Meetup notes: Design your perfect scrutiny officer

At this scrutinymeetup we did two things – an informal review to help us plan ahead and a longer activity looking at the strengths we might associate with the perfect scrutiny officer.

Also we had a tenuous robot theme for some reason or other.

Review of the meetups

Here are people’s thoughts on the meetups that they put in the chat:

What’s something you like about the meetups?

  • Hearing how others LAs are approaching the same challenges
  • Being able to speak in a non-judgemental space with knowledgeable people
  • Meeting new people (I’m new to this)
  • Networking, gaining context, hearing experiences from other types of authorities, meeting new people
  • being able to participate across the country easily
  • getting ideas from people to help me solve problems I’ve got!
  • opportunity to meet scrutiny officers from around the country
  • being able to meet up with officers in such a supportive and safe atmosphere!
  • Networking and chatting to other scrutiny officers. Also your humour!
  • networking
  • It’s somewhere to find ideas for better scrutiny!
  • Networking, information sharing
  • Good chance to hear from others about good practice, but also reassurance that nowhere has the perfect set up – everyone has their own quirks to deal with!
  • a few things:  meeting folk from other authorities, hearing their experiences, and how they practice scrutiny at mo
  • General chats and social
  • Chatting with colleagues from other authorities and getting a sense of how things work elsewhere
  • meeting others
  • learning from others in breakout rooms
  • Being able to learn from others
  • meeting with officers and councillors from different areas to explore issues and ideas
  • They interactive and cooperative

What’s something you might change?

  • perhaps some active learning sessions?  taking one issue and all having a go at it…
  • slightly longer time in the breakout, more councillors involved might be interesting
  • Earlier meetings possibly?
  • More fish bowl speakers. More speakers.
  • you’ve done it now for 2021…different days and times!
  • Struggled with this, I really like them as they are…
  • The time (clash with school run)
  • Haven’t been able to attend others; so probably the time of day. morning maybe less disruptive to daily schedule
  • days of the week and times. thanks for planning a morning one
  • Don’t know as this is my first one!
  • Times, in person in the future once a year.
  • allow self led breakouts
  • I really liked the opportunity to go between groups with different topics that we could choose ourselves – would like to see this again

What might be a good topic for a future meetup?

  • Public engagement / How to engage the community in a meaningful way
  • developing resident engagement with scrutiny and using that to develop the work programme
  • scrutiny and new governance arrangements in Health / health scrutiny
  • what does effective work programming look like (2)
  • what training do other authorities provide for councillors?
  • Dealing with the relationship between members, Executive and Senior officers
  • scrutiny of the budget
  • Making use of performance data, business intelligence, and using it inform priorities and policy
  • having got to a good virtual operating level, how you use it for next level facilitating even more effective scrutiny – its been    good
  • How Paw Patrol is a metaphor for Scrutiny!
  • Share what are the best bits and worst bits of your scrutiny function?
  • covid-19 – the local perspective

Design your perfect scrutiny officer

We invited participants, in small groups, to think about the strengths required for the perfect scrutiny officer and who they might associate these strengths with (partly for descriptive power and partly, well, for fun).

We asked groups to limit themselves to five each. Some of the groups themed all five of their answers (interesting!) so we had Friends, the West Wing and Harry Potter, for example. (Organised like Hermione Granger, the Eye for Detail of Filch the Caretaker, Tenacious -like Professor McGonagal, the Political Nous of Dumbledore and the Curiosity of Harry Potter) 

Here are some of the final list of ‘if you could choose just one’ that were left in the chat. Ready to include these in your person specs, annual appraisals and development plans everyone? 

  • The political nous of Dumbledore! (4)
  • The skill of efficient, thoughtful and robust pursuit of truth.. of Poirot
  • The good personal qualities of Marcus Rashford
  • The happiness and resilience of Rachel from Friends
  • The Investigative Strength of Coleen Rooney/Wagatha Christie
  • The communication of CJ Cregg of the West Wing
  • The communications of Rachel from Friends 
  • The strategic and analytical thinking of Data from Star Trek

Thanks everyone and carry on scrutinising 🕺💃

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