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Citizen Smith? Councillors as Citizen and Community Champions

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by Jessica Crowe, Executive Director, Centre for Public Scrutiny …

by Jessica Crowe, Executive Director, Centre for Public Scrutiny

Published in: Business, News & Politics

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  • 1. Citizen Smith? Councillors as Citizen and Community Champions Rewiring West Midlands Conference 6 December 2013 Jessica Crowe Centre for Public Scrutiny
  • 2. contents • A bit about CfPS • Challenges – austerity, Francis, leadership of place • What‟s in a name: Commissioning or Co-operative? • Councillors and citizens • Rethinking scrutiny • some case studies • Stay in touch: we can help!
  • 3. A bit about CfPS Founded in 2003 to: • Advocate and promote the concept of scrutiny • Provide practical guidance and development • Facilitate national networks • Create a national centre of expertise Now an independent charity, we provide: • On-line services (on-line library, scrutiny exchange, newsletters, blog, twitter) • Training, facilitation, evaluation, improvement support • Publications and events
  • 4. accountability, transparency, involvement CfPS: Accountability Works! 2010
  • 5. the challenge: “be original or die!” Pace of change: - austerity - changing relationships between citizen, serviceuser & state - greater diversity of service provision - issues of trust & leadership
  • 6. challenge of austerity Annual Survey 2012-13: - officer support at lowest level since 2004 - discretionary budgets down too - more support shared with dem services - implications for effectiveness and value
  • 7. what does survey suggest as way to respond to austerity? - Councils with fewer committees more effective – less bureaucratic / more focused on outcomes - Monitoring recommendations leads councils to feel scrutiny is more impactful and valued - Dedicated specialist scrutiny support does lead to more effective, valued scrutiny - Focus on external / partner scrutiny correlates with councils feeling more optimistic - Less is more: encourage prioritisation
  • 8. challenge of Francis & Keogh - HOSCs need “appropriate support” & “accessible guidance” - improve coordination between HOSCs, Healthwatch & HWBs - complaints monitoring & hearing patient experience Government response only promises guidance… Rest is up to you!
  • 9. co-operative or commissioning? what‟s in a name • Whatever you call it, many councils changing how they plan and deliver services • Challenges for cllrs are: • Be clear about outcomes you want to see • Set up governance to ensure continued democratic oversight • How will citizens‟ / service-users be heard?
  • 10. accountability of local govt: who will stand up for citizens? accountability upwards to gov‟t & regulators: a mixed picture local papers in terminal decline will transparency of spending data lead to “citizen auditors”? citizen journalists and hyper-local bloggers: the new Citizen Smiths? whistle-blowers and complaints: personal sacrifice demanded => Councillors remain crucial for citizens
  • 11. what do councillors add?
  • 12. councillors holding the ring in „web of accountability‟ • Have legitimacy – but have to earn credibility? • Networked councillor – not just about technology • Potential to have more influence but less control • Are your councils set up to support you in this role? • Have you rethought your role in new context?
  • 13. rethinking and innovating scrutiny: demonstrating Return on Investment The model is based on five stages of a “scrutiny journey”, utilising a variety of tools: 1. Identifying and short listing topics 2. Prioritisation 3. Stakeholder engagement and scoping 4. Undertaking the review, measuring impact and calculating the ROI 5. Making recommendations using ROI and influencing services
  • 14. ROI approach helped six areas save around £1.7m – replicable Potential savings and return on investment Return on investment £455,000 total £90 for every £1 spent on the review £1,196,866 annually £329 for every £1 spent on the review Southwark £20,930 total £11.52 for every £1 spent on the review South Somerset £5,440 total £3.40 for every £1 spent on the review £415 per person £0.37 for every £1 spent on the review (based on 1 person) £17,389 per person £5 for every £1 spent on the review (based on 1 person) Area Newham Westminster Adur and Worthing Warrington
  • 15. case study 1: how S Somerset used scrutiny ROI to tackle inequality & save money South Somerset: - facilitate networks - focus on patient experience & access - link bigger picture to local experience - provide neutral space - champion marginalised
  • 16. case study 2: schools improvement and role of councillors Back to School: - exemplifies „power thro influence‟ argument - collaboration between LGA, CfPS & 8 LAs - scrutiny can help councils deliver responsibilities for schools improvement - ward councillors, school governors, O&S: all have role
  • 17. case study 3: Boston and community focused scrutiny I have read lots of council reports and this was a revelation to me. It is the first council report I have ever read which actually, in plain English, defuses and throws a light on a situation which many people who don‟t know Boston and look at it from the outside think is potentially explosive. I found the report not only well presented and well written but eminently sensible. You did in one what it would take central Government a long time to do. Local Police Commissioner
  • 18. Boston video
  • 19. stay in touch e: jessica.crowe@cfps.org.uk t: 020 7187 7362 w: www.cfps.org.uk twitter: @cfpscrutiny blog: www.cfps.org.uk/blog We can help! • member training & development • reviewing & improving scrutiny • sign up for guides, updates & policy briefings