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Agenda item

Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees; report of the Communities and Local Government Committee, published 15 December 2017

Report of the Head of Elections, Equalities and Involvement.



The Committee received a report of the Head of Elections, Equalities and Involvement which provided an overview of the report published by the Communities and Local Government Committee in December 2017 and set out potential improvements to the way Sheffield City Council implements its scrutiny function. Present for the item was James Henderson, Director Policy, Performance and Communication.




Members made various comments and asked a number of questions, to which responses were provided as follows:




·         In response to a question regarding the proposal for Scrutiny Committees to report to Council, James Henderson confirmed that Scrutiny Committees would still determine their own work programmes and would not be directed by Council. The Policy and Improvement Officer advised that the Select Committee would have been directing this recommendation at those Local Authorities which struggled to get scrutiny recognised by the Executive, which was not a problem faced in Sheffield.




·         With regards to ‘following the pound’ (where scrutiny would have the power and responsibilities to oversee taxpayer funded services where the services are funded, wholly or in part, by local authorities), James Henderson advised that he was not aware of any instances of Sheffield not being able to get outside organisations to attend meetings and provide evidence, but that more could be done to raise awareness of the existence and role of scrutiny with partners. It was also suggested that transparency and the expectations of scrutiny could be included as part of contract negotiation.




·         Officers undertook to take back Members’ comments regarding the Sheffield City Region’s scrutiny function, and it was noted that the SCR Mayor could be invited to attend Sheffield City Council scrutiny meetings where appropriate.




The Chair advised that she had been speaking with the Equalities Board about involving their members and using their expertise in scrutiny, and confirmed that a report would be brought to a future meeting of this Committee.




RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the summary of the Communities and Local Government Committee’s report and areas identified for potential improvement in Sheffield Scrutiny function.


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