Overview and Scrutiny

Overview and Scrutiny is a key part of the checks and balances necessary to hold the Cabinet to account. It is key to improving policies and performance. It can help ensure that services respond to the needs of the local community and are efficient, cost effective and easy to use.

Councillors can also scrutinise a number of organisations which work with the Council to improve local services.

Overview and Scrutiny is also a way of involving local people, communities and organisations to ensure that their views are used to improve services whenever possible.

Worcestershire County Council has established an Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board (OSPB) to undertake this work, supported by four Overview and Scrutiny Panels and the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

These bodies can consider any matter affecting Worcestershire or its residents and have powers to:
  • review and make recommendations on any council functions, policies or budgets
  • make reports and recommendations directly to the Council's Cabinet and full Council

Scrutiny Reviews

Scrutiny reviews by councillors are time-limited projects that look at issues in detail.  They can be carried out by the OSPB, Panels or HOSC or by specially created Scrutiny Task Groups.

The reviews investigate services and issues; examine how policies are being implemented, what people think of them and what changes, if any are needed.

Councillors carrying out a scrutiny review can:
  • question Cabinet members and senior Council staff about their decisions and performance
  • hear from local people and organisations
  • conduct research
  • visit other local authorities
  • ask other organisations to comment

Councillors collect as much evidence as they can and then publish a report. Their reports may contain recommendations for improvements and changes for the Cabinet to consider. Scrutiny reports may sometimes be discussed by the full Council before being submitted to the Cabinet.

The Cabinet must respond to the scrutiny report and decide whether or not to accept any recommendations.