Scrutiny FAQ's

Scrutiny

Frequently Asked Questions on Scrutiny at Bassetlaw District Council.

Q. Who may sit on scrutiny committees?

A. All councillors except members of the Cabinet may be members of a scrutiny committee. However, no member may be involved in scrutinising a decision which he/she has been directly involved.

Co-optees

Each scrutiny committee is entitled to recommend to Council the appointment of a number of people as non-voting co-optees provided that the number of Councillors on the Committee is still greater than the number of co-optees. This enables Councillors to benefit from expert knowledge of other service providers, for example the NHS or Police.

Q. What is 'Call-In'

A. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee monitors the decisions of the Cabinet or an individual Member of the Cabinet. It can, in certain circumstances, consider ‘calling-in’ a decision that has been made by the Cabinet or an individual member of the Cabinet but not yet implemented, where there is evidence that suggests that decisions have not been made in accordance with the Council’s Constitution. Examples could include:

  • failure to consult effectively on key decisions,
  • absence of any evidence on which to take the decision,
  • failure to take into account all relevant information or
  • reliance upon irrelevant considerations.

Call-in should only be used in exceptional circumstances. During the Committee meeting, scrutiny members look at the issue in detail; evidence previously presented to Cabinet/ the Cabinet Member, and question the decision-maker. Once the decision has been considered it will either be referred back to Cabinet/ the Cabinet Member for reconsideration due to new evidence or confirmed by the Committee for implementation.

Any proposed decision, once called-in, shall not be implemented until either the Overview and Scrutiny Committee has decided to uphold the decision of the Cabinet or, if the decision is referred back to Cabinet, the Cabinet has decided whether or not to implement the proposed decision with or without modification.

The Call-in Procedure can only be used once per decision.

Bassetlaw District Council has decided upon a system whereby only the Overview and Scrutiny Committee can require the ‘call-in’ of a decision.

Q. What is Councillor Call for Action (CCfA)?

A. Councillor Call For Action came into force from 1 April 2009.

Councillor Call for Action is about helping Councillors to resolve issues and problems on behalf of their residents and is designed to strengthen the Councillors’ role as a champion for local concerns. The best practice guidance issued by the Centre for Public Scrutiny states that the ‘CCfA is an opportunity for the whole Council and its Members to try to bring about specific solutions for local problems. It is designed to sit alongside existing mechanisms already at Councillors’ disposal to resolve local issues’. A Councillor Call for Action is sometimes referred to as an action of last resort when all other methods of resolving an issue of local concern have been explored.

All CCfAs will be dealt with by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. For more information on how to deal with a CCfA please view the Council's Guide for District Councillors.

Q. How does the Council scrutinise crime and disorder?

A. Section 19 of the Police and Justice Act requires every local authority to have a crime and disorder committee with the power to review or scrutinise decisions made or other action taken in connection with the discharge by the responsible authorities of their crime and disorder functions. (Responsible authorities are effectively the statutory partners within a community safety partnership i.e. Police Authority/Police Force, Primary Care Trusts, County/District Councils, National Probation Service and Fire Authorities).

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Crime & Disorder) held its first meeting of this kind on 7th of December 2009 at Retford Town Hall.

From 2009 to 2013, Members of both Bassetlaw and Newark and Sherwood District Councils were present alongside a number of partner agencies. A series of presentations are given to the Members outlining the national perspective on community safety; local partnership working and statistical data from the strategic intelligence assessment.  From 2014 onwards, this process is being led by Bassetlaw District Council due to a change in approach to scrutiny by Newark & Sherwood District Council.

Members consider the information presented and ask a range of questions clarifying points about the Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood Community Safety Partnership’s progress and what interventions were being put in place to deal with particular types of crime.

This meeting takes place annually within quarter three (Oct-Dec).

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