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Scrutiny as a Critical Friend
Dave Mckenna
Overview & Scrutiny Manager
What exactly is a ‘Critical Friend’?
A critical friend can be defined as a trusted
person who asks provocative questions, provides data to
be examined through ...
a listening ear
tuning in
the different perspective that
outsiders can provide
a fresh pair of eyes
an understanding of th...
A critical friend is somewhere between a hostile
opponent and an unquestioning follower
About here
‘Critical friend’ is a term now commonly used in
scrutiny
In summary, a critical friend is someone who:
• Shares the same ultimate aim
• Asks constructive questions
• Brings new in...
Why is this important?
The critical friend role is a widely recognised way to
drive improvement
Scrutiny is the best place for the critical friend role to
happen
• Scrutiny is the best place to provide constructive
cha...
So getting it right really matters
How can scrutiny be an effective critical friend?
1. Be clear about what the shared aim is
The shared aim
2. Develop questioning strategies and skills
3. Bring something new to the debate
Public
views
Service user
perspectives
New
evidence
External
experts
Different perfor...
4. Make sure you fully understand the issues
5. Check to make sure you are making a difference
• Does scrutiny provide an effective challenge to the
Executive?
• How d...
Finally, remember that ‘critical’ means both
‘challenging’ and ‘essential’
Both meanings should be relevant for scrutiny
Scrutiny as a Critical Friend
Dave Mckenna
Overview & Scrutiny Manager
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Scrutiny and the Critical Friend Role

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Scrutiny and the Critical Friend Role

  1. 1. Scrutiny as a Critical Friend Dave Mckenna Overview & Scrutiny Manager
  2. 2. What exactly is a ‘Critical Friend’?
  3. 3. A critical friend can be defined as a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critiques of a person’s work as a friend. A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward. The friend is an advocate for the success of that work Costa, A. and Kallick, B.(1993) "Through the Lens of a Critical Friend". Educational Leadership 51(2) The term was really first used in education
  4. 4. a listening ear tuning in the different perspective that outsiders can provide a fresh pair of eyes an understanding of the situation Swaffield (2002) Contextualising the Work of the Critical Friend Conference Paper University of Cambridge Faculty of Education There have been lots of ideas about how it can be explained the point of balance between support and challenge about the task not the peoplegiving feedback shining a light reality check
  5. 5. A critical friend is somewhere between a hostile opponent and an unquestioning follower About here
  6. 6. ‘Critical friend’ is a term now commonly used in scrutiny
  7. 7. In summary, a critical friend is someone who: • Shares the same ultimate aim • Asks constructive questions • Brings new information / a different perspective • Takes time to develop a proper understanding • Builds a relationship of trust and respect
  8. 8. Why is this important?
  9. 9. The critical friend role is a widely recognised way to drive improvement
  10. 10. Scrutiny is the best place for the critical friend role to happen • Scrutiny is the best place to provide constructive challenge to cabinet members • Scrutiny is the best place for backbenchers to influence service improvement • Scrutiny provides a way to achieve consensus about sensitive issues • Party politics can take place elsewhere
  11. 11. So getting it right really matters
  12. 12. How can scrutiny be an effective critical friend?
  13. 13. 1. Be clear about what the shared aim is The shared aim
  14. 14. 2. Develop questioning strategies and skills
  15. 15. 3. Bring something new to the debate Public views Service user perspectives New evidence External experts Different performance questions National research Staff ideas Councillor experiences
  16. 16. 4. Make sure you fully understand the issues
  17. 17. 5. Check to make sure you are making a difference • Does scrutiny provide an effective challenge to the Executive? • How does scrutiny have an impact on the work of the executive? • How does scrutiny routinely challenge the authority’s corporate strategy and budget? • Are external partners involved in O&S and how are they included? • Does scrutiny work effectively with the executive and senior management? Centre for Public Scrutiny (www.cfps.org.uk)
  18. 18. Finally, remember that ‘critical’ means both ‘challenging’ and ‘essential’ Both meanings should be relevant for scrutiny
  19. 19. Scrutiny as a Critical Friend Dave Mckenna Overview & Scrutiny Manager

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