Harrow Council is responsible for ensuring that its business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards, and that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for, and used economically, efficiently and effectively.
In discharging this overall responsibility, the Council is required to put in place proper arrangements for the governance of its affairs, facilitating the effective exercise of its functions, which includes arrangements for the management of risk.
Regulation 6(1)(a) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 requires ‘an authority to conduct a review at least once in a year of the effectiveness of its system of internal control and include a statement reporting on the review with any published Statement of Accounts (England)’.
The annual review of governance is an evidenced based self-assessment recorded in an evidence table supplemented by Management Assurance provided by Corporate/Divisional Directors and Shared-Service governance self-assessments.
Regulation 6(1)(b) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015, requires that "for a local authority in England, the statement is an Annual Governance Statement".
The preparation and publication of an Annual Governance Statement in accordance with Delivering Good Governance in Local Government: Framework (2016) would fulfil the statutory requirements across the United Kingdom for a local authority to conduct a review at least once in each financial year of the effectiveness of its system of internal control and to include a statement reporting on the review with its Statement of Accounts.
In England the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 stipulate that the Annual Governance Statement must be "prepared in accordance with proper practices in relation to accounts" and must be "approved in advance of the relevant authority approving the statement of accounts.
Therefore a local authority in England shall provide this statement in accordance with Delivering Good Governance in Local Government: Framework (2016) and this section of the Code".
The overall aim of the Framework ‘is to ensure that resources are directed in accordance with agreed policy and according to priorities, that there is sound and inclusive decision making and that there is clear accountability for the use of those resources in order to achieve desired outcomes for service users and communities’.
The Annual Governance Statement explains how the Council has complied with the framework and meets the requirements of regulation 6 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 in relation to the publication of a statement of internal control (Annual Governance Statement).
The Governance Structure comprises the arrangements (including political, economic, social, environmental, administrative, legal and other arrangements) put in place to ensure that the intended outcomes for stakeholders are defined and achieved and to meet the core governance principles stated in the Framework. The Governance Structure includes key governance documents to improve accessibility for staff and the public.