Scrutinising council scrutiny: from theoretical black box to analytical toolbox

T. Verhelst*, K. Peters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Despite their vast relevance to democracy, scholars have paid little systematic attention to the scrutiny function of local councils. To stimulate such research, this study theorises the concept of council scrutiny. First, we outline the rationale, wider policy context, and conceptualisations. Next, we present and discuss an actor-centred institutionalist approach to introduce an analytical framework that depicts council scrutiny as a loop comprising eight interrelated parts. These parts include the institutional context and policy environment, intrinsic motivations and actor properties, scrutiny objects, objectives, constellations, the scrutiny process as such, and its effects and personal rewards. Finally, we explain how this analytical framework may serve as a vehicle for a more comprehensive and detailed study of the various aspects of council scrutiny.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalLocal Government Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2023


  • Scrutiny
  • local council
  • councillors
  • local government
  • theoretical framework
  • analytical framework

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