Ed leads CfPS’s work on devolution and has been influential in shaping national thinking on the scrutiny elements of the new Devolution Act. In 2015/16 he worked with five areas in England to support them in developing fit for purpose devolved scrutiny and governance arrangements. He recently authored the well-received think piece “Devo why, devo how?”.
Ed is responsible for the LGA-funded local government scrutiny support programme and has a wealth of experience of supporting individual councils seeking to ensure that their governance arrangements are both fit for purpose, and that they “add value” by making a positive, tangible contribution to local people’s lives. He also delivers national training for councillors and officers on subjects like performance management, questioning skills, the role of scrutiny and governance and major change and the use of evidence and data.
He led on CfPS’s “Accountability Works” campaign, which aimed to act on the need to meaningful accountability, transparency and involvement as the heart of good governance. More recently, he led work with nine councils to review their scrutiny support to major transformation and commissioning programmes, culminating in the 2015 publication “The change game”. He previously headed-up CfPS’ research programme covering issues including the establishment and operation of Police and Crime Panels and councils adopting the “committee system” form of governance – a subject on which he remains, in the absence of anyone else having been foolish enough to conduct research on it, a national expert.
Ed operates CfPS’s “helpdesk”, providing (hopefully) speedy and accurate response to councils’ questions on governance and scrutiny (this, too, is funded by the LGA). This has, in the past, involved him helping council officers navigate potentially tricky political issues (including call-ins), helping councillors to understand how they can make their scrutiny work more effective, and attempting to mediate in a disagreement between a council and an animal fat rendering plant.
Ed’s background is local government scrutiny and democratic services. He started his career clerking social security appeals tribunals for the DSS. He has both an undergraduate and Masters degree in Law from University College London.