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Overview and scrutiny


Get involved

Do you have any suggestions for topics you would like the council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee or Budget and Performance Panel to consider?

Both bodies meet on a regular basis and would like to hear from you if you have a suggestion. Your topic could be something which the council is responsible for, or a more general issue affecting the area.

If you have a suggestion, please contact Stephen Metcalfe on 01524 582073, email scrutiny@lancaster.gov.uk or write to:

Overview and Scrutiny
Democratic Services
Town Hall
Dalton Square
Lancaster
LA1 1PJ


Introduction

Overview and Scrutiny is an important role and tool for promoting the best interests and well-being of the district, and ensuring that local people receive high quality services that are relevant to their needs. The ultimate aim of Overview and Scrutiny is to assist the council in realising its district-wide aim:

Promoting city, coast and countryside, we will achieve lasting opportunities for all in a safe and healthy district that's proud of its natural and cultural assets.

The key principles of effective scrutiny are to:

  • Provide 'critical friend challenge' to decision makers
  • Consider the concerns of the public and communities
  • Be led and owned by 'independent minded' councillors 
  • Positively impact on the delivery of services

What is overview and scrutiny?

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee aims to evaluate all the decisions made by the council and hold meetings to discuss the decisions made, often asking for them to be reconsidered, and also the areas and services they feel the council could perform better in.

Task Groups are set up by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to investigate how the council can perform better such as in the provision of cemeteries, how homelessness can be reduced, how young people can have greater involvement in decision making and assessing the value of the council's civic traditions.


Five roles for overview and scrutiny

  1. Holding Cabinet, Individual Cabinet Members and Chief Officers to Account and ensuring Corporate Priorities are met.
  2. Policy Development and Review
  3. External Scrutiny i.e. Healthcare Providers, Education Institutions, Public Transport Providers, Emergency Services etc.
  4. Performance Management and Best Value
  5. Engaging the Public, Press and Partner Organisations

Annual scrutiny reports and the scrutiny handbook for the guidance of members, officers and members of the public can be downloaded from the right hand menu.

Timetable of past and future meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny committee including Agenda and Minutes.


Budget and performance panel

The Budget and Performance Panel is a function of overview and scrutiny that has responsibility for carrying out scrutiny of the council's budget and performance at both strategic and service level. 

More information on the budget and performance panel and details of its meetings.


Task groups

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is responsible for establishing Task and Finish Groups to carry out reviews and investigations into any matters that they would like to be scrutinised in detail. Task Groups will review the performance and plans for specific service areas or focus on areas of concern. These may also include services outside the council.


Centre for Public Scrutiny

The Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) is an independent body created to promote the value of scrutiny in modern and effective government and support non-executives in their scrutiny role. The CfPS also support scrutineers through events, networks, publications, online services and project work.


See also

Last updated: 03 June 2016