Chairing Scrutiny: A Training Workshop for Scrutiny Chairs

Edgbaston campus, University of Birmingham
Social Sciences, Teaching
Friday 11th July 2014 (09:30-16:15)

Sue Platt
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5002

Add to Calendar

Chairing Scrutiny is different from chairing traditional service committees - putting even experienced service chairs at a disadvantage.  The seminar will explore the skills required to support good scrutiny and the special demands it makes on those who take the chair.

In the past this workshop has opened the eyes of many scrutiny chairs to the potential of scrutiny and to what chairing involves.  Vice-Chairs and Officers who support scrutiny are also welcome.

The workshop will explore the skills and techniques needed to chair overview and scrutiny committees or short-life working groups.

The seminar will consider:

  • how to prepare for scrutiny committees or short-life task and finish groups 
  • the relationships between scrutiny chairs and scrutiny officers
  • how to choose a small number of topics for scrutiny investigations
  • how to plan and develop questions
  • how to get what you want from those who come to answer questions 
  • innovative ways of collecting evidence 
  • how to make recommendations effective
  • the nature of scrutiny leadership
  • the party political dimension


  • To explore the skills of chairing scrutiny
  • To look at how style and approach is influenced by the chairman
  • To link chairing styles to scrutiny topics
  • To practice chairing skills


09.30 Coffee and registration
10.15 Welcome and introductions
10.30 The requirements for successful scrutiny
Andrew Coulson, INLOGOV, University of Birmingham
11.00 The role of the chair in the success of scrutiny
Andrew Coulson
11.30 Group exercises: Exploring effective chairing (with feedback session)
12.00 Coffee
12.15 Planning an investigation focusing on the chair’s role before, during and after scrutiny
Andrew Coulson
13.00 Lunch
13.45 Experiences of Chairing Scrutiny
Speaker to be confirmed
14.00 Discussion
14.30 The chair’s role in supporting lines of questioning and getting the information you want (including group exercise)
Andrew Coulson
15.30 Tea
15.45 Developing chairing competence and personal chairing skills and areas for development
Andrew Coulson
16.15 Seminar concludes

Fees and Booking Information

£195 (£95 for a second participant from the same authority).  Fee includes refreshments, lunch and resource pack.

To book a place on this seminar please visit the University's Online Shop If you are unable to book via the Online Shop please contact Sue Platt on 0121 414 5002 or email