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Devolution: challenges and opportunities for scrutiny

March 3, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


A free event to support scrutiny leads and members in areas which are undergoing, or planning to undergo, devolution.

Some may be speculating about Government’s commitment to devolution, but at a local level, the momentum remains. A number of areas are holding Mayoral elections in May, and even for those who aren’t (including those yet to establish combined authorities) questions of governance, and the involvement of non-executive members (not to mention the public), are pressing.

This free event provides a vital opportunity at this critical time for overview and scrutiny members, and the officers who support them, to come together to talk about their response to the challenges that devolution presents on accountability and transparency. How will overview and scrutiny at the combined authority function? How will it manage its relationships with Mayors, where they exist? What can we learn from each other about the practical issues around setting up and running scrutiny arrangements at this level – in terms of resourcing, member engagement, work programming, public involvement and links to scrutiny at a more local level?

With contributions from national experts and Government to provide valuable context on this agenda, this event is aimed at those currently grappling with these practical issues – and those who expect to be doing so in the near future.

  • Hear from Government, and national experts, about the overall development of the devolution agenda, and reflect on how scrutiny fits in;
  • Discuss your plans, your concerns and your expectations with you peers from other areas;
  • Consider and develop practical solutions to some of the big challenges, and work with others to make the most of some of the big opportunities.


  • To enable areas planning, or reviewing, their combined scrutiny arrangements to network with their peers on the opportunities and risks arising;
  • To develop common solutions to particular challenges;
  • To put in place meaningful action plans for effective, member-led, outcome-driven scrutiny at sub-regional level.


10.00 –  Welcome and introductions

10.10 –  Your reflections – open forum: governance and scrutiny as it stands, the biggest challenges and opportunities. Officers and members will have the opportunity to address the room for 5-10 minutes each, highlighting their current approach and direction. Followed by general discussion.

12.15 –  The national picture: recent developments and plans (CfGS/LGA)

12.45 –  Lunch

13:30 –  Small table discussion: Devolution’s outcomes and scrutiny’s role in helping to deliver them. What is scrutiny, overall, here to do at combined authority level? Should scrutiny at this level look and feel different to how it operates at local level? How does scrutiny’s role connect to the overall “prize” of devolution, and how the combined authority and its partners might go about delivering this prize?

14:30 –  The national picture: Government’s view (DCLG)

14:45 –  Small table discussion: taking some the commonly-shared challenges and opportunities from the earlier session, alongside the discussions on scrutiny’s role, and reflecting on them in the context of three issues:

  • The need to build productive relationships between key partners at sub-regional level;
  • The resources available to councillors at this level – councillors’ time and availability, officer resource, and access to and use of information (including looking at prioritisation of workload);
  • Getting buy-in from the wider member corps, and engaging and involving the public;
  • Links between scrutiny at sub-regional and local level.

16:00 –  Action planning: working together to develop area-specific plans for refining and developing scrutiny, and making plans for further networking and sharing.

Spaces are limited, so in the first instance we are limiting delegates to 4 per area – more spaces may be released on demand. If you are not from one of the areas invited to participate but are keen to come, you will be placed on a waiting list in the event that we can release additional spaces the week prior to the event.

Agenda to follow shortly.






March 3, 2017
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


MacDonald Manchester Hotel
London Road
Manchester, M1 2PG United Kingdom


Centre for Governance and Scrutiny
020 3866 5100
View Organiser Website