Corporate governance code for central government departments 2017

This publication lays out the policy for corporate governance in central government departments.



Good corporate governance is fundamental to any effective and well-managed organisation and is the hallmark of any corporate entity that is run accountably and with the long-term interest clearly in mind.

The ‘Corporate governance in central government departments: code of good practice’ lays out the model for departmental boards, chaired by Secretaries of State and involving ministers, civil servants and non-executive board members. The code is accompanied by a guidance note, which provides guidance on how departments may practically implement the requirements laid out in the code.

Boards help departments and government succeed in achieving their aims by encouraging good planning, managing performance regularly and raising delivery capability. They also help foster a culture of openness and good governance by providing a clear oversight structure.

The code provides for a ‘comply or explain’ approach, whereby a department can depart from the code’s provisions provided the reasons are explained in its annual governance statement accompanying the department’s accounts.

The principles outlined in the code will also prove useful for other parts of central government and they are encouraged to apply arrangements suitably adapted for their organisation.

The 2017 versions of the code and accompanying guidance update the previous 2011 editions, which can be found on the national archives.

Published 21 April 2017