Good governance and effective scrutiny are the foundation on which the work of local government rests. For the sector to be efficient, democratic, and able to do its job properly, the councillors who perform a scrutiny role must do it to the highest standard. As the Centre for Public Scrutiny’s executive director, Jessica Crowe, has stated, “poor governance can lead to an inability to work effectively with others, a lack of an agreed vision or strategy for the area, a lack of leadership or management capacity to deliver what’s agreed on and disagreements or dysfunctionality around decision-making”.
LGiU is proud to recognise and reward the work of effective scrutineers through the Scrutineer of the Year award 2014. The councillor who wins this category will demonstrate:
- the ability to hold to account and an understanding of where it is appropriate to do so
- that they are meticulous in preparation – this councillor knows their facts and when it is appropriate to bring them up
- actions on the scrutiny committee that have led to better outcomes for the community – for example, brought about a scrutiny review or policy change.
The Scrutineer of the Year Award 2013 was awarded to Cllr Edward Davie of Lambeth Council. Judges were particularly impressed by Cllr Davie’s central role in setting up Lambeth Council’s Street Detox Scrutiny Commission. The scheme uses innovative means to try and encourage healthier lifestyles in the community by, for example, reducing fast food and alcohol stores on the high street and also restricting exploitative payday loan outlets.
Cllr Davie has also taken strong measures to ensure that justice is served for members of his community. He uses his skills to highlight the importance of scrutiny and has made it more accessible and relevant to residents in his borough. When a series of criticisms were raised over the case of a mental health service user who died in police custody, Cllr Davie played a vital role in ensuring that key individuals were held to account. He invited the deceased’s family members and those who were criticised in the report to come together to ensure that lessons were learnt and that further tragedies could be avoided. Read more about past winners of this award here.
We’re looking for a winner of a similar calibre for the 2014 C’llr Achievement Awards. If you know a councillor who has used overview and scrutiny procedures to effectively serve their local community, then please show your appreciation of their important work by nominating them for the Scrutineer of the Year award 2014. The awards are open now! Find out how to nominate a councillor here.
The Centre for Public Scrutiny has covered the Scrutineer of the Year award 2014 here.