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An overview of scrutiny: A triumph of context over structure

Ashworth, Rachel Elizabeth ORCID: and Snape, S. 2004. An overview of scrutiny: A triumph of context over structure. Local Government Studies 30 (4) , pp. 538-556. 10.1080/0300393042000318987

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Overview and scrutiny committees were intended to provide a counterbalance to executive decision-making. This paper presents an 'audit' of local government scrutiny based upon research conducted over the last five years. Three key findings emerge from the review of evidence to date: the research findings are remarkably consistent over time and between authors; all research concludes that, in general, overview and scrutiny is still struggling; although a mixed picture emerges when examining progress on individual roles for scrutiny. Indeed, research indicates that scrutiny is - in some authorities - making a valuable contribution in terms of policy review but is still failing to hold the executive to account effectively. The relationship between scrutiny and performance management remains underdeveloped, whilst external scrutiny constitutes a marginal activity for most authorities. The paper concludes that such findings reflect the importance of local political and organisational factors which dictate the boundaries and shape of overview and scrutiny: representing a triumph of local context over government-prescribed structural and constitutional change.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0300-3930
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2023 12:58

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