Do You Think We Are Making a Difference?

Measuring the effectiveness of scrutiny is no easy task but an important one nevertheless.  Councillors want to know that the scrutiny work that they have been doing has been done well and, more to the point, has made a difference.  In Swansea we have recently adopted a results based approach and used 19 different indicators to see how well scrutiny is doing.  These indicators form the main content for a (very short) annual report and certainly seem to be a better way of doing things.  But what do you think?


This is the second year that scrutiny is using a simple scorecard format for its annual report.  This approach is intended to highlight a small number of key indicators that illustrate four performance questions.  These questions, which are intended to reflect a ‘results based’ approach, are:

  • How much scrutiny did we do? (e.g. number of meetings, number of reports published)
  • How well did we do it? (e.g. awareness of scrutiny, involvement of councillors, councillor rating of scrutiny support service)
  • How much did scrutiny affect the business of the Council? (e.g. number of reports to Cabinet, action plans agreed, follow ups)
  • What were the outcomes of scrutiny? (e.g. recommendations accepted, actions completed, perceptions of councillors and officers that scrutiny had an impact)

For the last question, what were the outcomes of scrutiny, we measured the following:

1. Scrutiny recommendations accepted or partly accepted by Cabinet = 100%

2. Recommendations signed off by scrutiny as completed = 69%

3. Councillors who agree that scrutiny has a positive impact on the business of the Council = 79%

4. Staff who agree that scrutiny has a positive impact on the business of the Council = 65%

One obvious weakness of these indicators is that, while we know what councillors and staff think, we do not have a good way of finding out what the public think.   This is certainly something we want to improve in future!

If you would like to see the scorecard with all of the details of the numbers you can download the Annual Report in our Scrutiny Reports Library.

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