COVID-19 helpdesk support

Posted on 10/04/2020 by Ed Hammond.

The Centre for Governance and Scrutiny provides a helpdesk service on matters relating to governance and scrutiny.

We are available on the phone, by e-mail and on Twitter to answer any governance-related question from councillors or officers, in confidence. This is part of our standard support to the sector. However, given the current crisis, we are bolstering this support.

As well as providing general advice over the phone or by e-mail on any matter relating to governance or scrutiny, we are also offering direct, practical support to councils. This may include:

  • Assistance in overcoming some of the behavioural and cultural challenges associated with remote working, including remote formal meetings;

  • Assistance in designing temporary standing orders and terms of reference for scrutiny;

  • Assistance in understanding how and where existing statutory obligations on scrutiny and existing scrutiny/executive protocols might need to be acted on differently;

  • Assistance in working with senior officers and the executive in developing new approaches to scrutiny (which may reflect the suggestions in our guide);

  • Assistance in carrying out substantive scrutiny work (for example, where capacity may be limited owing to staff redeployment);

  • Training and development support to councillors, which may involve remote training, coaching and mentoring.

If you are an officer and a member of ADSO or LLG, one of the benefits of membership is access to a large network of professionals alongside national officers and staff who are also providing assistance on these issues, and related matters. If you are a member of these organisations they might be your first port of call for advice on these issues; we are offering capacity support.

We are working closely with these organisations to ensure that the advice that we provide is consistent and accurate.

You can access the helpdesk:

By phone: 020 7543 5627 or 07764 684 182

By e-mail: or

Through Twitter (including Twitter DM): @CfGScrutiny or @CfGS_Ed

About the Author: Ed Hammond

Ed leads CfGS's work on devolution, transformation and on support to councils and other public bodies on governance and accountability.