The role and purpose of the Scrutiny Committee is to act as a key democratic mechanism for holding public-service decision-makers and providers to account as well as facilitating the improvement of public services within the Borough. Effective scrutiny enhances accountability, ensures transparency of decision-making, contributes to service improvement, and acts as a 'critical friend' to decision makers by beneficially examining the council's priorities, key decisions and service provision to ensure they are appropriate, efficient, transparent and accountable, and in the best interests of residents.
The Scrutiny Committee also undertakes a key role in the overview and development of Council policy and discharges a number of functions to support and assist the Council with this. The Cabinet and full Council may consult the Scrutiny Committee on all matters relating to policy development.
The Scrutiny Committee are responsible for:
- scrutinising Executive decisions made by the Cabinet or by Officers (acting under delegated powers)
- scrutinising any Decisions in relation to the Budget and Policy Framework that the Cabinet, or Officers (acting under delegated powers) are proposing to make - this can also be referred to as pre-decision scrutiny or pre-scrutiny
- reviewing the Council's policy-making or decision-making processes
The Scrutiny Committee consists of 13 Members. All elected Members except members of the Cabinet may be members of the Scrutiny Committee. However, no Member may be involved in scrutinising a decision with which they will be or have been directly involved. The Committee is set up to participate in the policy development and performance management of the Council and to review and challenge the Cabinet and the wider Council. The Scrutiny Committee can call witnesses, ask detailed questions and will issue reports to the relevant decision makers. The Scrutiny Committee meets in public, unless there are very exceptional circumstances.
The Committee can challenge decisions of Cabinet and individual Cabinet Members by a process known as 'call-in' and may also respond to specific requests from Councillors.
The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee is appointed by the Council
The functions and responsibilities are set out in further detail within Article 16 of the Council's Constitution.
Details of the Scrutiny Committee meetings can be found below:
Call-in of decisions
What is a Call-in?
The Local Government Act 2000 introduced the power for individual members of the cabinet to make certain decisions on their own. In order to balance these powers, The Local Government Act 2000 requires that every Council establish a mechanism which allows for Executive decisions and that of the collective Cabinet, scrutiny arrangements were introduced which included the right for councillors to call-in executive level decisions.
What does it mean when a decision is called in?
When a decision is made by the Cabinet, or a Key Decision is made by an Officer with delegated authority from the Cabinet, the decision will be sent to all Members and shall be available at the main offices of the Council within five working days of being made.
That notice will bear the date on which it is published and will specify that the decision will come into force, and may then be implemented, on the expiry of five clear working days after the publication of the decision, unless the Scrutiny Committee objects to it and calls it in.
During that period, the Monitoring Officer shall call-in a decision for scrutiny by the Scrutiny Committee if so requested in writing by three Members of the Scrutiny Committee.
When a request for a call-in is made this means that a decision made by the Executive cannot be implemented until the Scrutiny Committee has had the opportunity to review it.
The decision to call-in is subject to varying conditions and these conditions are set out within Article 18 of the Council's Constitution
The key conditions are as follows:
- the request for a call-in must contain in writing the detailed reasons why the decision has been called-in and must be made within five working days of a decision being made.
- the Members requesting a call-in must attend and address the Scrutiny Committee, called for that purpose, in order for the matter to be considered by the Committee
Accessibility statement about CMIS