Democracy, governance and the truth

Democracy, governance and the truth

Understanding the past - improving the future

The largest scrutiny and governance event of the year


Lord Bob Kerslake 


Thank you!

A big thank you to all our delegates, speakers and workshop facilliattors for making the conference such a great success.

Please find below downloads to the powerpoints used during the plenary sessions and workshops.

Hope to see you for our local government scrutiny conference next year on Wednesday 6th December 2017 back at the Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury.


Devolution, governance and the truth plenary slides

21st Century councillor workshop slides

Complex partnerships workshop slides

Devolution governance workshop slides

Modern scrutiny skills workshop slides

Public engagement workshop slides


Local government and other public services are undergoing a period of unprecedented change. There are no longer easy solutions or transferable blueprints to deliver the savings needed or adapt how we work. Much of this transformation is also being deemed too complex for the public to understand or be part of.

This is coinciding with a critical time when the public, more than ever, needs clear evidence that its elected representatives and public sector leaders are capable of seeking out the truth, representing their views and concerns and be accountable for actions. It is also a time for scrutiny to support better outcomes in the face of diminishing council resources, effectively managing risk and develop new models of working, innovating and engaging bringing the public and council's closer together. 

This timely conference will take a unique look at: the most recent devolution deals; analyse how councils are scrutinising in a new commissioning environment; review what the public see as being the highest profile failures in public leadership – Rotherham CSE, Mid-Staffordshire and Hillsborough; look at what it means to be a 21st Century councillor and officer.  

Expert speakers, representing national, local government, the private sector and the best think-tanks, will give due consideration to what has gone before and what’s ahead of us. An event that councillors and officers with responsibility for scrutiny, decision-making, policy, transformation and governance cannot afford to miss.  


Invited keynote speakers:                                     

Rt Hon Sajid Javid              Rt Hon Andy Burnham         Meg Hillier MP                 

Lord Kerslake                     Katie Ghose                          Cllr Nick Forbes

Kate Kennally                     Catherine Mangan                Dr Catherine Howe 


Conference highlights include:

  • Expert speakers including Ministers, academics, senior representatives from local government, select committee, and officer representative bodies
  • First-hand accounts from elected representatives involved in Hillsborough, Rotherham and Staffordshire
  • Insight and expertise, examining how excellent scrutiny practice can improve outcomes and manage risk
  • Examining the role of elected representatives as champions of the truth
  • Practical experience shared from areas undergoing devolution
  • Political insight in to how local authorities undergoing transformation should be held to account
  • Five workshop streams with expert facilitation, honing key scrutiny skills and knowledge
  • Opportunities to think through and action plan governance frameworks for your area
  • Fringe events
  • Exhibition and networking



  • £169 + VAT - voluntary sector delegate rate
  • £199 + VAT - government delegate rate
  • £229 + VAT - private sector delegate rate

We are also operating a buy 3 get 1 free offer where organisations can book a fourth delegate free of charge to the conference if they book three full price delegates.  This offer can't be used in conjunction with any other discounts.

Democracy, governance and the truth

 The following is a draft programme and subject to change at any time.



10:00-11:00    Leadership, governance and the future. 

Bob Kerslake, Chair - Speakers Rt Hon Sajid Javid (TBC), Meg Hillier, Chair, Public Accounts Committee and Cllr Nick Forbes, Vice-Chair LGA


11:00-11:20    Break


11:20-12:20    Democracy and truth

Speakers include: Rt Hon Andy Burnham, Shadow Home Secretary and Manchester Mayoral candidate, Cllr Philip Jones, Chair, Corporate Review Committee, Staffordshire County Council, Sir Derek Myers, Commissioner, Rotherham (TBC).


 12:20-13:20    Shaping accountability in a complex landscape

 Kate Kennally, Chief Executive, Cornwal Council, Katie Ghose, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society


13:20-14:00    Lunch


14:00-14:55    Lessons from the past - getting fit for the future

Dr Catherine Howe, Solutions Director, Capita, Catherine Mangan, Director, Public Services Academy, INLOGOV, University of Birmingham, Suky Binjal, Deputy Vice-Chair, Lawyers in Local Government


15:00-16:30    Workshops:            

  • Modern scrutiny techniques
  • 21st Century Public Servant
  • Scrutinising complex partnerships
  • Devolution and good governance
  • Purposeful public engagement


16:30-17:00    Closing remarks - Jacqui McKinlay, Chief Executive, CfPS




More details about the conference speakers will follow soon.

Workshops – 15:00 – 16:30

A series of afternoon workshops led by experts in their field which will provide an interactive opportunity for officers and councillors to share their experiences and gain new skills and insights.


Modern scrutiny skills

Chair: John Cade, INLOGOV

This two-part workshop provides delegates with insights about the latest developments in scrutiny practice as well as an opportunity to discuss, as a group, the particular issues and challenges that your area faces.

Experts will explain how scrutiny can do more with the limited resources it has, how to demonstrate the impact of the work it does and how scrutiny officers and members can use techniques that will most effectively achieve change in the midst of local authority transformation. Delegates will also be invited to share their experiences of innovative practice and to work in small groups and as a whole on tackling particular difficulties that you face. Be prepared to contribute, to participate and to be challenged about the role that scrutiny will play in local authorities in the future.

Outcomes: broaden delegates understanding of scrutiny; provide delegates with ideas and skills to approach their work differently; challenging delegates to explore new ways of working.


21st Century Councillor

Chair: Prof. Colin Copus

Are the skills required to be a councillor changing?  Professor Colin Copus who has been leading a Councillor Commission exploring the roles, powers, responsibilities, tasks, functions and experiences of the councillor due to report in late 2016 will be discussing and looking to hear your views on the skills, knowledge and values needed to underpin local democracy if it is going to thrive in the 21st Century.

Outcomes: councillors will gain a good understanding of how they need to develop to become more effective in their roles; delegates will get a clear vision of what a 21st public servant looks like


Scrutinising complex partnerships

Chair: TBC

Sponsored by: Anthony Collins

Public services are now delivered through a myriad of models and contracts. Councils also operate in a number of complex partnership arenas (LEP, H&WB for example) where significant spending decisions are made impacting on many people’s lives. All of these can make finding out the true facts, holding to account and scrutinising seem impossible. This workshop will help officers and councillors to navigate the legal and ethical complexities involved in scrutinising partnerships, external delivery vehicles and other new models and share your experiences.

Outcomes: Greater confidence to engage and scrutinise partners; string understanding of the legal framework that governs scrutiny of partnerships; clarity about what transparency should and should not be expected of partners


Devolution and new governance arrangements

Chair: Ed Hammond, CfPS

The governance landscape is changing dramatically with devolution deals, elected mayors, closer working in two-tier and neighbouring areas and integration with other public services. All of this presents a number of significant theoretical, practical and political challenges in relation to accountability, governance and scrutiny challenges. CfPS has been developing a framework to support redesign of governance in a locality and a practical guide to overview and scrutiny in combined authority areas. Come along and find out more, share your experiences and be challenged to think through how accountability, transparency and involvement can be enhanced not diminishes in these new arrangements.

Outcomes: delegates will gain a good understanding of the role scrutiny can play in developing new democratic frameworks; delegates will understand how scrutiny can act as a conduit for local concerns in large combined authorities/devo areas; attendees will have a clear understanding of the governance challenges presented by devolution


Purposeful public engagement

Chairs: Dave Mckenna, City and County of Swansea; Kevin Davies, National Assembly for Wales

While effective public engagement is a cornerstone of good governance so scrutiny, done well, can provide the public with a ‘front door’ to public bodies.  Public engagement is nevertheless a challenging area of practice and finding ‘what works’ can be far from easy.

The aim of this workshop is to provide delegates with practical ideas for public engagement that they can take back to their organisations and try.  Featuring the work of the National Assembly for Wales as a case study, the session will draw on frameworks, ideas and the experiences of delegates to highlight and discuss lessons from good practice.

Outcomes: encourage delegates to share their own good practice; broaden delegates understanding of scrutiny; provide delegates with ideas to approach their work differently; challenging delegates to explore new ways of working.  


Holiday Inn

Bloomsbury, Coram St, London WC1N 1HT

Holiday Inn Bloonmsbury


The Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury is one of the best and most centrally located conference venues in London. In the heart of Bloomsbury with easy access from a variety of transport hubs and just a stone's throw from the famous Russell Square.

In addition to the main conference hall we will be using a variety of syndicate rooms and a full exhibition area for our sponsors and partners.


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Transport links

Russell Square Station (Piccadilly Line) - 1 min walk

King's Cross St Pancras (Circle, Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines) - 11 mins walk

Euston Station (Northen and Vicotria Lines) - 10 mins walk 

Holborn Station (Central and Picadilly Lines - 12 mins walk

Bus routes 59, 68, 91, 98, 168 and 188 all have stops close to Russel Square.

We are grateful to the following sponsors for helping to make this event a success:


Scrutinising Complex Partnerships workshop sponsor

We are a law firm whose purpose is to improve lives, communities and society. Local Government is one of our key sectors and we aim to become the leading lawyers advising and partnering with councils and other organisations and policy makers to build a stronger, more connected society.


Sponsorship Opportunities

We have a range of excellent sponsorship and exhibition options for this conference which will help your organisation achieve great exposure with conference delegates.

For more information and to discuss your requirements please contact Nicolay Sorensen:  |  020 3866 5104


Who is the conference for?

Good governance and the role of elected representatives in uncovering the truth and using their democratic mandate to scrutinise is a critical issue for all councils and democratic institutions. This conference will be particularly important for:

  • Leaders
  • Chief Executives
  • Elected councillors
  • Members of Parliament
  • Scrutiny Chairs and Scrutiny Members
  • Scrutiny Managers/Officers
  • Democratic Services Directors/Managers/Officers
  • Legal and Compliance Directors/Managers/Officers
  • Policy Directors/Managers/Officers
  • Transparency campaigners

How much does the conference cost?

The conference costs are as follows:

Early bird rates (up to end of August)

  • Voluntary sector delegate £149 (+ VAT)
  • Government delegate £179 (+ VAT)
  • Private sector delegate £209 (+ VAT)

Delegate rates after August

  • Voluntary sector delegate £169 (+ VAT)
  • Government delegate £199 (+ VAT)
  • Private sector delegate £229 (+ VAT)

We are also operating a buy three get one free offer where if you book three delegates you can book a fourth delegate free. This discount is added automatically at check-out.

How do I book to attend this event?

Event bookings for the conference are made online using through this website. You can register as a delegate (or register multiple delegates) using the intuitive booking system. 

Most organisations will be paying by invoice. In order for all invoices to be processed you will need to enter a purchase order when you book. Please make sure you have a purchase order from your finance department in advance of making the booking.

Please make sure you select a workshop for each delegate attending the conference.

What do I do if I have a problem?

If you encounter any problems or require assistance from CfPS relating to the conference or your booking please contact Fateha Begum -  |  020 3866 5100

What if I need to amend or cancel my booking?

We are happy to take substitute delegates up to 48hrs in advance of the conference. If you need to change the name/s of any delegates please call us and we can make the appropriate changes.

Our cancellation terms are as follows:

  • Cancellations made in writing before 17 November 2016 will receive a full refund, minus an administration fee of £50.
  • We regret that no refund can be made after that date, although substitutions can be made. 
  • CfPS are not able to offer refunds for cancellations arising from events outside of our control.
  • We are unable to cover any expenses occurred for attending the conference. In the unlikely event that the conference is cancelled for reasons beyond our control, we will be unable to refund any expenses incurred by delegates.