Overview and Scrutiny meetings - a guide

Purpose of the committees

Overview and Scrutiny Committees are an important part of the way the Council make decisions. Although they have no Executive powers and can only make recommendations to the Leader/Cabinet Member or Council, they work in a number of ways and can:

  • examine decisions made by the the Leader/Cabinet members;
  • develop Council policy (to be agreed by the Leader/Cabinet members and full Council) and review policy to make sure it is happening;
  • examine performance issues - how well our services are doing; and
  • review issues that affect the borough or the people who live there.

The people involved - who will be there


Each committee has a number of councillors serving on it. The membership is politically balanced, which means the number of places given to a political group is proportionate to the number of councillors the group has on the Council.

All councillors will have full voting rights. The Chair of each committee is also a councillor. The Chair has the job of managing the meeting In the event that the number of votes for and against a proposal are the same, the Chair can take a second vote or deciding vote.

Co-opted members

Co-opted members are not councillors, they are people that have been invited to serve on a committee because of their involvement in partner or related organisations. Co-opted members do not have authority to vote at commissions or panels. There is one exception to this where five education representative co-opted members (3 religious representatives and 2 parent governors) are allowed to vote at meetings on education related matters.

Council officers

Officers are the employees of the Council who attend the meetings to provide information and support to ensure the meeting runs smoothly. Officers have no voting rights.

Leader / Cabinet members

A committee or panel will sometimes invite councillors who are appointed as Leader / Cabinet members to attend a meeting to present an item, answer questions or listen to a debate. The Leader / Cabinet member has no voting rights and cannot by law be a member of a committee or panel.

Outside speakers

A Committee sometimes invite people from a wide range of groups and organisations to a meeting to present information and take part in discussions. An invited person has no voting rights.

Members of the public

All meetings of the Council are open the public and most reports are available for public view on Council decisions - Council meeting dates, agendas and minutes and at the meeting.

Getting involved

  • Attend a meeting:
    each committee agenda will include a public question time item. Public question time is a period of 30 minutes set aside specifically for questions from the public. Questions can relate to an item on the agenda for consideration or a matter of interest regarding services or the performance of the Council. Meetings usually take place in the Town Hall, Knowsley Street, Bury.
  • Raise an issue:
    if you have something you want to bring to the attention of a committee then write, phone or email with your question or issue to the Chair of the relevant committee or panel or contact us.
  • Consultation:
    a committee will sometimes ask for views and ideas on a subject as well as requesting a person to attend a meeting to provide specialist knowledge as a witness.

Contact for Democratic Services