Risk and commercialisation: a guide for scrutiny councillors

Posted on February 3, 2019 by Ed Hammond. Tags:

Reading Time: 1 minute

This report by APSE (the Association for Public Service Excellence) and the Centre for Public Scrutiny discusses the ways in which scrutiny can engage with issues arising from commercial activity. The report explores the current landscape around commercialisation, and provides a toolkit and guide for councils to help build their own bespoke, locally-relevant governance and scrutiny systems for commercial activity. 

The report finds that scrutiny is best when it focuses on culture and the outcomes for local people. Scrutiny has to be underpinned by an understanding of the cultural transformation necessary in councils seeking to adopt more commercial approaches to their work. By developing a sensible approach to risk and ensuring elected members are engaged in the process of commercialisation, better outcomes will be assured for local residents.

The guide suggests that effective use of scrutiny provides five principal elements which support commercialisation activity: helping to drive forward cultural transformation (further work on the cultural dynamics of change); helping to make judgments about the rationale underpinning commercial activity; a focus on risks; Oversight of governance itself – executive side management systems and the relationships between partners; oversight of performance monitoring (rather than performance monitoring itself, which will largely be managed by traditional means, and within contract).

The full report is available to download for free. To purchase hard copies please contact Mo Baines at APSE on 0161 772 1810 or email  mbaines@apse.org.uk.

About the Author: Ed Hammond

Ed leads CfPS's work on devolution, transformation and on support to councils and other public bodies on governance and accountability.