Citizen Smith? Councillors as Citizen and Community Champions


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by Jessica Crowe, Executive Director, Centre for Public Scrutiny

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Citizen Smith? Councillors as Citizen and Community Champions

  1. 1. Citizen Smith? Councillors as Citizen and Community Champions Rewiring West Midlands Conference 6 December 2013 Jessica Crowe Centre for Public Scrutiny
  2. 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. 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. 4. accountability, transparency, involvement CfPS: Accountability Works! 2010
  5. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 11. what do councillors add?
  12. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 18. Boston video
  19. 19. stay in touch e: t: 020 7187 7362 w: twitter: @cfpscrutiny blog: We can help! • member training & development • reviewing & improving scrutiny • sign up for guides, updates & policy briefings