Research & Publications

Board Governance Essentials: A Guide for Chairs and Boards of Public Bodies

December 14 2011

Board Governance Essentials: A Guide for Chairs and Boards of Public Bodies

Public bodies are an intrinsic part of the delivery of public services and it is crucial that their boards have the necessary support, knowledge and expertise to operate well. The Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) have today published a joint ‘how to’ guide for Chairs and Boards of public bodies. Board Governance Essentials: A Guide for Chairs and Boards of Public Bodies offers Chairs and board members indispensible advice on the roles that they perform, in turn helping to make their time with the board as effective and fulfilling as possible.

The guide is available to all PCF members free of charge and be downloaded here (password required). The guide is also available to purchase from the CIPFA website

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Lessons learnt from the set-up phase of the ‘Regulatory Futures’ cross-functional review

August 30 2016

Lessons learnt from the set-up phase of the ‘Regulatory Futures’ cross-functional review

As a result of conversations with John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service in July 2015, the Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF) saw the opportunity to explore better ways of working collaboratively across departments and ALBs to ensure that ALBs are working most effectively. Working in partnership with the Public Bodies Reform Team in Cabinet Office and the Association of Chief Executives (ACE) the idea of cross-functional reviews emerged. This review process would mark a significant departure from triennial reviews of the last parliament being led by the Chairs and Chief Executives of the ALBs themselves, reviewing bodies in ‘clusters’ of similar functions and occurring once a parliament. Both Chris Banks CBE (chair of PCF) and John Alty (Chair of ACE) sat on the steering group for this review. 

This report by PCF and ACE focuses on the lessons learnt during the set-up and commissioning of the crossfunctional ‘Regulatory Futures’ review. Given the variety of sectors and bodies, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to setting up cross-functional reviews but by creating a framework of best practice, we hope that we can provide a useful reference point for future project working groups to set up these reviews in the most time efficient and effective way from the outset.

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Independent Living Fund Transformation Case Study

March 03 2016

Independent Living Fund Transformation Case Study

This report looks into the lessons learnt from the successful closure of the Independent Living Fund.

The ILF was closed on 30th June 2015 and its responsibilities devolved to local authorities and trusts. 

It was a very successful closure programme which actually led to increased efficiency and productivity of staff and services.

The closure programme was about an effective transfer of services rather than eradication, and ensuring that all stakeholders were provided with all the relevant information.

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Relationship Web

relationshipweb application

Relationship Web is a diagnostic self-assessment tool, for both ALBs and Departments to use to test the state of the relationship. It is based on the diagnostic questions within the joint PCF and Institute for Government framework for effective relations and allows Departments and ALBs to identify strengths and weaknesses in their own relationships. The diagnostic statements are divided into five key areas for effectiveness, as identified in ‘It takes two’: accountabilities; strategic approach; financial and performance management; communication and engagement; and relationship management.

After completing the exercise, your results are then plotted on to a 'spider’s web' – the further away from the centre your responses, the more effective your relationship; the idea being to stretch the web over time to improve your performance. You will then be able to download a PDF version of the 'spider’s web' and save this on your computer. There will be an opportunity for individual ALBs and Departments to compare results to see how each party views their relationship. Rather than being the solution to any issues in the relationship, we hope that this exercise will act as a useful conversation starter between Department and ALB.

Cabinet Office Checklist

checklist application


checklist btn

Cabinet Office have recently produced a checklist to help Arms Length Bodies and Departments to ensure that the most important aspects of managing transitions are considered. Inevitably, no one transition is identical to another one and depending on the type of transition you are involved in, there will be certain things within the checklist that don't apply to the specific circumstances of your transition.

So, rather than having to explore which parts are relevant to your circumstances, the Public Chairs' Forum has designed an application that will do this for you. By answering some simple questions about your transition, the application will produce a customised report and checklist, ensuring you focus on the right issues at the right time. We hope that the combination of the checklist and application will help to bring clarity, focus and practical solutions to an often complex process. Download your personalised report here.