Category: Meetup notes

Meetup notes: Supporting scrutiny councillors to succeed

Notes for meetup #18: Advice, training and development: Supporting scrutiny councillors to succeed

Wednesday 14th July 🇫🇷 10.00-12.00

To celebrate Bastille Day, we had a French theme – well Dave had some madeleines and Matt did the chatfall countdown en français.

To help participants to generate all of those good ideas we had nine minute networking, spiral journal and a conversation cafe.

In a final chatfall we extracted the final, favourite takeaways and here is the final list. Hope it’s useful 🙏.

What helps scrutiny councillors to succeed?

  • Zoom premeetings
  • Good pre-meeting preparation
  • Site visits – get out in the community and meet real people – missed that during pandemic
  • Effective use of pre-meetings
  • Curiosity, interest in subject matter, willingness to push scrutiny to its limits in adding value
  • Great to discuss this – important discussion around relationships, questioning, support, inspiration – asking the ‘Et alors?’ question (so what?))! impact.
  • Importance of well-planned and well-timed pre-meetings.
  • Opportunity and ability to ask relevant follow-up questions
  • Prepare members in advance of the meeting – pre-meeting to filter and theme questions and to pin the areas that may need to change, what we need to know more about and think about  recommendations could be formed at the meeting.
  •  Preparation in advance of the meeting to plan themes, questions and possible recommendations
  •  Thinking about site visits to support interest in a subject
  •  Importance of preparation and understanding the brief
  •  Ensuring member engagement and addressing the issues that hold them back – training for example
  •  Do less, but do it better – be  more focussed rather than trying to solve everything.
  •  Members to listen to responses at the meeting – for supplementary questions to dig deeper into the issue.
  •  Listening to officers reponses and forming questions based on new information rather than sticking to pre-prepared questions
  •  Curiosité
  •  Supporting the development of relationships between executive, scrutiny, officers and others
  •  Listening well and responding with useful supplementaries
  •  Pre-meetings held in advance to sort out issues beforehand
  •  Thinking of innovative ways of getting members engaged
  •  master class videos with info in advance of scrutiny sessions
  •  Reports should have all the data, quantative… members need to bring qualitative info and context – at the meeting dig deeper
  •  Training around questioning for members that is focused and to the point. How to follow up the responses to those questions.
  •  Need to think about how best to help members understand the impact of their scrutiny
  •  Working on relationships – and hearing from the edges
  •  Focus on issues
  •  Good quality recommendations as a result of useful questions and answers

Meetup notes and video: The secrets of parliamentary scrutiny

Meetup notes: The secrets of parliamentary scrutiny

In this meetup we heard a wonderful fishbowl conversation between three parliamentary clerks:

  • Fay Bowen – Welsh Senedd – Clerk to the Public Accounts Committee and meetup veteran
  • Matthew Congreve – House of Commons – Second Clerk to the Defence Committee
  • Francisca Gale – Tynwald – Parliament of the Isle of Man – Deputy Head of the Chamber and Information Service, Clerk to Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee

They talked about how they help to make their committees ‘sing’, discussed some of their challenges and shared some tips along the way. Then they answered questions from participants and even went into extra time to answer all the questions they missed.

Don’t worry if you missed it because we’ve put the whole thing on Youtube and it’s well worth a watch!

To give you a flavour, here are some of the questions asked by participants and some of their takeaways at the end.

Questions for the fishes

  • Can you give an example of a time you involved stakeholders in the development of TORs and how it went?
  • How long (in hours/days) does it take to produce a brief for Members?
  • Be interested in getting a copy of the commons pack spreadsheet talked about in relation to recommendations.
  • How do you ensure that the enquiry stays on task without stopping useful areas of enquiry?
  • On the ‘silent policy change’ and measuring impact – how you balance demonstrating success/impact to others without embarrassing policymakers by highlighting their “uturns” and thus disincentivising policy changes?
  • When a recommendation is only part of the evidence to inform a decision – how can scrutiny claim it as an outcome and how do you monitor it
  • how do you address lack of engagement?
  • If your members also had another full time job, how would you engage them with your review?
  • How do you encourage Members to ask effective, challenging, follow up questions?
  • How do you support Members to not take the arguments of Cabinet Members/officers at face value/provide an appropriate level of critical challenge?
  • For Fay- the ‘wash up’ sessions -would you invite the whole Committee or would it be a conversation with the Chair?
  • Supplementary questions, how do you organise these?
  • What does a successful meeting look like?
  • How do you make recommendations SMART?


  • Wash up after briefing
  • My top takeaway is the importance of setting the right remit/terms, and that stakeholders can be involved in informing this at an earlier stage.
  • Could we have notes?
  • Rethinking how to brief the Chair/Vice-Chair and other Committee Members
  • How much of the scrutiny direction is governed by you
  • clear aims, objectives and communication between departments, committees, panels
  • I could brief Members a bit better.
  • Getting a clear sense of current levels of interest and knowledge at the start of the review
  • Getting the balance right between making sure members have the resources to be well informed but making sure they take responsibility for this.
  • Going to try the video briefing!!
  • Wash up meetings with all task group members not just officers/chair
  • The same issues are experienced at all levels of public scrutiny
  • Video briefing on the background to a topic in advance of the meeting – so that the meeting is not taken up with scene setting and members can get stuck in to the issues
  • Definitely interested in the video briefing.

Thanks again to our fishes – you did a brilliant job 💃🕺

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


Meetup notes: What are we gonna do with our annual report?

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We thoroughly enjoyed our annual report themed meetup and thank you to the 50 participants. Special thank yous of course to the three fishes who took part in the excellent fishbowl conversation; Catherine, Camilla and Julia.

Please watch the video and check out the poll results and notes. Plenty to give you inspiration for your next annual report!


Poll results

We ran a few polls just to give an idea of where everyone is.






Here are the notes from the chat. First the questions and comments for the fishes following a round of breakout groups, second the final takeaways (we usually have a takeaway on a Friday night, mmmm).

Questions and comments for the fishbowl

  • The issue of time lag between action and outcome
  • Do you include the Key Decisions in your annual report?
  • How well do you collaborate with IT and Comms team?
  • how do you ensure the annual report is member led and influenced by us?
  • how would you use social media?
  • How do you evaluate the value of scrutiny meaningfully to report it in the Annual Plan?
  • Can you get away with a video only report?
  • Scrutiny is sometimes held to a higher standard of accountability in terms of outcomes and expectations compared to the executive for example some recommendations may take more than a year to implement and have an impact – how can this be overcome?
  • What information – if any – is essential to include in the annual scrutiny report?
  • From our group: Inspired by the way other authorities promote scrutiny, love the idea of a video/using newsletters/ Any other great ideas?
  • How can you overcome the annual report becoming just part of a process and make it more effective.
  • How have you managed any corporate resistance to your change in approach?
  • Absolutely agree around the impact oriented – refined report style. We’ve worked really hard over the last two years to make this happen and we’re pleased with the reports produced recently. New accessibility requirements cause difficulties though. How do we make our reports both accessible and impactful/attractive?
  • How to challenge the culture where scrutiny value is not accepted
  • Comms have basically told us because there is minimal engagement with the invites to the committee meetings they’re stopping doing it and there’s resistance giving scrutiny its own twitter – crazy to see its like that in so many other places, how to we combat this?
  • It is about trust and motivation of the Chair
  • We tag all of the Members into our tweets so they can re-tweet them – this increases the traffic – I should say all of the Members on that particular board
  • We also re-tweet articles that pick up scrutiny issues
  • how to show impact of scrutiny at a time when it is struggle to get attention? – balance between impact and a lasting effect for scrutiny
  • We talked about the need to make this a virtual report – links and videos are a great tool


What’s your biggest takeaway? What are you gonna do with your annual report?

  • Get comms onside with scrutiny to help with getting the message across of the benefit of scrutiny.
  • Make annual report shorter and more accessible – involve comms
  • Keep it relevant.
  • To aim to work toward a shorter more punchy and meaningful Annual report based on today’s discussions
  • This year has already been so different for all of us – so lets be brave and make this the year when we go big on making our annual report have impact!!
  • Look into possibility of video presentation to bring to life – we already have good links with Comms team who tweet most of our live streamed meetings
  • Importance of singing about the impact of scrutiny and the challenge of finding the right stage to do it
  • I will try to be more creative learning from others such as Devon, consider videos etc.
  • We should use the report short and virtual to celebrate scrutiny successes and use the voice of scrutiny members to promote it
  • That we can cover more than just the previous year – consider a newsletter approach rather than a board by board report. Using an exceptional year to make changes
  • Thinking about video and social media as ways of driving engagement. How do I make the report go viral!?
  • Member engagement key as it should be their report. Use all forms of media.
  • The question of “If it hadn’t been for Scrutiny, what would have happened?”
  • Be brave – shout about scrutiny!
  • Look at a different way of producing it.
  • Loving the group support – keep pushing for innovation!
  • I really like the idea of incorporating video into future annual reports, and making better use of comms and social media.
  • Using different methods such as video for a report. Keep it short, thinking of the audience and help measure success of the team and work of scrutiny.
  • Keep fighting! Get comms on board and focus on evidencing impact and value added through scrutiny – culture is crucial.
  • Promote scrutiny more – videos, use of newsletters get a good working relationship with comms.
  • Give more consideration to the audience of the report.
  • Short, pithy report demonstrating relevance of scrutiny.
  • Use of social media to increase the reach of the annual report
  • Political/Corporate buy-in of scrutiny is important!
  • Getting those stories or Scrutiny’s impact from others across the organisation, video option is very interesting.
  • The use of stories and quotes – the real voice!
  • Join up comms and scrutiny
  • Let’s try a  non-written report!


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 🕺💃

Meetup notes: Demonstrating the effectiveness of scrutiny

This meetup was all about how to demonstrate the effectiveness of scrutiny. We tried a new liberating structure called Triz. And we tried using Google Jamboards for the group work for the first time. Both worked really well. Hooray!

We also had a tenuous disaster movie theme. Matt likes to call Triz ‘Twister’, so that kinda works. (As do the ‘biggest scrutiny disasters’ above.)

In the main activity, using Triz, we honed in on the things we are currently doing that prevent us from demonstrating the effectiveness of scrutiny by asking the following question:

What are the practical ways you and your team could ensure that Scrutiny’s successes go completely unnoticed by local residents and the rest of your organisation?

At the end of the process we identified some of the small things we might do that could start to make a big difference.

Here is the full list of ideas:

  • Do a short video about what scrutiny is and how it works. Would be really helpful if the CfGS could do this and make it available for sharing on their website
  • Speak to Comms team about where they think residents could engage better and see if scrutiny can be part of that
  • Make sure officers across the Council understand what scrutiny is or how Council’s work and the different roles elected members have e.g. Cabinet/backbench
  • publicising Scrutiny more the public and to the Council – members and officers (ie over and above the stat min)
  • issue a Scrutiny bulletin on a regular basis – on the website, and other useful (stakeholder) links/sites – tracking O&S Work Plan
  • invite Press to spend time at offices to be taught about Scrutiny function – Officer led
  • train Members on Scrutiny function – operate a league table for them to compete attendance/competence (think brownie badges)
  • general training – We don’t know what we don’t know – Johari – Member Skills Review sessions. If nec, within their Political Groups (saves embarrassment and publicly competing egos)
  • evaluate Decision-Making Risk , eg assumptions that we know what we don’t know!!!
  • Adapt to how residents want to engage. Don’t insist on particular processes
  • Understanding of the situation: let officers get on with the ‘doing’ before scrutinising. Unprecedented situation.
  • Turn processes virtual. The council office isn’t open for good reason.
  • Promote virtual processes, meetings etc.
  • Get language and materials sense checked by people in the organisation with the skill set to do so – and good neighbourhood community connectors with those skills too
  • Give a presentation to managers on how scrutiny could help them and possibly create a feature on the intranet for all staff
  • Set up meeting with senior managers and leader to discuss scrutiny’s role
  • Provide regular update reports
  • Talk to the comms team about social media posts to explain / promote scrutiny

And here are the favourite ideas identified by the participants.

  • Creating a video about what scrutiny is/does
  • Talk to the comms team about explaining / promoting scrutiny to residents
  • Evaluate decision-making risks by asking Members to grade aspects
  • An easy method of getting all officers in the Council to understand what scrutiny is and how it fits into governance – this is resource intensive so would be useful If CfGS could produce this information or have
  • easily available explainers on their website, like a very basic ‘what is scrutiny?’ etc we could direct members to
  • Get language in reports sensed checked – not just for plain english but for relevance to communities
  • Fully engage comms at the beginning/end of the scrutiny review.
  • Adapt to how citizens want to engage
  • Publicizing scrutiny work – press releases
  • Put in place and promote virtual meetings, processes. you can’t pass a note across the table, just say it and be open

We asked participants ‘What was made possible?’ by this approach:

  • This was a good approach. Using the jam boards was helpful.
  • More objective and granular thought process
  • Promotes a different way of thinking and more creative solutions
  • Good to understand that we all have the same problems and challenges
  • Thinking backwards made us more creative
  • Thinking in a different way – approaching a problem from another angle
  • It was fun!
  • Good way to just flip the opposite of your suggestion. It can be easier to think of the negative and what doesn’t work as a starting point.
  • Anti approach helped clarify how to remedy issues

We hen did a quick exercise to draw out some of the things that people are doing well already…

What helps to demonstrate the effectiveness of scrutiny work?

  • Annual report
  • No. of scrutiny referrals to Cabinet (the more the better)
  • Report annually to Full Council which is a public meeting about what scrutiny has done
  • Robust scrutiny recommendations that led to change
  • An annual report.
  • Quality recommendations.
  • Present the annual report in a more engaging way (e.g. Microsoft Sway report)
  • Outcome based annual report

Thanks to everyone that took part and…..

Keep on scrutinising 💃🏾


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Meetup notes: Virtual inquiries and reviews in a time of Covid

This meetup had a Star Trek theme because, you know, Star Trek. We did three, loosely connected, activities to help participants work through the issues (instructions here) and here are the points they shared in the chat.

Hope it’s useful.

What’s something your organisation has done virtually that has impressed you?

  • We held a virtual conference for 100 people including members of the public
  • Just moving to online meetings is a massive achievement
  • Working remotely!
  • Mayor making ensuring Mayor has his gowns, chains and virtual background of the chamber and signed declaration book on line
  • Picture of Bracknell’s Council Chamber as background for all Councillors to use at live events
  • It’s been great to see how we have moved to online meetings and had meaningful engagement from residents!
  • Embracing virtual meetings so quickly, and the accessibility it brings – aside from tech constraints!
  • Much better attendance (less apologies/subs) at committee meetings
  • How well the organisation coped with the move to remote meetings in such a short space of time.
  • Got our virtual meetings up and running from April, Scrutiny meetings started in May.
  • Ask me anything Yammer sessions with our Director of Public Health for all staff to ask any questions about COVID
  • Councils that have managed the ‘virtual transition’ with no dedicated IT support or with huge numbers of members!
  • Virtual meetings in general
  • Borough Conference
  • Quite simply, our most recent Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee because it was highly political, and would have been challenging in “normality\3 but we got through it…

What has helped to support the successful elements of inquiries / reviews?

  • Remote meetings mean can bring wider selection of people into inquiry
  • Short and snappy meetings with a clear scope for each one.
  • We heard about the importance of external witnesses, both professional and those with lived experience – this was really helpful to put the review in context
  • Good relationships
  • Reviews are better than sound…
  • Hearing from lots of different sources at the start of the investigation to find out what’s happening so the view of council staff, schools, teachers, parents, carers etc. – identified where the issues were and what to focus on.
  • Members undertaking practical/hands on work is beneficial
  • Engaging people where they are
  • Useful to find out what others do
  • Site visits and good engagement with both Members & stakeholders
  • Expert witnesses
  • Using Scrutiny to bring a creative approach to problem solving
  • A real issue, officer buy-in, an external event that coincided with a report and recommendations, a passionate and knowledgeable chair
  • Wide ranging engagement

15% Solutions: What do we have the freedom and resources to do now?

  • Bring stakeholders together – public, experts, officers and members. Often, they are not aware of each other or the services / activities in the area.
  • More/better preparation
  • Utilise the (active) Youth Council where youth engagement is required
  • See what other Councils have done on the topic and see what recommendations they’ve come up with – use this knowledge to check out whether these things are issues locally or whether it’s different things. But at least you’re seeking assurance that those things are in place.
  • More youth engagement making most of their easy use of social media
  • Getting more engagement from others outside of the Councils.
  • Conduct survey/ consultations
  • Time to better evaluate evidence
  • Adding feasibility considerations into reports
  • Co-opt an expert onto group (but might not want to do it for free)
  • Ask chairman to allocate tasks to members of the group to keep up engagement.
  • Put on the website somewhere that members of the public can input scrutiny ideas forward – check other council websites for examples of this.

What makes a constructive relationship between cabinet and scrutiny?

Our sponsors for this meetup


ScrutinyMeetup #9 – Executive Protocol

In this meetup (yes, nine already!) we pondered how to make the executive / scrutiny relationshipship more constructive.

In the video you can see a fishbowl discussion of this issue from the perspective of four different councils.

Thank you to our wonderful volunteer fishes:

  • Cllr Bryony Rudkin – Ipswich Borough Council
  • Natasha Taylor – Melton Borough Council
  • Cllr Tom Coole – Gloucester City Council
  • Tracy Tiff – Northampton Borough Council

After the fishbowl, participants reflected on what they had heard and came up with the suggestions below Hope you find them helpful.


What practical things can be done to make the cabinet / scrutiny relationship more constructive?

  • Conversations between Cabinet and Scrutiny
  • Clear commitment from Cabinet that there is ‘parity of esteem’ from scrutiny
  • Develop better communication opportunities between Chair/Cabinet Member
  • More and earlier planning stages for the work planning, focusing on council priorities. Also, reverse engineering the work programme from the annual report you’d like to be able to produce.
  • Open and constructive dialogue with the executive outside of formal committee meetings, For example, sharing and discussing future work programmes, likely areas of inquiry, etc….
  • Encourage the executive to appoint an opposition chair
  • Consider other LA’s ways of working and how we can improve our own processes.
  • Conversations between portfolio members and scrutiny members are crucial to creating a good working relationship 
  • Early communication between the two outside of formal meetings.
  • Setting out the agreed channels of communication so each side knows how the other side will be keeping them informed
  • Conversations outside of the formal meetings
  • Discuss with members adopting an Executive/Scrutiny protocol
  • Foster a climate of openness
  • Good, regular, informal communications
  • Cabinet input in the draft work plan (particularly of non-exec/ new items) while maintaining independence from scrutiny and early input in T&F recs for comments
  • Create a formal protocol, promote outcomes of scrutiny more widely across council
  • Getting early stage input from cabinet and using outcomes focus rather than only recommendations focused.
  • Scrutiny chairs meeting leader regularly