Gillian Fawcett, head of public sector reflects on the role of ‘good governance’ in public services. She considers how governance is defined, provides an overview of the sector and why good governance matters. As well as highlighting the characteristics of effective governance in organisations she includes examples of ineffective organisational governance. She concludes by asking the question whether governance arrangements for the sector are in need of a re-think. Gillian has recently co-authored a chapter on ‘public sector governance’ in a Sweet and Maxwell publication A Practical Guide to Corporate Governance (2014).