Agenda item

Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities

Report of the Policy and Improvement Officer



The Committee received a report of the Policy and Improvement Officer attaching the statutory guidance, published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in May 2019, on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities, which had been revised as a result of a review by the House of Commons Select Committee.




Also in attendance for this item was James Henderson (Director of Policy, Performance and Communications).




The aim of the guidance sought to ensure that local and combined authorities were aware of the purpose of overview and scrutiny, what effective scrutiny looked like, how to conduct scrutiny effectively and the benefits it could bring.




The Policy and Improvement Officer reported that, based on the contents of the guidance, and further to a recent review of the Council’s scrutiny function, it had been determined that, whilst certain elements could be improved, the Council was currently operating broadly in line with the guidance.




In response to questions raised by Members of the Committee, James Henderson stated that, as part of the development of a new Workforce Strategy, his Service would look into the possibility of seconding officers from other Council Services, to work alongside the Policy and Improvement Officers, in order for them to gain experience of the Council’s governance and decision-making process.  With regard to the future resourcing of the Council’s scrutiny function, Mr Henderson stated that whilst he did not envisage any additional resources being invested in this area, he accepted that the Council needed to be more effective in terms of how it used its current resources.  In the light of concerns raised by Members with regard to how seriously some Senior officers took the role of scrutiny, particularly with regard to reporting back to the Committee when Members had requested information, he indicated that he would raise this issue with colleagues.




RESOLVED: That the Committee notes the revised statutory guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities, together with the comments now made and the responses to the questions raised.


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