A day in the life of the scrutiny panel
Well, another day in the life of a scrutiny panel member. The members of the panel (and we are looking for more volunteers to join us) met up on a recent Friday to continue with our current scrutiny investigation. We all made a cup of tea or coffee when we arrived and had a quick catch up with what we had all been doing since the previous meeting.
The panel – four residents who go to meetings plus one member who stays in touch by email - are volunteers who take an area of what Phoenix do we've heard about via a complaint or a suggestion from someone, and investigate how it works. The aim is to see if we can help improve the service or save money so that can be spent elsewhere to improve the daily lives of everyone in the Phoenix family. We have access to all the information we need to make an informed decision on whether improvements can be made and if it is financially viable to do so. We interview staff and tenants to enable us to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
We are not employed by Phoenix and do not take the side of Phoenix if there are improvements to be made - there is no conflict of interest.
On that Friday, after our catch-up, we got to work and went over all the data and information we had requested and then - joy of joys - we got to interview one of the managers. We had a very good question time and we were more informed at the end of the session.
We as a group get the feeling that the staff seem to be wary when we want to interview them. We want them to realise that we are there to help and if we can put suggestions forward to help improve Phoenix for them and for the residents, then we have done the job we set out to do. We don’t just look for what can be improved, we also look for the good in individual teams and the way they work. The meetings are minuted so that we can refer back to them for clarity.
After the laughs and the work, we all went home to mull over the paperwork in readiness for our next meeting.
The Scrutiny Panel would welcome more volunteers to help whether you do it via email or join us for meetings. If you would like something looked into that we have not already covered, you can email the scrutiny panel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every email sent to us is confidential.