What is Scrutiny?
Scrutiny Committees ensure that a greater number of Councillors are involved in influencing Council policy and service improvements, and provide checks and balances on the decisions taken by the Cabinet. In Conwy there are four Overview and Scrutiny Committees:
- Finance and Resources
- Economy and Place
- Education and Skills
- Social Care and Health
Each Scrutiny Committee has a membership of nineteen Councillors, drawn from political parties within the Council membership to mirror the Council's overall political composition. There are also co-opted members that sit on our Scrutiny Committees, representing parent governors and representatives of the Church in Wales and Roman Catholic Dioceses.
What happens at a Scrutiny Committee meeting?
Scrutiny committees usually hold their meetings every six weeks. The meetings are open to the public, unless there is an item being discussed that includes exempt (confidential) information that cannot be disclosed to the public, in which case members of the public will have to leave the meeting.
When scrutinising an issue or topic, Councillors will be presented with background information, details of the service or policy being considered and the key challenges facing the Authority in relation to that service or policy.
The purpose of questioning at a Committee meeting is to learn from the officer(s) presenting the report and any witnesses, gather information and validate information that has previously been provided. Questioning can help to identify how efficient and effective our services are, how fair they are in providing access to all citizens, whether our services are performing well, what the key risks are, and how they could be improved.
After scrutinising an issue or topic the Committee will then make its recommendations to Cabinet.
How do Scrutiny Committees set their work programmes?
Setting the work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny Committees is an important stage in the scrutiny process, identifying key topics that will be considered in the coming year. Some key principles for setting work programmes are:
Topics should add value and support corporate priorities. Topics for the work programme come from a wide range of sources
As well as the topics identified by Councillors, Scrutiny Committees have standing items that they regularly consider, such as service area business plans, budget monitoring and performance monitoring.
How can the public get involved in Scrutiny?
The Council wants to make it easier for members of the public to get involved in scrutiny. That involvement can help the Council channel community intelligence into its improvement processes.
There are a number of ways in which the public can engage in the Overview and Scrutiny process. Through attending meetings, speaking at meetings, commenting on agendas and much more.
Overview and Scrutiny Engagement Protocol