Overview and Scrutiny

Our Overview and Scrutiny process examines decisions made by the council’s Cabinet. 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.

The Overview and Scrutiny Handbook (pdf, 158 KB) provides a comprehensive guide to how the Overview and Scrutiny function works at Richmond Council.

Get involved in Overview and Scrutiny

Overview and Scrutiny committees

We have four thematic Overview and Scrutiny committees which are:

These Overview and Scrutiny committees consider all key or significant decisions that are due to be considered by the council’s Cabinet.

Remit, rights and powers

Overview and Scrutiny committee meetings often involve:

  • Reviewing current or proposed council policies
  • Questioning Cabinet members, senior officers and external partners in person
  • Examining performance monitoring data
  • Keeping up to date with the progress of Task Groups

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. The committees can also appoint non-voting expert witnesses to support and provide input into scrutiny work and investigations.

They can also ‘call in’ a decision taken by the Cabinet, 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 insist that their recommendations are adhered to.


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.

Task Groups

Task Groups are small groups of councillors set up to examine specific issues in detail on behalf of the council. Previous reviews have covered issues including domestic abuse, cemetery space and development of residential basements.

Councillor Call for Action

Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) allows any councillor to refer matters of concern within the community to an Overview and 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.

The current Overview and Scrutiny model was adopted by the council in May 2018. Information about Scrutiny before May 2018 can be viewed below.

Updated: 22 August 2018