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Overview and scrutiny committees

3. Scrutiny methods used by the council

Pre-decision

Committees may be consulted by the Cabinet on future decisions and policies. Looking at decisions before they are made provides an opportunity to influence and improve them. They will think about how the decision has been developed, what the risks are and how they can reduce them.

This is also a chance for Scrutiny Committees to look at consultation activity that has been carried out and how it has influenced the final decision.

Performance monitoring

Overview and Scrutiny Committees monitor the performance of Cabinet, committees and council officers. They look at individual decisions, policy objectives, performance targets and particular service areas.

They could:

  • monitor strategies against their related action plans
  • look at how well the council has performed against the Corporate Plan, the improvement objectives and local and national performance indicators

Key to this are the outcomes for service users and ensuring that there is evidence to support this.

Call-in

Overview and Scrutiny Committees can ‘call-in’ a decision which has been made by the Cabinet or an officer but not yet implemented, which enables them to consider whether the decision is appropriate. They may recommend that the Cabinet reconsider the decision.

In-depth reviews

The Committees may carry out in-depth reviews into particular areas using Research and Evaluation Panels. These panels research, interview and investigate a specific issue. They then report what they have found back to the committee for consideration and action, such as a report to Cabinet

These panels include:

  • Budget Research and Evaluation Panel (BREP) - engages councillors on budget proposals
  • Member and School Engagement Panel - explores school performance
  • Public Service Board Overview and Scrutiny Panel – reviews and scrutinises decisions made by the Public Service Board, as well as the board’s governance arrangements

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