What is Overview and Scrutiny?
The Local Government Act 2000 requires all councils in England and Wales to introduce political structures which provide a clear role for the Council, the Cabinet and non executive Councillors.
Role of scrutiny
Scrutiny plays an essential role in promoting accountability in local authorities' decision making process. One of the key roles for non-cabinet councillors is to undertake an overview and scrutiny role for the Council. The overview and scrutiny role involves reviewing policies of the Council, helping to develop policies for the Council, scrutinising organisations external to the Council and holding the Leader / Cabinet Members to account.
Article 6 of the Council Constitution sets out the general role and rules of procedure for the Scrutiny Commissions and panel in Bury.
What Overview and Scrutiny can do
- Initiate public inquiries into matters of local concern. These can lead to reports and recommendations which advise the Leader / Cabinet Members and the Council as a whole on its policies, budget and service delivery.
- Monitor the decisions of the Leader/Cabinet members. A decision that has been made by the Leader / Cabinet Member and not yet implemented can be 'called in'. This enables the Committee to consider whether the decision is appropriate. The Scrutiny Committee may recommend that the Leader / Cabinet Member reconsider the decision in light of findings and comments made.
- Be consulted by the Leader / Cabinet Member or the Council on forthcoming decisions and the development of policy.
What Overview and Scrutiny is unable to do
- Make decisions relating to the way the Council discharges any of its functions.
- Act as a Council complaints system.
Scrutiny arrangements in Bury
Bury Council has appointed the following committees to manage the Council's overview and scrutiny function:
- Overview and Scrutiny Committee
- Health Scrutiny
- Scrutiny Project Group (set up on a task and finish basis)
The annual report covers the activity of all the commissions over the last municipal year.
Each scrutiny committee meets in public and includes a public question time at the start of the meeting. Scrutiny committees actively welcome involvement with the public and seek the views of members of the public on services that are being considered. Scrutiny committee's also welcome suggestions for subjects to be considered for inclusion in the scrutiny work programme.