Scrutiny

Overview and Scrutiny plays an important part in how we make decisions and deliver services in Derby. It acts as a 'watchdog' or 'critical friend' to Council Cabinet and other decision makers by asking the questions members of public would ask about our services, policies and decisions.

Contents

How does the Council make decisions?

Key decisions are made by Council Cabinet. A key decision is considered any decision which has a significant impact on two or more wards or has a financial impact of above £250,000.

The Leader of the Council chairs Council Cabinet meetings, and appoints the councillors who will discharge the executive functions of the authority. These councillors are known as Cabinet Members.

Council Cabinet is made up of eight councillors with areas of responsibility (a portfolio) that together cover all services delivered by the Council. To learn more about Council Cabinet, visit the Decision making in Derby page.

What are Overview and Scrutiny Boards?

Councillors who are not Cabinet Members still have an important job to do. These councillors have roles to play on regulatory panels and committees, and the majority sit on one or more of our Overview and Scrutiny Boards.

There are six Overview and Scrutiny Boards, which between them cover all Council functions, as well as services provided by other public bodies such as health, police and the fire service. We also have a Corporate Parenting Committee which considers all issues relating to children and young people in care.

Each Overview and Scrutiny Board is made up of councillors from the different political groups. The number of councillors from each party reflects the political balance of the Council.

The Executive Scrutiny Board is the main body by which the key decisions made by Council Cabinet are reviewed. Executive Scrutiny acts as an umbrella to the other scrutiny boards, with membership comprised of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of those boards. The five other boards conduct topic reviews pertinent to the authority, aid in policy development, conduct early stage consultation and review service performance.

The six 'Overview and Scrutiny' committees are:

What do Overview and Scrutiny Boards do?

Each Overview and Scrutiny Board has a range of areas they are responsible for examining. These often span both Cabinet Member portfolios and service directorates within the Council.

The boards scrutinise decisions and policies that the Cabinet Members are making, that relate to the issues in their remit. Their role is to hold the decision makers to account by challenging these decisions, ensuring that they have been taken in the best interest of Derby residents as well as improving the quality and delivery of local services.

The scrutiny of decisions is carried out in public in an impartial manner, mainly through scheduled meetings held throughout the year. These meetings can involve thorough questioning of Cabinet Members, council officers and representatives of partner organisations about their decisions and policies.

The main role of the scrutiny boards is to look at policies and proposals before decisions are taken. This enables members to influence the development of service improvements and ensure that the decisions being made are done transparently and in accordance with the council's decision making procedures.

Cabinet Members, council officers, representatives of external organisations or experts on a particular subject may be asked to attend meetings to give information and respond to questions. Board members can also speak to local people who will be affected by the decisions being taken.

The aim of scrutiny is to make sure that decision makers are held accountable and local services are fit for purpose. To increase their understanding of a particular issue, boards may ask for presentations and written reports, or they may request surveys to be carried out or go on fact finding visits.

Scrutiny has legal powers to ask representatives from some other public organisations to attend. These are called 'responsible authorities' and include:

  • Police
  • Police Authority
  • Fire and Rescue Service
  • Local Authority
  • Probation
  • Health Authority

What is meant by a Call-in?

If any three councillors feel that a key decision taken by the Cabinet is wrong, they can ask the relevant Scrutiny Board to 'call-in' the decision.

Councillors who ask for the 'call-in' have to prove that the decision is wrong on one of the following grounds:

  • Proportionality - the action must be proportionate to the desired outcome 
  • Due consultation - professional advice must have been taken from officers
  • A presumption in favour of openness - all relevant information in the public interest must have been disclosed
  • Clarity of aims and desired outcomes
  • Respect for human rights

Call-in also applies if a record has not been provided of what options were considered, the reasons for that decision and if relevant issues do not appear to have been taken into consideration

If councillors wish to call-in a decision, a notice must be submitted within five working days of the publication of the minutes of the Council Cabinet meeting, stating which of the principles has been breached.

The call-in suspends the implementation of the decision until it has been considered by the Executive Scrutiny Board, which must meet within ten working days to consider it. The views of the board are then referred back to Council Cabinet or in certain circumstances to Council.

For more information, download our call-in procedure which explains the process in greater detail.

Which councillors are members of the Overview and Scrutiny Boards?

 Many of the city's Councillors hold positions on the Overview and scrutiny boards, you can find out more on the Overview and Scrutiny Board pages.

What Committees are there?

The Council has a number of Committees that cover regulatory topics such as Licencing and Planning, as well Corporate Parenting and Personnell. 

Who are the Council Champions? 

A number of Councillors act as Champions for specific areas. The 2016/2017 Champions are below:

Champions

Disability – Councillor Pegg
Minority Ethnic Communities – Councillor Banwait
Older People – Councillor Turner
Children and Young People – Councillor Anderson
Sexuality – Councillor Eldret
Gender – Councillor Eldret
Anti-Fraud – Councillor Hezelgrave
Corporate Safeguarding – Councillor Whitby

What is the Council's annual report?

The Council is required to publish an annual report detailing activities carried out by Overview and Scrutiny during the year. For more information, download the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2015-16.

Who supports the Overview and Scrutiny process?

A small but dedicated team of Democratic Services Officers support each of the Overview and Scrutiny Boards.

Together with the wider Democracy section, they provide research, advice, guidance and administrative support to scrutiny members.

How can I get involved?

Overview and scrutiny boards conduct their work in an open forum and welcome members of the public to attend meetings and observe proceedings.

We also welcome your views, suggestions and comments on issues affecting the city. Suggestions from members of the public will be considered by boards as part of their discussions on their annual work programme.

You can give your suggestions for consideration by members by emailing committee@derby.gov.uk.

Contact details

Email:
Post address:
Organisation and Governance Directorate
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS
Phone: 01332 643648
Minicom: 01332 640666
Organisation and Governance Directorate
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS

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