Oversight and Scrutiny

Institute of Local Government Studies, School of Government and Society

College of Social Sciences


Code 20924

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 0

Module description

The module explores five key themes. First it considers Oversight and Scrutiny in a National and International Context. It examines the foundations (intellectual, historical and comparative), and the politics, of scrutiny and oversight; Relationships with the executive; party politics and the role of the party groups; multi-party and single party administrations; the non-partisan nature of scrutiny; the nuts and bolts of a scrutiny investigation ¿ scoping, oral questioning, chairing, and managing a scrutiny committee. Second it focuses on Research Methods for Scrutiny Investigations, examining the roles of surveys, benchmarking, focus groups, commissioning external research; evaluation techniques; and the weighing of evidence. Third, it considers the process of Holding to Account by focusing on the effectiveness of select committees and scrutiny committees, the Scrutiny of Performance and Budgets, Call-ins; and other questioning techniques. Fourth, it examines External Scrutiny, and its development in relation to health, scrutiny of Local Strategic Partnerships, Local Area Agreements, Regional Development Agencies, and other joint working. Finally, the module focuses on the Wider usage of Scrutiny Methods and Techniques, for example, considering case-studies of Police Authorities, Area Committees, the voluntary sector, boards of arms-length agencies and partnerships etc; report writing for scrutiny; negotiating skills