Meetup notes: Work planning for the win

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At this meetup we worked on the issues of work planning. We used a liberating structure called What, So What, What Next to work through a conversation in three stages.

Here are the takeaways that we captured from participants in the chat at the end of each stage.

Hope you find them useful!

Something interesting that you heard that others do

  • canvas residents, reviewing consultations
  • It’s all about communication!
  • We discussed whether committees used the first meeting of their year to finalise the work plan or whether this was established beforehand leaving the first meeting to actually scrutinise – there was a mixture of responses
  • Topic suggestions invited from the public via website and social media
  • a scrutiny café to discuss work plans
  • Social Media Campaigns
  • Communication with Chairperson/Vice Chairperson/Members/Directors and Heads of Service. openness and transparency of agendas etc
  • Public ideas for topics
  • Looking in local media for matters of local interest to be included in work plans
  • moving away from annual work planning
  • Having a google docs type document to share a draft work plan with members and officers for their input
  • corporate plan
  • Looking at the action tracker to see what’s outstanding
  • Interested to see other council using social media to get ideas from public
  • Speaking with cabinet members


What insights did you gain from sharing different work planning activities?

  • Members need to think more critically about whether their ideas for scrutiny items are good enough to make most of resources and time
  • Trying to enable more interaction/discussion at meetings – not just presentations!
  • listen to all members across the administration and opposition
  • Variety of sources for longlist of items for work programme
  • Work programme is a living document and constantly changing
  • increased communication with the public, with residents to inform the FWP.
  • Plan to use different mechanisms for scrutiny in your work programme
  • importance of good chairmanship in making meetings focussed
  • meeting with cabinet members
  • How Task and Finish Group work has continued for some.
  • That officers can talk for too long….
  • Flexible work programmes to accommodate urgent items as and when needed
  • Need to get Comms support for engaging with public to get suggestions
  • Comms involvement helps shape scrutiny and the public interest.
  • A shift in perspective about drawing insights from councillors
  • Setting up meetings with cabinet members and chairs/vice chairs starts the year in a productive way.


Something to do differently as a result of today’s conversation?

  • Virtual planning event with breakout rooms etc
  • speak to comms on what has been high traffic issue on social media recently
  • Use social media to canvass for suggestions for the public and calls for evidence during a specific review
  • looking at local media as well as complaints and consultation feedback as a source for timely and relevant topics
  • Virtual work programme planning with Committee g. use breakout rooms
  • utilise comms / public consultations to gauge better idea of public concerns
  • Liaise with cabinet members and officers more about topics for scrutiny
  • ability to make use of new technology to gather evidence from stakeholders
  • Informal drop-in sessions for people to find out more about scrutiny / suggest topics
  • Look at how we do our social media around scrutiny.
  • Planning the way we carry out the scrutiny – not just the topic
  • start pre-meets with all Members of the Committee for any questions and to inform the line of questioning to encourage pre reading of the agenda and pack.
  • Engage more extensively with Officers to suggest ideas for scrutiny
  • Scrutiny café research!
  • Engaging others and councillors more. Looking at items as a journey
  • Themed meetings
  • Seeking to widen the circle of Members who contribute their input to the work planning
  • Possibly a Scrutiny ran social media account separate from Comms?
  • Speak to comms about local issues they have picked up
  • Nurture three-way relations (portfolio holders, Chairs, Exec Directors) from the start


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