Category: Videocast

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