Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room, Council Offices, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield

Contact: Martin Elliott  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Personal Interests and Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests


No declarations of interest were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 226 KB



that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 22nd January, 2019, be received and approved as a correct record.


Workplan Consultation and Scrutiny Improvement pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman introduced the item and reminded Members that the meeting would be the last meeting of the Panel prior to the District Elections in May 2019.  Rather than commence a new review at this late stage, it had been agreed that it would be prudent for Panel Members to consider the potential impact of the upcoming national scrutiny guidance, evaluate the Council’s scrutiny function over the last four years and to consider topics for the 2019/20 Scrutiny Workplan.


New Government Scrutiny Guidance

The Service Manager, Democratic & Scrutiny Services advised the Panel that officers had been waiting for some considerable time for the new statutory scrutiny guidance to be released by Government.  The guidance was originally due to be published in December 2018 but due to Brexit priorities, the release date has been pushed back indefinitely.


The scrutiny function was first introduced by the Local Government Act 2000 as part of the requirements for the new Cabinet/Leader regime.  Should a local authority adopt a Stronger Leader model to facilitate their decision making processes then a scrutiny function will also need to be provided.


No new statutory guidance had been released since 2006 and it was evident that the landscape of scrutiny had changed over the last few years.  Originally the scrutiny function enabled members to hold the Cabinet to account, be a critical friend in relation to policy development and to consider items on the Forward Plan.


However, from what was already known about the anticipated new guidance, the emphasis would now focus on:-


·         scrutiny of outside/external organisations;

·         recognising scrutiny’s legal and democratic legitimacy;

·         allocating sufficient resources to the scrutiny function;

·         ensuring scrutiny members have powers to access pertinent information as required;

·         focussing on scrutiny of financial resilience and sustainability of functions.


It was hoped that local authorities would give renewed consideration to the level of support given to their scrutiny function thus ensuring the provision of an effective service that adds value to the work of the authority.


Panel Members were advised that once the guidance was released, a report would be submitted to the next available Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting for consideration.


Scrutiny Improvements

Due to the fact that the current term of office was coming to an end, the Scrutiny Research and Support Officer suggested that it would be a good idea to reflect on and evaluate how the Council’s scrutiny function had performed over the last four years.  Members comments were to be welcomed and also consideration could be given to some suggested improvements for the next term of office.


It was important that the credibility of the scrutiny function including its Members was maintained with a constant eye to raising its profile wherever possible.  A strengthening of engagement with stakeholders during the review process would benefit both the Panel’s deliberations and fulfil the Council’s ongoing commitment towards transparent and informative engagement.


A reconsideration of scrutiny committee memberships and format (i.e. thematic panels) could be undertaken whilst ensuing that all new scrutiny members are fully  ...  view the full minutes text for item SA.16