Overview and scrutiny

The overview and scrutiny function lends greater transparency and accountability to councils’ decision-making by:

  • Publicly holding the council’s executive (the cabinet) to account
  • Examining matters of wider public interest
  • Contributing to policy review and development

Following an extensive governance review with significant external support from both the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny and the LGA Peer Challenge Team, in July 2020 the Council approved the adoption of an enhanced Leader and Cabinet model of governance, a key element of which was the establishment of two new thematic overview and scrutiny committees.

The remits of these two committees – Lives & Homes and Places & Futures – are aligned to the corporate aims in the Council’s Corporate Plan ‘Better Borough, Brighter Futures’ (adopted in September 2020) to ensure the overview and scrutiny function is focused on contributing towards the achievement of the Council’s ambition to make the Borough a better place to live, work and play.

In addition to identifying and scoping topics for review (and then commissioning task groups of councillors to carry them out), the two committees act as an important public forum to consider new council policies, to investigate areas of underperformance, and if necessary to review cabinet decisions before they are implemented.

Where the Cabinet, a Portfolio Holder or a Director intends to make a key decision, or to make such a decision in private session, then at least 28 clear days public notice should be given. For the vast majority of matters, this requirement is fulfilled through the Cabinet Forward Plan which is usually updated twice a month. 

Key decision notices

Notices of private meetings

See also

Centre for Public Scrutiny  

Overview and Scrutiny Guidance