Free scrutiny webinars focussing on key areas of the COVID-19 crisis

Posted on 03/06/2020 by Kate Grigg.

Free scrutiny webinars focussing on key areas of the COVID-19 crisis

As scrutiny committees are now operating through virtual means, we need to think about how to focus agendas to reflect both the impact and response of the COVID-19 crisis on communities and on the sustainability of the council itself to ensure that it is able to continue to respond and that its services remain viable.

Top of scrutiny agenda priorities will inevitably be the areas most affected; health and social care and the COVID-19 related consequences for communities.

Up there too is finance, as councils start to count the cost of their critical response strategy, scrutiny will need to play a key role in ensuring that finances have continued to be tightly managed even in a time when councils are responding to a crisis.

CfGS is offering two additional free-to-access webinars designed to help scrutiny committee members tackle these hugely important but also potentially complex areas.

As well as a learning opportunity, these webinars will also give scrutiny members a chance to exchange ideas, experiences and concerns with other scrutiny practitioners up and down the country.

17th June – Scrutiny of Council finance: counting the cost of the COVID-19 crisis

This will not be a finance course but designed to examine the issues that will impact on the council’s budget and medium-term financial strategy. It will help scrutiny committees focus on the areas of impact surrounding both additional costs during the response phase, ongoing needs and their funding requirement during recovery, as well as the longer-term impact on the council’s financial sustainability.

The session will help scrutiny to prioritise and focus on key areas of both expenditure, income loss, investment strategy and potential future sources of revenue or government assistance.  Some councils are already raising the alarm for their future viability, so how can scrutiny play a constructive role in providing transparent oversight over the planning and managing of council resources?  

This webinar will help scrutiny cut through complexity and focus on the essentials. It will link with our COVID-19 support to councils Guide 5: Council finances and scrutiny.

22nd June – Scrutiny of Health and Social Care during the COVID-19 crisis

This is designed to help scrutiny committees and members to analyse the role and value that scrutiny has in ensuring purposeful oversight of a council’s social care, safeguarding, children’s services, mental and public health and a wide range of connected services or support delivered through its health partners. This role will be intensified as scrutiny focuses further on the response and effectiveness in responding to the crisis and in meeting its obligations of care and safeguarding of vulnerable people.

The session will focus on prioritising agenda’s, inviting the right people to scrutiny meetings, creating the right focus and an objective atmosphere that ensures clear accountability and transparent reassurance. Setting the right balance between providing robust scrutiny alongside a critical-friend approach and setting clear objectives will be an important part of ensuring that this crucial area of crisis response receives appropriate democratic oversight.

This webinar will link with our COVID-19 support to councils Guide 4: Scrutiny and supporting the vulnerable.

Further information and times for both webinars is available on the CfGS events page.

About the Author: Kate Grigg

Kate works across the CfGS research programme supporting projects in local government and the corporate sector, and facilitating the combined authorities goverance network.