Scrutiny Task Groups
What are Task Groups?
Task Groups are smaller than Committees and are set up to examine specific issues in detail, which means that they tend to work more flexibly and informally. They are made up of between 3-6 members and have the support of a dedicated Scrutiny Officer.
How do they select their topics?
In the spring of each year, Councillors, Council officers, partner agencies and the public are asked to suggest issues for Scrutiny to investigate. This could be a review of an existing policy or service but Task Groups can also look to develop new policies. To suggest an issue for Scrutiny to consider, please use our Get involved in Scrutiny page.
How do they gather evidence?
Each Task Group sets itself clear terms of reference. The Group refers to these throughout the review, particularly when it is deciding what information to gather and what witnesses to hear from. The Group can obtain information through many different media, including face-to-face interviews; questionnaires; focus groups; site visits; reports; and written submissions. The most common witnesses are Council Officers, representatives from partner agencies and service users.
How do they report their findings?
When the Task Group has finished gathering evidence, it reports its findings to the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee and recommends achievable improvements or developments. The Group’s report is discussed by the Committee, and if approved, is sent to the Council’s Cabinet. Cabinet has a duty to respond to the recommendations and will decide whether to fully accept, partially accept or reject them. Sometimes the Task Group will also make recommendations to partner organisations, such as the NHS Primary Care Trust.
What happens next?
The relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee receives an update report six months later, which details the progress made in implementing the accepted recommendations. This allows the Committee to ensure that the improvements identified by the report are delivered.
For more information on Task Groups, please see our Beginner's Guide publication(pdf, 417KB).