The Making of – National Commission on Modern Governance

26 November 2019

We launched our first report of the National Commission at the House of Lords on the 21st of November, the culmination of months of hard work. But what is the report about, I hear you ask? Great question. Read on to find out.

An overview

The Commission was set up in late spring 2019 following our reflection of the current state of good governance, or lack thereof, in our society and the public sector. Following its initial inception, we held a number of discussions with the Commissioners and guests to gather evidence based on the three organising themes: Communities and Place; Digital; and People. Together they have helped form the framework of enquiry, which was launched last week and will form the basis of the Commission’s work throughout 2020. We are keen to hear and include a diverse range of perspectives on the Commission’s exciting programme.

At its core, the report is designed to open up a wider discussion to help determine the best way forward. It also engages head-on with some of the questions about the future of governance in the public sector.

The main objectives of the Commission are:

  • To open up an inclusive and extensive dialogue about the future of governance in the public sector at a critically important time in its history
  • To make recommendations which help to ensure the UK has best possible public sector governance outcomes in the UK by 2030
  • To raise levels of understanding about the value, meaning and impact of good governance

Governance is perhaps needed now more than ever, as our public sector tries to navigate an ever-changing and complex landscape.

The importance of governance

We think good modern governance, which is advocated throughout the report as the way forward, is central to the sustainable future of the Public Sector. Good governance can help public sector stewardship, so that it remains strong, stable and trustworthy for years to come. In fact, good governance can allow us to take risks for the betterment of society.

For governance to succeed, it needs participation and engagement from those who believe in it. As citizens are becoming more vocal on issues that matter to them, good governance can give them access to effective platforms to have their voices heard. A fundamental principle that the public sector needs to adhere to is to engage, involve and act in the best interests of the public, as that is who they ultimately serve.

Just like with anything that happens these days, it is important to mention Brexit. The European Union has had a huge influence on UK governance for 40 years. The level playing field created by the EU could very well disappear, should Brexit take place, leaving behind regulatory uncertainty in key areas. Come what may in the coming months, if we lose some of these governance structures and principles, there could be dire consequences for the UK. It may be best to apply the EU’s governance ideals and implement them in our society for our own benefit.

What next?

We are delighted to announce an open call for evidence from now until November 2020. We are seeking input around the main lines of enquiry through, online surveys open to everyone, commission networks, stimulus interviews with individuals, place-based events up and down the country and advocacy campaigns to raise public awareness. We are also hosting a Governance Congress at Leeds Castle.

We are looking to engage as many people as possible, old and young, and strongly encourage you to participate in this project with us. If you would like to get involved please visit our website at, to find out more.

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