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About overview and scrutiny

Find out how overview and scrutiny works and why it is important

Why scrutiny is important

Scrutiny allows your councillors can hold the mayor and cabinet (also known as the executive), officers and external organisations to account for the decisions that they make.

Scrutiny makes a difference. It improves the quality of local policies and decisions. It acts as a critical friend to the Council's executive – and to other organisations providing public services in the borough – by making recommendations to improve local services.

What overview and scrutiny is

Overview and scrutiny is a way that the mayor and cabinet (otherwise known as the executive), officers and external organisations are held to account for the decisions that they make.

Working in a similar way to parliamentary select committees, overview and scrutiny is carried out by councillors who are not members of the executive.

They make recommendations for improvement to the executive and also to other local organisations.

What scrutiny does

Scrutiny is important because it allows democratically elected councillors to:

  • assess the performance and delivery of services from the perspective of service users

  • hold people to account for their decisions

  • influence policy formulation and implementation

  • investigate issues of local concern and make recommendations for improvement.

Scrutiny tries to address areas where:

  • the Council and its partners could improve

  • there is concern in the community

  • significant changes are being made.

Our scrutiny principles include:

  • providing a ‘critical friend’ challenge to the executive and external authorities providing public services

  • reflecting the voices and concerns of the people and communities

  • having an impact on the delivery of local public services.

What scrutiny can't do

The overview and scrutiny select committees cannot examine all aspects of service provision in depth. They also do not deal with:

  • individual queries, concerns, complaints

  • matters that are dealt with by our quasi-judicial committees, such as licensing and planning.

If you are not satisfied with the service you have received from the Council, you can use our complaints procedure.

How scrutiny operates

Each committee agrees an annual work programme outlining the issues it will look into over the following 12 month period. This diagram shows the different overview and scrutiny committees, click on each one for more information.

Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Link to Public Accounts Select Committee Link to Healthier Communities Select Committee Link to Sustainable Development Select Committee Link to Children and Young People Select Committee Link to Housing Select Committee Link to Safer and Strong Communities Select Committees Link to Business Panel Link to Educational Business Panel Link to Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Get involved

Scrutiny needs the help of local people and organisations to make sure the Council and its partners deliver good and effective services. Get involved in overview and scrutiny by:

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