Friday, 27 June 2014

68. The 15 characteristics of effective scrutiny

What exactly does effective scrutiny look like?  How would you know it when you saw it?  This is not such a simple question to answer.  However, fear not.  The good folk of the Wales Scrutiny Officers Network and the Centre for Public Scrutiny in Wales have produced 15 characteristics that answer these questions very neatly.

Scrutiny in progress

The characteristics - listed below - were refined as part of the process of producing the Wales Audit Office report 'Good Scrutiny? Good Question!' and were published as an appendix to that report.  If you want to do some evaluation of your scrutiny arrangements then these are just what you need.

By the way, the references to better outcomes, decisions and engagement in brackets reflect the three purposes of scrutiny - you could break it down into three separate sections if you want.



Characteristics for effective local government overview and scrutiny


Environment 

1. Overview and scrutiny has a clearly defined and valued role in the council's improvement and governance arrangements. [Better Outcomes]

2. Overview and scrutiny has the dedicated officer support it needs from officers who are able to undertake independent research effectively, and provides councillors with high-quality analysis, advice and training. [Better Outcomes]

3. Overview and scrutiny councillors have the training and development opportunities they need to undertake their role effectively. [Better Decisions]

4. The process receives effective support from the council’s corporate management team who ensures that information provided to overview and scrutiny is of high quality and is provided in a timely and consistent manner. [Better Decisions]

5. Overview and scrutiny is recognised by the executive and corporate management team as an important council mechanism for community engagement, and facilitates greater citizen involvement in governance. [Better Engagement]

Practice 

6. Overview and scrutiny inquiries are non-political, methodologically sound and incorporate a wide range of evidence and perspectives. [Better Outcomes]

7. Overview and scrutiny is councillor-led, takes into account the views of the public, partners and regulators, and balances the prioritisation of community concerns against issues of strategic risk and importance. [Better Decisions]

8. Overview and scrutiny meetings and activities are well-planned, chaired effectively and make best use of the resources available to it. [Better Decisions]

9. Overview and scrutiny is characterised by effective communication to raise awareness of, and encourage participation in democratic accountability. [Better Engagement]

10. Overview and scrutiny operates non-politically and deals effectively with sensitive political issues, tension and conflict. [Better Engagement]

11. Overview and scrutiny builds trust and good relationships with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders. [Better Engagement]

Impact 

12. Overview and scrutiny regularly engages in evidence based challenge of decision makers and service providers. [Better Outcomes]

13. Overview and scrutiny provides viable and well evidenced solutions to recognised problems. [Better Outcomes]

14. Decision makers give public account for themselves at overview and scrutiny committees for their portfolio responsibilities. [Better Decisions]

15. Overview and scrutiny enables the 'voice' of local people and communities across the area to be heard as part of decision and policy-making processes. [Better Engagement]

Photo:  https://flic.kr/p/o81ZdU

1 comment:

goodpracticeexchange said...

Good to see these in blog form! I think these are massively helpful, and give a clear picture of what we should be aiming for. Great work CfPS!

- Dyfrig

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