Council Impact: Strong Scrutiny Linked to Confidence and Effective Relationships

Posted on 08/03/2024 by Pandora Ellis.

The 2022-23 results of our annual of overview and survey in local government continue to demonstrate that effective scrutiny – as we have noted in previous publications and research – is as much a matter of culture and attitude as it is one of having systems and processes in place.

Year on year we explore scrutiny practice, gathering growing examples of where good practice, good process and good behaviours are in alignment.

Read more about the impact of scrutiny on councils in our report

Councils with a particular range of characteristics tend to also be those where scrutiny is, and is seen to be, effective.

From our annual survey, we found that councils with effective scrutiny, by these measures:

  • Tended to be more confident on financial scrutiny, and more confident in ability to address the needs of commercial scrutiny;
  • Tended to report particularly strong executive- scrutiny relationships (although as we have noted, the presence of an executive-scrutiny protocol no longer correlates);
  • Tended to be more likely than respondents overall to have arrangements in place for the regular sharing of information with members;
  • Tended to be more positive about scrutiny’s ability to look at the right topics at the right time, through effective work programme;
  • Tended (although the correlation is quite marginal) to be councils with specialist policy officer support for scrutiny committees.