Scrutiny and Policy Overview - Christchurch Borough Council
The scrutiny work of the council is undertaken by the scrutiny and policy overview committee. This supports the work of the policy and resources committee and the council, as a whole. The committee can review any matter which affects the borough or its inhabitants.
Christchurch Borough Council aims to have a scrutiny function that adheres to the Centre for Public Scrutiny's four principles of good scrutiny:
- provide critical challenge to policy and decision makers
- enable the voice and concerns of the public to be heard
- is carried out by 'independent minded governors' who lead and own the scrutiny role
- drives improvement in public services
The role of the Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee is to:
- scrutinise and review decisions (other than quasi-judicial decisions) made or actions taken in connection with the discharge of the council's functions, as well as reviewing documentation, in fulfilling the scrutiny role. They may require any member of the Policy and Resources Committee or any member of the Corporate Team to attend, subject to any questions not being politically motivated. They can also invite other members to attend and answer questions
- the committee is also involved in the review of budget and policy frameworks, as well as other policies
The committee meets every eight weeks, is politically balanced and is made up of nine members. Cllr Colin Jamieson is the Chairman and Cllr David Jones is the Vice-Chairman. See dates of upcoming meetings.
The committee has a work programme setting out the key work areas it intends to review during the year. The plan is updated at each meeting.
Task and Finish Groups
The committee also has the the power to appoint for the purpose of conducting an in depth review of a service, policy or issue that affects the borough and which falls under the remit of the committee.
Task and Finish Groups are informal, usually small and time limited bodies comprising of members and sometimes co-optees brought in from outside, for their specific skills and experience.
Councillor call for action
Any member is entitled to refer to the Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee any local government matter which is relevant to the functions of the committee (Councillor Call for Action).
Call-in of decisions
Call-in should only be used in exceptional circumstances. This is where the Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committee has evidence which suggests that the Policy and Resources Committee has departed from the principles of decision-making. This is a formal mechanism whereby scrutiny committees can challenge executive decisions. The purpose of call-in is to give backbench members the opportunity to challenge decisions and hold decision makers to account, ensuring that executive powers are discharged properly.
The full call-in process can be found at 'Part 4, Rules of Procedure' in the Constitution of Christchurch Borough Council.
How to get involved in Scrutiny and Policy Overview
You can get involved by: