Modernising Scrutiny

Friday 14th of August 2020

What were we approached to do?

Our client approached us to work with them to review their current scrutiny methods earlier this year, they wanted to know if they could be more efficient and achieve more meaningful outcomes. They really wanted to challenge the way they’ve always done things, but with the customer demographic being over 60, the use of IT routinely presents challenges to many.

Feedback from the Panel and the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic further brought this to the fore when it became apparent that face to face (or voice to voice) contact is still very important to them, and for many, the only way they can communicate and at the same time, they wanted to embrace new ways of communicating digitally so their residents could be communicated with in the way they wanted to be.

What did we do?

We conducted a review of the current scrutiny methods summarised as:

  • What was working well – the group had completed 6 successful topics with all recommendations accepted by the Board
  • Challenges - such as being able to show value for money, recruiting and retaining volunteers, staff time to support the group, channel shift with availability of wide range of digital tools and the increased call to evidence impacts and outcomes from all forms of engagement.
  • Review of the approaches taken by other organisations - including information from the Tpas National Tenant Engagement Survey
  • Scrutiny of the current approach – the group looked how they were working and ways they could continue to improve
  • A summary of the Task and Finish approach, which felt like it could be a good option for the future. Pros being; keeping it simple, ensuring every project was time-limited with a defined start and end, existing members being complimented by new members with interest and recent experience in the topic, focused activity with specific outcomes, alternative methods of feedback to engage the wider resident population, and recording contributions.

What were the successful outputs and outcomes?

As a result of the review and the need to establish a new way of working, the group agreed the Task and Finish approach was the way to go; ensuring that scrutiny would become embedded across the organisation, enabling ownership by staff throughout the organisation and allowing for the completion of a range of scrutiny topics with engagement from a wide demographic of customers.

They were keen to build scrutiny into the organisational culture and in addition, have residents involved who have a genuine interest, and perhaps expertise, in the subject matter. They are currently trialing the ‘task and finish’ model, where managers across the organisation will be expected to lead on scrutiny activities within their service areas. 

To support this, a toolkit has been developed to inform and support managers when undertaking a review of a service or performance issue, they will themselves be responsible to working to this.