The extent to which an organisation’s culture supports the execution of its strategy, the management of risk and the treatment of its service users is increasingly under the spotlight, and weaknesses in culture are now frequently blamed for failings in these areas.
When it goes wrong…
The current environment presents dynamic uncertainty over what the future holds, with only one thing really clear: local government must be ready to adapt whilst protecting services for society’s most vulnerable. Now, more than ever, the principles of good risk management, sound governance and robust internal control must remain central to organisational control to maintain confidence in the ability of authorities to effectively self-govern and reliably demonstrate value to stakeholders.
But it can, and does, go wrong. And for local authorities, the ramifications of getting it wrong can be far reaching and damaging. Recently, we have been working with a range of local authorities on incidents involving:
Through our work, we consistently find that culture emerges as a root cause where things have gone wrong, whether through complacency or stress of significant workloads or other means. As a result, local authorities are increasingly having to examine and assess the concept of culture and if it supports their strategy and mandate.
Senior leadership teams need to examine what aspects of the culture they should change and how, which is particularly relevant in the current environment as it can highlight both successes to be replicated and recommendations to address any areas of divergence. The problem is, culture can be intangible and difficult to define, let alone assess or change.
Mazars has a structured tool to assist organisations in auditing culture. This tool helps organisations to define their ‘target’ or desired culture, and then measures actual culture across the organisation against that target. Finally, it assists in defining a plan to address any material gaps between target and actual culture, in particular those that create a risk that the organisation won’t be able to achieve its strategy or deliver on its mandate.
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