Scrutiny member induction in 2021

Councillors need early, confident advice on scrutiny – what good scrutiny looks like and how their authority works to achieve it. Partnering with CfGS on an induction programme achieves two aims here – it supports you to begin developing relationships with your new councillors at a time when capacity will be a challenge, and it ensures that the training new members receive reflects national good practice on scrutiny informed by local circumstances.

Our training and development focuses on engaging with councillors on the mindset that they bring to scrutiny. 

We can work with officers (and current members) to support the development of a comprehensive member induction programme between now and May. This may include CfGS providing support and advice on content with local officers and others delivering, or CfGS taking a lead on both design and delivery. CfGS consultants and staff come with a wealth of expertise and experience, particularly in engaging with new councillors. We have a developing expertise in managing both physical and remote sessions. We can design interactive sessions on topics such as:

  • The mindset and culture of effective scrutiny;
  • Councillors’ rights, and the law around scrutiny;
  • Making sense of information and understanding the council as an institution;
  • Skills around analysis of performance, finance and risk information – with a particular focus on good finance scrutiny;
  • For upper tier councils, an explanation of the particular needs of scrutiny on health, social care and children’s services issues;
  • Engaging with and learning from the public.

Training is always designed to tie in with local activity. Sessions will always draw on local examples of effective scrutiny work and explore contentious local issues – the aim being to ensure that development is framed by an understanding of scrutiny’s practical impact on local people.

Before, the election, we plan to run a candidate “taster session” on scrutiny. This will be held on 23 March at 10.30am. It will be free to attend. Registration will open shortly – please e-mail info@cfgs.org.uk to express your interest in the meantime.  

After the election, we can provide induction support in three main ways:

  • On the design of induction programmes themselves. Initial advice can be provided free; we will make a small charge for detailed design assistance;
  • On the delivery of induction sessions themselves. We can provide members with multiple sessions exploring the basics of effective scrutiny. These will be derived from our broader training offer. This might involve:
    • Single session: basic introduction to scrutiny, exploration of key concepts;

    • Two sessions: introduction, discussion of the approach to scrutiny in your authority, more detailed discussion of scrutiny’s role and the use of information along with the basics of health scrutiny where relevant;

    • Three sessions: more bespoke content, with the above supplemented by more detail on work programming and questioning skills, as well as linking the scrutiny role with other councillor roles;

    • Three or more sessions on entirely bespoke subjects. 

  • Through the integration of member development into substantive scrutiny work – which we describe in further detail here

For more information and to discuss costs, please contact Ian Parry at ian.parry@cfgs.org.uk. 

Publication

Revised guidance: Overview and Scrutiny in Combined Authorities

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