Scrutiny Improve Thyself

If there is a scrutiny equivilent of ‘doctor heal thyself’ then it might be ‘scrutiny improve thyself’. 

OK, it might not be a saying that catches on, but the point is that councillors involved in scrutiny should be as intrested in their own performance as they are in anyone elses. 

To show that we are serious about this, we have recently produced a report from our Overview & Scrutiny Improvement Programme.  It is a piece of work that we are really pleased with – in essence the councillors involved with O&S spent some time reflecting on what they do and coming up with how it can be done better.

The Programme took Place between March and July 2009.  The aims were to:

  • Review and evaluate the operation of overview and scrutiny
  • Generate ideas for improving overview & scrutiny
  • Provide improvement opportunities for overview & scrutiny councillors

 Five sessions were held and these focused on:

  • The roles of overview and scrutiny and the barriers faced
  • Effectiveness of meetings
  • External scrutiny
  • Public engagement
  • The critical friend role


The programme concluded with a self assessment exercise and following this an action plan was put together. 

This is the full report:

View more documents from Dave Mckenna.

Over 50% of Swansea councillors took part in the programme which was supported and facilitated by the Overview and Scrutiny Unit and had additional input from:

A big thanks to everyone who gave up their time to come and talk to us.

The Improvement Programme was well received and well attended by councillors.  It used a good mix of internal and external facilitators and councillors were positive about the interactive aspects of each seminar. 

From the programme five improvement themes have been identified and these will form the basis improvement work going forward.  The themes are:

  • Develop New Methods of Public Engagement
  • Improve Relationships with Partners
  • Improve Communication
  • Improve the Critical Friend Challenge
  • Develop Cross-Border Scrutiny

An action plan has been agreed by Council, based on these themes, and, of course, the proof of the pudding will be in the implementation.

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