Our support for scrutiny and governance in local government during COVID-19
(Updated February 2021)
CfGS is funded to deliver support to councils on governance and scrutiny on behalf of the Local Government Association. As part of this work we are putting in place a significant package of support to councils during COVID-19 and throughout the aftermath. Here, we set out some of the background to this support. More detail can be found in a separate paper which sets out our offer in more detail. This paper dates from late March 2020; since then we have made some refinements, so this page is the best place to make sure you are up to date.
Our programme of support is designed to support councils to meet the challenge of supporting ongoing member governance as the crisis continues, and as councils begin a process of reflection and recovery from the crisis. Regular council meetings have now recommenced – reflecting our advice from earlier in the year about the central importance of scrutiny during this period.
To assist councils to put in place robust and proportionate scrutiny arrangements we have set out a comprehensive support offer for councils. This includes:
- Online guides:
- Direct support to councils (on any matter relating to governance and scrutiny – this may involve assistance in building new systems, in understanding what information councillors need to carry out their work at a local level, and assistance in developing skills for working in new and different ways). This incorporates our “Geared for COVID” offer – helping you to understand the changes you need to make to scrutiny to play an active, positive role in continuing to tackle the pandemic. If you think you’d benefit from this, please let us know.
- Scrutiny reviews of COVID-19. We have launched a new support package to help councils with the design and delivery of scrutiny-led reviews of the COVID-19 response and recovery; particularly importance as areas emerge from the pandemic needing to learn lessons from their experiences. Find out more here.
- Helpdesk support (by phone, e-mail or Twitter, on questions and concerns relating to scrutiny and governance). Here’s some more on how to contact our helpdesk.
- Webinars, workshops and remote events. We continue to organise a range of free webinars to assist practitioners, more details on which you can find here. Watch our recorded webinars here.
- Highlighting interesting work and facilitating networking. We participate in regular remote calls between scrutiny practitioners facilitated by Dr Dave McKenna (you can sign up here) and provide ongoing support through regional scrutiny networks.
- Active work to campaign on the retention of the power for councils to convene meetings remotely. As things stand this power will disappear on 7 May 2021. CfGS is working with a range of partners to ensure that these powers can be retained.
We’ve also produced a significant amount of short-form content that you can access on our news and blogs page.
You can get a general insight into the approach we are taking to promoting the role that scrutiny can play at this difficult time by looking at: