Policy Briefing 5 - making scrutiny as effective as possible through adequate resourcing
Short policy briefing on the importance of adequate resourcing to maintaining an effective scrutiny function, focusing on the role played by dedicated scrutiny officers.
Following CSR, and with councils considering savings that they can make between now and 2014/15 to meet local and national savings requirements, all council services will be under pressure to save money.
A number of authorities may consider that cutting resources to scrutiny (in terms of discretionary funding, or officer support) is an easy saving to make. We have written this briefing to demonstrate that scrutiny has an increasingly important role in this new policy and finance environment, and that dedicated scrutiny officers - where they already exist - should be retained as a way to help local authorities and their partners to deliver value for money services at the moment.
We recognise, of course, that in some areas, a dedicated resource does not exist, and it is not realistic to suggest at the moment that councils should be looking to expand their officer corps to support scrutiny. But evidence gathered through the CfPS Annual Survey of O&S has repeatedly shown that authorities with a dedicated scrutiny resource are, on the whole, more effective than those that do not possess such a resource.
(revised version published 28/10/10)