We have four Scrutiny Committees that independently monitor how the Council goes about its business and the decisions it makes.
Scrutiny Committees can call upon Councillors and officers to give evidence or explanation about services, and can ‘call in’ decisions made by Cabinet – although not yet implemented – to enable further consideration of the facts.
Scrutiny Committees also have the power to look into the provision of health services and issues that affect the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of the county, scrutinising how well the Council and its partners are meeting targets.
Read our Guide to scrutiny >>
The four Scrutiny Committees are:
Apart from the Council’s own services, Scrutiny Committees have the power to look into the provision of health services and issues which affect the economic, social or environmental well being of the County. They may also scrutinise how well the Council and its partners are fulfilling agreed targets as, for example, set out in crime and disorder strategies.
Scrutiny Committees have a legal power to require Members of the Council’s Cabinet or Officers and NHS officials to attend and give evidence and also to see Council and NHS files and documents on the issues they are investigating. Other people can be invited (but not required) to contribute as well.
Scrutiny Committees do not have no power to make decisions or to make others act on their suggestions. However, the Council’s Cabinet, relevant partners and NHS bodies must consider and respond to what has been recommended. In relation to health issues, the relevant scrutiny committee can refer things direct to the Secretary of State without needing approval from the Cabinet or the full Council.
When looking into other issues that affect the economic, social or environmental well-being of the county (e.g. flood prevention, climate change or economic infrastructure) a Scrutiny Committee can make recommendations but cannot make other organisations or companies comply with them.
To maintain an effective scrutiny function, Scrutiny Committees need to:
- bring in the views of local people and communities
- help improve council policies and services so they meet people’s needs better, looking at the issues from a resident’s point of view
- contribute to the review and development of council policies, to make sure that they do what was intended
- make sure the council is open about the way decisions are made
- make sure the council measures its own performance and regularly reports in public on how well it is keeping its promises
- hold the Cabinet and those officers responsible for putting policy in place and delivering services to account
- look beyond the authority at issues and organisations that affect local quality of life
- help better joining up of public and other services
- focus on outcome and improvement.