Aims of Overview & Scrutiny


The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 provides elected Members with the powers to scrutinise any function of the Council and any local services provided by external service providers, insofar as they impact on a Councillors’ individual ward.

Within their terms of reference, scrutiny committees can:

  • review and/or scrutinise decisions made or actions taken in connection with the discharge of any of the Council’s functions;
  • make reports and/or recommendations to the full Council and/or the Cabinet and/or any joint committee in connection with the discharge of any Council functions;
  • consider any matter affecting the area or its inhabitants;

There are two specific functions of the Committee:

  • developing and reviewing Council policies – This includes developing the budget and policy framework; conducting research and consultation; enhancing community participation in policy development; questioning Cabinet on their proposals; and liaising with external organisations to ensure that the interests of local people are being addressed effectively through partnership working.
  • scrutinising decisions/performance and making appropriate recommendations based on the evidence gathered – This includes reviewing decisions made by Cabinet and chief officers; reviewing the performance of the Council; questioning the Cabinet and chief officers about their decisions and performance linked to their service plan and specific projects; making recommendations to Cabinet as a result of scrutiny reviews; reviewing the performance of other public bodies e.g. NHS, Police; and question and gathering evidence from any person (with their consent).

The Four Key Aims of Overview and Scrutiny

The ‘Good Scrutiny Guide’, published by the Centre for Public Scrutiny, says good public scrutiny should:

  • Provide a ‘critical friend’ challenge to executive policy-makers and decision-makers
  • Enable the voice and concerns of the public
  • Be carried out by ‘independent minded governors’ who lead and own the scrutiny role
  • Drive improvement in public services