Essential training modules

We offer a range of courses to suit the needs of councillors and officers needing an introduction to the fundamental building blocks of overview and scrutiny. We also provide an introduction on the basics of overview and scrutiny to officers on the executive side. 

Click here to see our more advanced and more specialised training courses, and for an overview of our training and consultancy offer more generally. 

Speak to the CfPS team to find out more about any of these modules and courses. 

Designed for executive-side officers

T.01 Scrutiny Essentials

This module is ideal for new members of scrutiny or as a refresh for experienced councillors or officers who want to gain the essential knowledge and understanding of the role and value of scrutiny to their council.

T.02  Chairing Skills and Scrutiny Leadership

Chairing a scrutiny committee is much more than leading the meeting through its agenda. It requires a set of skills, knowledge and understanding to get scrutiny working effectively. This module is will help both new and experienced chairs and vice-chairs to learn the essential skills to support them in their crucial tasks. Can be provided as part of a wider package including coaching and mentoring support. Covers team-building, understanding the role and purpose of scrutiny, focusing on outcomes, time management and elements of questioning skills.

T.03  Financial Scrutiny

This module aims to help members understand that financial scrutiny is as much about the aims and priorities of the council and how it delivers on its corporate plan within figures and finance. This module will provide members with a useful scrutiny process and ideas on how to avoid getting stuck on too much detail. It provides an overview of the basics behind council finances and budgeting. Designed either as a standalone course or as an introduction to our more detailed consultancy offer on finance and budgets.

T.04 Scrutiny of Commercial Councils

As councils look for innovative ways to reduce costs and tackle deficits, new structures of commercial ventures and outsourcing partnership models are emerging. But this can lead to an intricate governance framework that makes scrutiny more complex. This model helps councils and members to get to grips with this new and challenging area of scrutiny.

T.05  Effective Questioning Skills

Good scrutiny depends on asking the right questions. But often this can be random and unfocused. This module will help members to improve and increase their impact. They will understand how to plan and prepare, un-pack the issues and select the right questioning techniques. It covers setting objectives, doing research and preparation, developing and deploying “lines” of questioning, the full range of questioning styles and techniques, converting answers into findings and recommendations

OT.01  The Council Officers’ Guide to Scrutiny

A course specifically for officers, through a series of workshops designed to help middle and senior managers to understand the dynamics of council scrutiny and crucially how to satisfy the competing demands of cabinet and scrutiny.

OT.02  Political Skills for Officers

An introduction to political systems and structures in a typical council. This will introduce not only the formal legal structures that underpin politically-led decision-making in the authority, but some of the less tangible factors relating to political and organisational culture, behaviours, attitudes and values. An understanding of these cultural factors is vital to being able to operate successfully in a political environment as an officer.




Scrutiny and COVID-19: practitioners’ voices