What is Scrutiny?
Scrutiny is an important part of the Government's drive to ensure that we provide better public services. The process is about improving services for people by being responsive to their needs.
There is also a Monitoring and Co-ordination Group, comprising the Chairs of all of the Scrutiny Committees, whose role is to co-ordinate the work of those Scrutiny Committees to ensure that there is efficient use of the Committee's time and resources and that the potential for duplication of effort is minimised.
What can Scrutiny Committees Do?
The Scrutiny Committees are responsible for setting their own work programmes, taking into account the views of the Monitoring and Co-ordination Group. They hold the Cabinet to account, ensure that the decisions taken by the Executive are appropriate and they can 'call in' a decision after it has been made to prevent the decision taking immediate effect. They can then make recommendations to the decision maker to suggest improvements to the decision.
Scrutiny Committees have an important role in helping to develop new policies and making suggestions to the decision makers. They have an input in developing the budget as they are not taking decisions they have more time to evaluate different options and come up with innovative ideas.
The Scrutiny Committees spend the majority of their time carrying out policy reviews. This involves carrying out a detailed assessment of a Council service or a topic which affects the lives of local people are able to undertake specific reviews of particular topics, taking into consideration the wishes of Members and/or the general public.
Each Scrutiny Committee can establish Reviews Groups which generally comprise a small group of Members appointed from the actual Scrutiny Committee itself. The purpose of the Review Groups are to examine the current service and highlight options for improving service delivery to the public.