Overview and Scrutiny
Overview and Scrutiny is a County Council function which ensures that Worcestershire residents receive the best possible services from the Council and its partners. Councillors involved in this work aim to improve services by monitoring and making recommendations on how they are provided. The Council also has specific responsibilities to scrutinise local NHS services.
All County Councillors who are not Members of the Cabinet are eligible to be involved in Overview and Scrutiny. This includes Councillors from all political parties.
Effective Scrutiny improves accountability, ensures transparency of decision making, contributes to service improvement and acts as a ‘check and balance’ on decision makers.
It is important to note that Overview and Scrutiny cannot look into concerns on behalf of individual service users. Information on how to make a compliment, comment or a complaint can be accessed via the Council’s website or you can contact the Consumer Relations Team.
Overview and Scrutiny in Worcestershire
The Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board (OSPB) is the Council’s main Overview and Scrutiny Committee and it produces a Scrutiny Annual Report each year summarising the work carried out. The Board is supported by the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) which scrutinises local health services and five Overview and Scrutiny Panels:
- Adult Care and Well Being Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Corporate and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Economy Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel
The five Overview and Scrutiny Panels:
- question Cabinet members and senior Council Officers about the performance of the services they run, holding them to account in public meetings
- hear the views of other stakeholders including community groups and members of the public
- look at services and policies within their remit and make recommendations for improvement
- monitor and scrutinise performance and budget information
If Scrutiny Councillors think a decision taken by Cabinet (or by a Cabinet Member) has been taken incorrectly, they have the right to request a ‘call-in’ of that decision. It will then be considered by a scrutiny committee.
Calling-in a decision means that the decision is paused until it has been considered by a scrutiny committee.
Further details on Call-ins can be found in the Council’s Constitution (Please see appendix 4)
Scrutiny Task Groups
Most in-depth scrutiny work is carried out in Scrutiny Task Groups. These are small groups of Councillors who work together over a short period of time to look at a particular service, decision or area of concern.
If the need arises, this work can be carried out jointly with our District Council colleagues. The work may include talking to service users, other stakeholders, Council Officers or the Cabinet Member with Responsibility for the service.
When the investigation is complete, the Scrutiny Task Group publishes a report which will include recommendations for the Cabinet Member to consider. Scrutiny Task Group reports are usually discussed at Cabinet meetings and the Cabinet Member is asked to formally respond to the report and decide whether or not to accept the recommendations.
You can find details of Scrutiny Reviews on the Council’s website.
How can I get involved?
The Councillors working on Overview and Scrutiny welcome contributions from members of the public.
You may get involved in one of these ways
- Suggesting a topic to scrutinise: You can do this by sending your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org The current scrutiny work programme is discussed at every meeting of OSPB and you can see the most up to date version by looking at the most recent OSPB agenda.
- Observing a meeting: All Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board (OSPB), Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and Overview and Scrutiny Panel meetings are held in public and all residents are welcome to attend. OSPB meetings are also webcast via the County Council's website. Meetings are usually held at County Hall, Worcester.
- Speaking at a meeting: All Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board (OSPB), Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and Overview and Scrutiny Panel meetings include an item on the agenda for Public Participation. If you would like to speak at a meeting about a topic on the agenda, please contact the Scrutiny Team in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of your proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting. For further details on how to get involved in meetings at County Hall please visit Get Involved: Attend Meetings at the County Hall
- Submitting evidence: If you have evidence on an issue currently being scrutinised and you would like to submit it to inform the investigation, please contact the Overview and Scrutiny Team.
- Being a witness: If you have particular expertise or experience in an area being considered, Scrutiny Councillors may wish to invite you to attend a meeting as a witness. If this was the case, a Scrutiny Officer would contact you before the meeting to offer advice and answer any questions you might have.
If you would like to talk to a member of the Scrutiny Team, please call the Scrutiny Coordinator.