To the members of the Overview & Scrutiny Management Committee,

Following the OSMC meeting on the 17th October, I would like to raise a point about the OSMC getting evidence from the Centre for Public Scrutiny, that may have been missed.

The CfPS has 2 areas of knowledge/expertise:
1) Knowledge about the various committee structures in use across the UK and how they work.
2) Expertise as the national experts in facilitating councils in creating proposals for new committee systems (i.e. expertise in facilitating the exact task the OSMC has been set). They have been directly involved in over 20 local governance reviews.

In their second area of expertise, the CfPS does not actually make the decisions about what the proposed committee system will be, but it helps & guides the group making the decisions (i.e. the OSMC) in efficiently gathering the best quality and relevant input & data needed.

As outlined in the report presented on the 17th October, you plan to call the CfPS to give evidence in December, near the end of the process. At that evidence-collecting stage you will be asking the CfPS to tell you about their FIRST area of knowledge – the various options as to how committee systems can be structured.

To get the most benefit from the CfPS’s SECOND area of expertise – facilitating the creation of a proposal for a new committee system – it would be good to get input from the CfPS on this at the beginning of the process, rather than towards the end.

Even if you do not wish the CfPS to actually facilitate the process but run it in-house, it would be good to start by getting the CfPS to present their up-to-date recommendations on best-practise in how to go about the task the OSMC has been set. Learning from their unique expertise from the start would help to make your task/process as efficient and valuable as possible in the short time available, and may spark some innovative ideas for you to use.

Your sincerely,
Woll Newall (It’s Our City! Coordinating Group)
The webcast of It’s Our City’s questions and the discussions at the meeting can be seen here: