Our Overview and Scrutiny process examines decisions made by the Council’s Cabinet and Cabinet Members. It also reviews our policies and those of other local public bodies, suggesting improvements and new policies where needed.
It is carried out by elected Councillors (except those sitting in the Cabinet) and co-opted experts, with support from Council officers. We also welcome residents’ contributions to the process.
Every spring we ask for suggestions of issues for Scrutiny to investigate.
This could be a review of an existing policy or service, or developing a new policy.
We have three Overview and Scrutiny Committees which are:
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee commissioned a Youth Scrutiny Panel to be established in 2014. The Panel is now entering its second year with recruitment currently being undertaken. The 2015 Youth Scrutiny Panel will be investigating internet safety, and will present their findings to the Scrutiny Committee in the first half of 2016.
Committee meetings often involve:
The Committees influence decision-makers by probing, investigating, encouraging, persuading, reporting and recommending. To help fulfil this role, they can require information from Cabinet Members or Council Officers, either in person or in writing.
They can also ‘call in’ a decision taken by the Cabinet or Cabinet Members, which delays the decision’s implementation. This puts the decision on hold and allows the Committee to examine it and, if they choose, ask the decision-maker to reconsider.
However, Committees do not have the power to take decisions themselves, overturn those taken by the Cabinet or Cabinet Members or insist that their recommendations are adhered to.
The Health Scrutiny Committee has special powers and responsibilities conferred on it by the Health and Social Care Act 2001. Its remit is to review and scrutinise health service matters and make reports and recommendations to NHS bodies. The legislation also gives this Committee the power to refer contested major service reconfigurations to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.
The primary aim of Health Scrutiny is to help improve the health of local people by addressing health inequalities and by working with the NHS and other partner organisations. The Committee often works closely with similar committees from adjacent boroughs, as residents frequently cross borough boundaries to receive health care.
Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, including Chairs and Vice-Chairs, are appointed at the Annual Council meeting in May each year. Each Committee is politically proportionate to the number of seats each group holds on the Council.
Scrutiny Panels are smaller than Committees and tend to work more flexibly and informally, as they are set up to examine specific issues in detail. Any member of the Council who is not a Cabinet Member can be on a Scrutiny Panel.
Previous reviews have covered issues including the Rugby World Cup, flooding and the Care Act.
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, or developing a new policy.
Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) allows any Councillor to refer matters of concern within the community to the Scrutiny Committee. The aim of this measure is to provide councillors with additional powers that enable them to respond to local community concerns which have proved difficult to resolve. CCfA emphasises the role of ward councillors as ‘community champions’.
The current Overview and Scrutiny model was adopted by the Council in June 2014. Find information about Scrutiny before June 2014.
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
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