The Strategy, Performance and ICT Manager gave a slide presentation entitled “Introduction to Internal Scrutiny”. The slides to be circulated to Members.
A summary of the presentation included:
The Committee is a legislative Committee, has an important role in Local Government and has legal powers.
Principles of effective Overview & Scrutiny – understanding the scrutiny role, creating an enabling environment and supporting public scrutiny.
Reference was made to the Constitution which defined the role of the Committee and included:
· Terms of Reference
· Specific Functions and responsibilities
· Statement of Purpose
· Call-In procedure - the Committee is entitled to “call-in” decisions made by the Community & Resources Committee which are not yet implemented, can also recommend that the Community & Resources committee reconsider such a decision. Issues that remain unresolved will be referred to Full Council for determination.
· Substitution Scheme – O&S Members may not sit or sub on Community & Resources Committee or Audit & Governance Committee and vice versa.
There are two Overview & Scrutiny Committees –
· External - outward facing, working with partners and those organisations who receive funding.
· Internal – performance management, budgetary, development of policies etc.
Quarterly Business Report (QBR) – it is the main function of Internal O&S and monitors the Council’s Financial and Performance data. A Task and Finish Group was set up by this Committee in 2021 to review the existing QBR to align to the new Strategic Plan. The Chair explained the existing QBR has been re-written in a different format to ensure the document is understood by Councillors and the public who have an interest in the performance and workings of the Council. The document, although not perfect, will be kept under review and amendments will be made if required.
The QBR is sent out in advance of the Agenda to Councillors asking for any questions in advance of the meeting. This will allow for questions and answers to be provided prior to the meeting.
The Strategy Performance and ICT Manager advised that it had been agreed the QBR to be sent out to all Councillors and not just the Committee. This will allow all Members to have input into the document.
A brief overview of the layout and details within the QBR were conveyed to Members.
Following the presentation, the Chair summarised as follows:
The Committee function is backed by legal positions and its requirement is to be impartial and independent. This is not the forum for Members to bring a personal matter from their Ward. Members are strategic and overarching on the business and performance of the Council, if it has relevance district wise, that is different.
Call-In – Members were urged to use this sparingly; it is an exception rather than a rule. Call-in is on principle and not on personal view.
The work of the Committee is a mix of periodic review programmed like the QBR and various other matters that will be looked at on a regular basis.
Emphasis was made on the need for the Committee to be fully acquainted with the QBR and for Members to submit questions.