As part of the council's governance arrangements, Overview and Scrutiny works as a 'critical friend' to the decision-making Executive. Committees of councillors from all parties agree an independent work programme, for the two Overview and Scrutiny Committees – the Scrutiny Committee and the Health Scrutiny Committee. This work can include:
- How council services are performing
- Council policies, and how they are being implemented
- Any issue of local concern
- Decisions made by the Executive
- Organisations outside the council, such as the local NHS
Overview and Scrutiny can look at and question any decision that affects local people. This could be a Council decision or the decision of an outside body. It is an important function of Overview and Scrutiny to oversee these decisions to ensure that they are fair, practical and being made in the public's best interest.
Issues of Health and Wellbeing come within the remit of the Health Scrutiny Committee, with the Scrutiny Committee having an overview of other services and functions delivered by the Council and its partners.
Scrutiny News Items
Previous Scrutiny reviews from the past few years. Where the Executive of the Council has responded with an action plan, the response is included in the right-hand column.
How does it work?
The Local Government Act 2000 changed the way decisions are made in local government to make local councils more in touch with local people.
Under the new arrangements, all Council decisions in Trafford are made by the Executive which is made up of the Leader of the Council with nice other Councillors from the leading party. Councillors who are not on the Executive can sit on Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
Overview and Scrutiny acts as a check and balance to the Executive's decisions and seeks to involve the public to a greater degree to ensure that decisions are not only in line with Council policy, but also in the public interest.
Each year the Overview and Scrutiny Committees agree on areas for in-depth investigation and review. Overview and Scrutiny can put forward ideas for service improvements, or accept suggestions from the public and partners to influence decisions being made the Council's Executive. They work by acting as a 'critical friend' and are made up of councillors who represent the community of Trafford. This work is carried out by:
- Regularly checking that decisions have been made in the best way
- Checking that the Council is providing good quality services
- Listening to local people and making sure their views are heard by decision makers
- Looking at decisions, policies or issues that affect local people
- Making recommendations about how decisions or services can be improved
For these in-depth investigations and reviews, members of the committees gather a range of evidence from relevant stakeholders, including community groups, local residents, professionals working for other organisations and Council employees. This enables them to gather a full picture of the issue, to report back and make any necessary recommendations.
Following a significant review of structures at the start of 2012/13, Scrutiny is developing a range of updated procedures to ensure its work delivers maximum impact and beneficial outcomes for services.
Since 2012, government legislation has allowed Scrutiny to review any matter relating to the commissioning or provision of local health services and be provided with any reasonable information about the planning and operation of health services in its area. Scrutiny can require the Chief Executives of local NHS bodies to come before the committee to answer questions if requested.
NHS bodies must also consult Scrutiny on substantial developments of, or variations to, the health service in the council's area as well as their quality account to the Care Quality Commission. Should Scrutiny consider that the process of an NHS body's consultation has been inadequate it will have the right to refer it to the Secretary of State for Health.
It will be the Health Scrutiny Committee that will undertake this area of work.