What Is Overview & Scrutiny?
The Local Government Act 2000 changed the way in which Councils are structured. Bassetlaw District Council now operates a Cabinet system with a Leader. The majority of decision-making has been transferred to the Cabinet, consisting of a small group of seven Members.
To balance this more concentrated decision-making process, the Act also introduced scrutiny into local government. This is similar to Parliamentary Select Committees. Councils operating the Leader and Cabinet model must now have in place a scrutiny structure to challenge the decisions of Cabinet and develop new policies. It can, therefore, be a powerful tool to ensure that the Council is run effectively and efficiently, ensuring that the views and concerns of the local community form an integrated part of the Council’s policies and working practices.
Scrutiny is not a decision-making body, but does have the power to influence, investigate and persuade. Good scrutiny should be evidence based and unaffected by the bias of political parties and provides non-Cabinet Members from all parties an important role to play in the running of the Council.
In short, the key things about the way we operate are:
- Scrutiny is politically impartial
- Scrutiny is Member led
- All recommendations are backed by evidence
- Scrutiny must be constructive