Tag: annual reports

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!


Sign up now for Meetup #14: What are we gonna do with our annual report?

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ScrutinyMeetup #14: What are we gonna do with our annual report?

10.00- 12.00, Wednesday 24th February

We thought annual reports would be a really good topic after we were contacted by Catherine Buckley at Knowsley. It is, of course, that time of the year when scrutiny officers are trawling the internet, looking for ideas to share with councillors. You can read Catherine’s post here.

We are going to run it as a fishbowl. We’ve done this a couple of times before and it’s worked pretty well. We ask four or five scrutineers to talk informally about their experiences of a particular topic for 20 minutes or so. Everyone then gets the chance to discuss what they have heard and suggest questions for the fishes who have another round of discussion before a final round of discussion for everyone.

I’m delighted that, along with Catherine, Camilla de Bernhardt Lane (Devon) and Julia Cleary (Wolverhampton) will be taking part. We have a couple of spare places so, if you might like to be a fish, you can let us know when you sign up.

And there will also be nine minute networking of course.

Please do note the new time – we are having our first ever morning meetup so, you know, adjust your Filofax accordingly.

Some practical points

Just so you know, we will close bookings the day before and then send out joining details by the night before to everyone signed up. Watch your spam folder – we will probably send out a separate email to say we have sent the first!

In the mean time, as we will be using Zoom, you might want to sign up / install the app if you can (if you haven’t already) although you can still access through a browser. Details about Zoom here: https://zoom.us

By the way, there are 72 spaces this time.

Hope to se you there!

Dave Mckenna @DrDaveMckenna

Matt Clack @M_ttclack


In practice: How can we improve our scrutiny annual reports?

This is a guest post from Catherine Buckley at Knowlsey Council. Thanks Catherine!


Each year we all complete an annual report. Generally speaking they cover the work of the function over the past year, edited highlights, perhaps a bit of impact, feedback/insight and maybe some information on where scrutiny has added value or what the plans are for the future.

When it comes to drafting the report I always do a Google trawl for good ideas or areas where they have done something a bit different with their format/content. Some of the best ones I have seen are easy to understand and really accessible (for non scrutiny people) and they also go beyond a summary report,  being more analytical and using learning from the past year to inform the year ahead.

With the shift to paperless and home working there are now real opportunities to think differently about format as well as content. I’d love to hear from other areas where scrutiny annual reports have been more innovative in their approach, to understand how they were produced and shared and how they involved Members and other stakeholders throughout the process.

Please get in touch if you would like to share some learning on this topic!


Catherine works at Knowsley Council. You can read about their scrutiny annual report here.

Do have any good examples to share or ideas to add or questions to ask? Why not comment on this post.

Or drop Catherine a line on Catherine.Buckley@knowsley.gov.uk