News release: New guidance will help council’s CEOs address scrutiny’s ‘Cinderella’ perception

Posted on 04/02/2020 by Jenny Manchester.

News release


New guidance will help council CEOs address perception of scrutiny’s ‘Cinderella’ status

New guidance, published today, from the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny (CfGS) will help council leaders and senior managers address scrutiny’s ‘Cinderella status’ and ensure that their council’s scrutiny function is effective in holding local decision-makers to account.

Taking Scrutiny Seriously outlines a series of tools to help council chief executives and senior statutory officers improve the profile and impact of their scrutiny function. The guidance has been drawn up by CfGS, the national centre of expertise on governance and scrutiny, in response to a recent survey of local government scrutineers.  The results revealed that only 31% of scrutiny officers believed that scrutiny holds the same level of respect (or ‘parity of esteem’) as held by the executive, decision-making function in a council. 

Jacqui McKinlay, Chief Executive of CfGS said

“Effective council scrutiny which restores the public’s trust in local democracy is everyone’s responsibility – scrutiny officers and councillors need the backing of their whole council to be the critical friend that residents.  This guide will help council leaders understand the way that the power imbalance between scrutiny and the executive impacts on its effectiveness, as well as identify the range of tools they have available which will make things better. “

 Taking Scrutiny Seriously is available via the CfGS website at  It will also be emailed to all chief executives of all councils in England and Wales. 


Media enquiries:

Jenny Manchester, CfGS Events and Project Support Manager 07913779049

Notes to editors

  • There were 437 total survey responses to the CfGS annual survey which was open September-November 2019, with 242 different councils represented. Full results will be released later in February.