Overview and Scrutiny Committees

The role that overview and scrutiny can play in holding an authority's decision-makers to account makes it fundamentally important to the successful functioning of local democracy.

Effective scrutiny helps secure the efficient delivery of public services and drives improvements within the authority itself. Conversely, poor scrutiny can be indicative of wider governance, leadership and service failure.

Statutory guidance: Overview and scrutiny: statutory guidance for councils and combined authorities 2019

Our experience

Since 2017, we have been providing support to councils directly or via commissions from the Local Government Association, helping to enhance the impact that Overview and Scrutiny makes.  Our Founder and CEO Su Turner is an experienced overview and scrutiny practitioner, working with or supporting overview and scrutiny since its introduction in the Local Government Act 2000. Her national work on health scrutiny has received praise from two Secretaries of State for Heath, who have described her development of a return on investment model of scrutiny as a 'powerful public health tool'.

More recently, our expertise has been called on to lead the development of a comprehensive programme of support for Children's overview and scrutiny committees for the Local Government Association, which is part of a funded contract from the Department for Education.

How do we help?

Through our practical support and complimentary training programmes, we have helped many councils to get the best from their overview and scrutiny committees, turning them into a proactive tool for improvement. Our support focuses on key areas of knowledge and practice, which can be delivered individually, or as a programme of support:
  • What good scrutiny looks like: a facilitated benchmarking activity to learn, share and improve.
  • Getting the basics right: improve the knowledge and understanding  of all councillors and officers on the important role that scrutiny has, and using this to improve challenge, support and influence.
  • Practical work programming and planning: getting to know the tools and techniques for effective overview and scrutiny practice.
  • Culture and influence: building a positive culture that understands the valuable role of scrutiny and how by building the right relationships scrutiny can thrive.

These are just a few of the publications that our CEO has authored on the valuable role of scrutiny over the years

Organisations we have worked with

We are a leading governance and scrutiny improvement organisation and have worked with many councils and the Local Government Association to help councillors to understand their responsibilities for overview and scrutiny; and how they can turn it into their own powerful improvement tool.

"Su was instrumental in getting our ILACS (Inspection of Local Authority Services) to good"

Swindon Council

Su’s approach is participative and guides Elected Members through what good corporate parenting looks like so that they can benchmark their approach. Elected Members are key to good corporate parenting and they leave the training programme understanding their role as a Corporate Parent and practical ways in which they can carry out the role effectively."

Dr Lee-Anne Farach, Medway Council
"Thank you for speaking at our Leadership Essentials Conference, feedback for your session was positive and sparked discussion in terms of actions that Councillors are taking back to their Councils"

Local Government Association