Six conditions for effective local government scrutiny

Effective scrutiny needs the right structure and the right processes but, perhaps most important of all, it needs the right conditions (sometimes called culture). I’ve looked into the research and summarised six conditions that you can find below. Perhaps you could use them as check list to help you think about where your council does …

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The 7 habits of highly effective scrutineers

As I write this, many new councillors are finding out about scrutiny for the first time. More experienced councillors are also thinking about the year ahead and reflecting on how they work. I thought it would be a good time, therefore, to write something about being an effective scrutineer. So, taking inspiration from Stephen R …

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Making lists can be magic for you and your team

Yes, it’s good to make lists. In our meetings we like to make action points and sometimes we like to record debates. But making lists can also be really helpful. I don’t necessarily mean to-do lists (although they can be helpful as well). I mean things-we-might-do lists, things-that-helped-before lists and things-we-do-well lists, for example. Lists like these work …

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Helpful books for constructive conversations

In my work there are a number of books I’ve found helpful and I thought it would be useful to share them. In general, these books are not aimed at public board and committee meetings but they all contain helpful ideas that you might be able to use or they might provide some inspiration or …

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Six meeting styles and how to spot them

When it comes to participating in public committee and board meetings we have a choice about which meeting style we want to use. Meeting styles colour our contributions and shape the questions we ask. Sometimes our meeting styles are conscious and sometimes they happen without thinking. Either way, it helps to notice which we are …

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Sweeping statements and how to avoid them

I’m currently reading The Art of Logic by Eugenia Cheng (and thoroughly enjoying by the way). In a chapter titled ‘How to be Right’ she deals with the topic of sweeping statements. She points to the fact that, while statements like ‘you never do the washing up‘, are not meant literally most of the time, …

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