing a substantial organisation with complex responsibilities."  "The governance role is about maintaining the broad view. It is about setting direction and policy, making significant decisions, testing advice to ensure that it is sound, monitoring the activities of management to ensure that what is being implemented will achieve the objectives, keeping an eye on risks of all kinds, and safeguarding the overall quality of the relationship between a council and its community. When members of a governing body become too involved in operational matters, the risk is that nobody maintains the broad view for the organisation and checks that the overall direction is still appropriate..." [4].
  4. Elected members should not play too limited a role or leave too much to managers, nor should they get too involved in day-to-day managing. Both situations create risks.



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