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NEW SCRUTINY HEAD CALLS FOR GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY TO COMMUNITIES

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'Ensure public services are accountable to communities', urges new Centre for Public Scrutiny chief....
'Ensure public services are accountable to communities', urges new Centre for Public Scrutiny chief.

Jessica Crowe has been named the next executive director of the Centre for Public Scrutiny. She will take up the role on 20 September and has vowed to ensure scrutiny becomes an even more important element in ensuring public services are accountable to local communities.

'Scrutiny has enormous potential to support public service reform, and I am delighted to join CfPS at this exciting time. CfPS has already helped establish scrutiny as a vital ingredient of good governance in our public services. It is largely accepted in parliament, local government and increasingly in health authorities, but we need to ensure that all public services are far more accountable and open to local people and the communities they serve. When done well, scrutiny can be a powerful vehicle for local self-improvement and help local communities to produce their own solutions rather than being subjects of over-regulation from the centre.'

Ms Crowe will rise to this challenge drawing on her extensive experience as a community representative, non-executive scrutineer and consultant who has contributed to public service improvement at both national and local levels:

-Since 2004 she has been a non-executive director of Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust

-Between 2002 and 2006 she was a director of Groundwork East London

-She is an accredited IDeA Peer and has carried out two corporate assessments under CPA 2005 for the Audit Commission

-She has extensive experience in elected and lay member training and adult education, and has conducted training session on behalf of organisations including IDeA and the Association of London Government

-She was a councillor in the London Borough of Hackney between 1998 and 2006, where she took part in the council's first ever cross-party scrutiny review before becoming deputy mayor and was part of the team responsible for delivering great service and performance improvements in the borough

-From 1998 to 2004 she was a primary school governor

-July 2001 until Feb 2003 she was a policy officer for LGiU, a local government think tank, where her areas of specialism included social services and the voluntary sector. She wrote the LGIU-DfES joint publication on corporate parenting, 'If this were my child...'

-She has also worked as an adviser to a government minister, for the Labour Party and the Local Government Association

Ms Crowe added: 'My priority in all of these roles has been to ensure local communities have the better public services they need and deserve, and I have worked with colleagues from all political parties and none to achieve this. Similarly, scrutiny is at its most powerful when appointed and elected representatives from all backgrounds combine efforts to improve their neighbourhood, their local hospital or other local services. I look forward to working with all involved in scrutiny, at every level and throughout the UK, to ensure this potential is realised.'

She has a BA in Modern History from Oxford University, and an MSc in European Social Policy from the London School of Economics, where she specialised in comparative local government.

Notes

-The appointment was made after an open competition and the appointment panel comprised of CfPS directors

-The Centre for Public Scrutiny is an advisory body for non-executive scutineers and their support officers from all tiers of government and the public sector. It is an independent not-for-profit limited company incorporated by the Local Government Association, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accounting and the Democratic Health Network of the Local Government Information Unit. Tony Wright, chair of the Public Administration Select Committee, chairs the CfPS Ltd board and its advisory board. A summary of recent CfPS activities and future plans is attached.

-The centre's first executive director, Jane Martin, will be leaving on 30 September to take up a new post at Warwick Business School's Institute of Governance and Public Management.

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