Certificate in Scrutiny Methods and Investigations (3 day course)

Social Sciences, Teaching
Wednesday 19th (00:00) - Friday 21st November 2014 (00:00)

To book and reserve places on this module please contact:
Sarah Smith Tel: 0121 414 8390,
Email s.e.smith.2@bham.ac.uk.

PDF flyer: Certificate in Scrutiny Methods and Investigations (PDF 309KB)

Online booking form - 19 - 21 November 2014 

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19 - 21 November 2014

This three day programme is for people involved in the public scrutiny process who want to develop their research and investigation skills. It is primarily designed for people involved, or interested, in scrutiny in local government, but the applied research techniques are relevant for policy analysis and for people working in scrutiny across the public services.

The course covers:

  • Evidence and the role of the researcher;
  • Numbers and Surveys; and
  • Evaluation – looking back

This course provides

  • An overview of key research methods and tools that can improve overview and scrutiny practice.
  • Guidance on interpretation of data and presentation of results.
  • Skills for developing scrutiny investigations as practical research or evaluation.
  • The option to gain a qualification, endorsed by a leading university, that recognises their scrutiny knowledge, skills, and experience.

Key topics include:

  • Theories of research and evaluation – and what they mean for practical scrutiny work
  • Collecting information and data
  •  Using social media for research and communication
  • Using your laptop / PC more effectively as a research tool
  • Analysing data, interpreting results, and communicating a clear message
  • The politics and processes of evaluation

How will it be taught?

Each part of the course will include a balanced programme of lectures and presentations, case studies and group work, and individual problem-solving exercises. There is an optional assessment. This is by a 3,000 word essay on a topic agreed with the course convenors. If the essay passes at post¬graduate level then it is awarded 10 University of Birmingham 10 credit points that can be used towards a post-graduate degree, diploma or certificate.

Teaching methods include formal presentations, use of video, individual and group tasks, case studies and problemsolving workshops.

Those who would like 20 credits may also take the 10-unit module in Overview and Scrutiny, which will run on 06 - 08 October 2014.

For more information, please feel free to discuss how this course might help you with Sarah Smith T: 0121 414 8390 E: s.e.smith.2@bham.ac.uk or Philip Whiteman p.whiteman@bham.ac.uk.

Key topics include:

  • An critical appreciation of the theory that underlies scrutiny when undertaken as a process of research
  • The contribution of scrutiny to processes of holding to account
  • Cost effective means of collecting information and data
  • The politics and processes of evaluation
  • Scrutiny of performance and budgets
  • The scrutiny of external agencies and partnerships

Course convenors

Philip Whiteman and Michael Hughes

Fees and booking

£500 plus £150 for post-graduate accreditation (which is optional but for many a key reason for coming on the programme). This course is exempt from VAT.

Online booking form - 19 - 21 November 2014

The programme will run in Muirhead Tower ten minutes drive from the centre of Birmingham or 15 minutes walk from University railway station.


The programme will run on the University of Birmingham campus in Edgbaston. The course is non-residential, but three star hotel accommodation on the Conference Park can be booked separately by those who wish to stay close by.

More information?

To book and reserve places please contact:

Sarah Smith
T: 0121 414 8390
E: s.e.smith.2@bham.ac.uk