Basic Building Blocks – Role and Responsibilities of Council

The Conference Board of Canada offers a framework for principle-based governance for boards of directors which has relevance in considering the questions posed in a previous post ( Basic Building Blocks):

  • How should Council express its relationship with the Community (taxpayers) and City Hall (city employees)?
  • How should Council be accountable for its leadership role and deliver results to the Community?
  • How should Council execute its oversight role of City Hall? 

I know.  Many people find this type of work so very, very boring – especially the media.  No catchy headlines here.  Yet, this is foundational to Council doing its job and doing it well. 

Leadership and stewardship

  • Ensuring strategic direction and planning
  • Planning for succession and renewal
  • Overseeing risk management

Empowerment and accountability

  • Delegating authority
  • Allocating responsibilities
  • Establishing effective accountability mechanisms

Communication and Transparency

  • Determining information flows
  • Communicating with all community stakeholders
  • Reporting to the community (taxpayers) and others

 Service and Fairness

  • Setting an example in corporate social responsibility
  • Providing ethical leadership
  • Promoting environmental sustainability

 Accomplishment and Measurement

  • Monitoring and overseeing City Hall (city employees)
  • Selecting performance measures
  • Evaluating Council and the CAO

 Continuous learning and growth

  • Promoting a culture of innovation and change
  • Developing executives and employees
  • Training members of Council


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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

View all posts by Karen Farbridge

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