It’s been nine months now since the Scrutiny in the Spotlight Shared Learning Seminar took place in Cardiff, and a lot has happened since. From the Gwent Challenge Event, which featured Peter Watkin Jones (a highlight of the scrutiny seminar for many), to ScrutinyCamp, the unconference for scrutiny professionals and councillors.
We’ve even had a guide on financial scrutiny in challenging times from the Centre for Public Scrutiny, which has been supported by Grant Thornton. Raising the Stakes: Financial Scrutiny in Challenging Times gives advice about how scrutiny can improve the way that councils manage their finances and set their budgets.
The guide’s really useful because it examines what the future might look like for Welsh councils. It also looks at how to improve your organisation’s work, for instance how to improve participation by working to the National Principles for Public Engagement in Wales.
As we work to share good practice, we were immediately drawn to the many case studies. There are lots of examples of good work within the guide. Buckinghamshire County Council’s effective questioning of external witnesses and chairmen of the select committees makes for fascinating reading (you can even view the committee’s discussion of the Cabinet Response to Budget Scrutiny Recommendations), and it’s great to hear how Cardiff Council went about a training needs assessment, with the survey available as a handy appendix in the guide.
The guide is one of many useful resources that we’ve been adding to our Pinterest board since the Scrutiny in the Spotlight event. We’ll be adding to these as we come across further examples. Which scrutiny resources do you find useful? Please do get in touch if we’ve missed something, we’d love to share them further.