Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees Contents


Terms of Reference



Proposed revisions to Government guidance on scrutiny committees

1 The role of scrutiny

2 Party politics and organisational culture

Organisational culture

The relationship between scrutiny and the executive

The role of Full Council

The impact of party politics

Committee chairing arrangements

3 Accessing information

Commercial confidentiality

Getting data from multiple sources and external advisors

Service users’ perspective and public experiences

4 Resources

Reducing council budgets

Officer support models and required skill sets

Scrutiny’s profile and parity with the executive

Allocating resources

The role of the Statutory Scrutiny Officer

5 Member training and skills

The importance of training

The suitability of training provided

The quality of training available and DCLG oversight

6 The role of the public

Case studies of public engagement

Digital engagement

7 Scrutinising public services provided by external bodies

The conflict between commercial and democratic interests

Scrutiny powers in relation to external organisations

Scrutinising council contracts

Following the ‘council pound’

Scrutiny of Local Economic Partnerships

8 Scrutiny in combined authorities

The London Assembly

The mayoral combined authorities

Conclusions and recommendations

Annex: summary of discussions at an informal workshop with councillors and officers

Formal Minutes


Published written evidence

14 December 2017