Tag: executive relationship

What makes a constructive relationship between cabinet and scrutiny?

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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

ScrutinyMeetup #9: Executive Protocol

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ScrutinyMeetup #9: Executive Protocol

14.00- 16.00, 16th September 2020

Yes, we like that this meetup sounds like a Tom Clancy novel but strangely there isn’t an actual thriller with this title (I checked Amazon so I know). Anyhow, we will be looking at how to build a better relationship between scrutiny and the executive whether cabinet members or otherwise. When we discussed the conditions needed for effective scrutiny this came up as the condition most were concerned about and with the most potential to be improved. It’s also been suggested as a meetup theme in responses to our recent review so, there you go.

Scrutinymeetups will now be two hours long and this one will work like this:


Some very brief basics and hellos. Also, this time we will give you some feedback from the recent meetup review. And we might ask you about possible future topics.

Part One: Nine Minute Networking

A popular aspect of the meetups – we invite you to spend nine minutes in the company of three random scrutineers in two rounds. We suggest a couple of conversation topics but it’s up to you really.

Part Two: Executive Protocols Fishbowl

We know that fishbowls have worked well in the past so we think it would be cool to run one for this topic.

We ask four or five ‘fishes’ to informally discuss their experiences of executive protocols, formal and informal, and then give everyone a chance to discuss what they heard and come up with questions that the fishes try to answer in a second round.

Just so you know will be sharing a video of the fishbowl.

**If you have recently been in involved with developing a scrutiny-executive protocol, or have been working with one for a while, or just have a relationship that works well with our a formal protocol, and would like to volunteer for the fishbowl – please let us know when you book your place!**  


We just like to chill for the last 15 minutes – a chance to ask anything or just chat.


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 junk folder – we will 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

You can find more details and the notes from previous meet ups here: https://www.publicgov.co.uk/sc…

By the way, there are 72 spaces this time.

Hope to se you there!

Dave Mckenna @DrDaveMckenna

Matt Clack @M_ttclack