You lay there in bed and toss and turn and can’t fall asleep. All you can think about is…

How can I ensure our Scrutiny Committee has the best possible work programme for the next year? Sad but true, that occasionally work projects keep me awake at night. No matter how hard I try with breathing exercises, meditation or music; sometimes I cannot sleep due to a niggle.

On this occasion that niggle was local government transparency. I long to be able to assist a committee of Councillors to deliver such an amazing project through scrutiny; finally help a community make positive changes to improve their quality of life; get residents interested in positive democracy, not just about voting and national political impacts – but really deliver something meaningful to them.

It all begins with a great action plan, a work plan outlining intention, detailing engagement methods and delivering what it aspires towards. It should be democracy in action, tapping into what is important to a community and what the Council can do. Complementing Council objectives and budgets with community capabilities to self-serve. Bringing people together and developing partnerships – wouldn’t it be wonderful if scrutiny could facilitate that?

It has been done by others; it is possible for us – but how? I lay there tossing and turning, not falling asleep, contemplating how I can ensure our scrutiny committee has the best possible work programme.

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