What does a good scrutiny work plan look like?

What makes for a wonderful scrutiny work plan?

It’s that time of year when scrutiny committees are forming their work plans. While everyone has their own way of doing this I thought it would be helpful to share what I think are the seven characteristics of the most effective ones.

Seven characteristics of a good scrutiny work plan 

  1. Purpose – scrutiny is about making a difference so purpose should run through the work plan like the lettering through a stick of rock.
  2. Simplicity – a work plan is a tool after all and as such it should be easy to use and easy for anyone to see at a glance what’s happening.
  3. Balance – scrutiny is like a Swiss Army Knife and so the work plan should reflect the different ways that scrutiny can make a difference. 
  4. Conversations – the wider the input the better the plan so the public, the cabinet, audit, inspectors, partners and officers should all see their views reflected.
  5. Deliberation – it’s important that scrutiny councillors own and understand their work so the plan should reflect quality debate and discussion. 
  6. Independence – scrutiny should be councillor led and this should be reflected in the work plan – a good plan will look different to the council’s forward plan for example.
  7. Adaptability – plans can fall through and so often they do – so a good plan has room for flexibility and is regularly revisited and updated.

This is my list and I hope it’s helpful – all suggestions welcome of course!


By the way – if work planning is something you think I might be able to help you with please drop me a line via my contact page

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