What are Overview and Scrutiny Committees?
We have four Overview and Scrutiny Committees. They investigate issues affecting the communities of Staffordshire. These committees each meet at least six times per year with additional meetings also taking place when they are required. Each committee is made up of county councillors from the different political parties represented on the county council.
Some committees also have a number of co-opted members who are either district or borough councillors or who are co-opted for their particular expertise. Committee meetings take place regularly and are usually open for the public to attend.
What do Overview and Scrutiny Committees do?
Overview and Scrutiny Committees are one of the ways that county councillors work together to check that the people of Staffordshire are receiving the best possible services. Overview and Scrutiny Committees don't just look at services delivered by the county council but also services provided by local partners like the NHS and the Police.
Overview and Scrutiny Committees cannot make decisions or take on individual complaints, but they can explore issues in depth and make recommendations to the council cabinet (decision makers) and other purchasers and providers of public services.
How do Overview and Scrutiny Committees organise their work?
Every May, each Overview and Scrutiny Committee prepares an annual work programme. This document provides a list of topics and reports that the committee would like to look at. The work programme is updated at committee meetings and changed to include new priorities from members and arising issues of public concern.
Meeting agendas and papers
These can be accessed below:
How can Overview and Scrutiny Committees make recommendations?
A key role of an Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to make recommendations that will lead to improvements in services. One of the ways that they will do this is to investigate a topic in depth, this is called a scrutiny review. To do a review a committee may:
- hear from external witnesses
- invite reports from officers working for the county council or partners
- ask questions of the relevant cabinet members
- ask members of the public and service users for their views
- research best practice at other local authorities or organisations
When complete, an Overview and Scrutiny Committee sends a report which includes their conclusions and recommendations to the appropriate person. This is usually the cabinet member or the lead for an external organisation, for example the chair of a clinical commissioning group.
They are then asked to report back to the committee with an action plan on how the recommendations will be put in place or a reason why a recommendation has not been agreed.
The committee then monitors how recommendations are put in place by inviting them back to Committee meetings and asking questions on progress.
How can I get involved?
There are lots of ways that you can get involved in the Scrutiny process. Find out more on our get involved pages.