Scrutiny Questionnaire for Members

Closed 22 Sep 2020

Opened 21 Aug 2020



Overview and scrutiny committees were introduced in 2000 as part of new executive governance arrangements to ensure that members of an authority who were not part of the executive could hold the executive to account for the decisions and actions that affect their communities.

Overview and scrutiny committees have statutory powers to scrutinise decisions the executive is planning to take, those it plans to implement, and those that have already been taken/implemented. Recommendations following scrutiny enable improvements to be made to policies and how they are implemented. Overview and scrutiny committees can also play a valuable role in developing policy.

Effective overview and scrutiny should:

• Provide constructive ‘critical friend’ challenge;

• Amplify the voices and concerns of the public;

• Be led by independent people who take responsibility for their role; and

• Drive improvement in public services.

Current overview and scrutiny legislation recognises that authorities are democratically-elected bodies who are best-placed to determine which overview and scrutiny arrangements best suit their own individual needs, and so gives them a great degree of flexibility to decide which arrangements to adopt.

The prevailing organisational culture, behaviours and attitudes of an authority will largely determine whether its scrutiny function succeeds or fails.

Why we are consulting

While everyone in an authority can play a role in creating an environment conducive to effective scrutiny, it is important that this is led and owned by members, given their role in setting and maintaining the culture of an authority.

Under the Sustainable Organisation Review (SORP), the terms of reference of the Member Development Commission were extended to include:

"In order to give effect to the augmented Member role proposed within the Sustainable Organisation Review, to examine how cross-party scrutiny and development of strategy could be strengthened via either existing or new committee arrangements, reporting to Executive Overview and Scrutiny and (then) to Council by April 2020. Such activity to include the option of engaging external specialist advice with relevant expenditure being contained within the budget provided."

One aspect of this task is to look at current scrutiny arrangements and how it can be more strategic in its role.

The Member Development Commission would like to receive your views on the current scrutiny function and your suggestions for improvements.  

If you could please take some time to answer the following questions: