The Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Overview and Scrutiny has the power to look at anything which affects the borough and its local people. It is not possible for us to tackle every issue in a single year so the OSC will prioritise topics and allocate them to Select Committees according to what matters most for local people, where scrutiny can add more value and where it can deliver clear outcomes.
What issues should we look at?
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) looks at issues that matter most to our residents. We’re now developing a work programme for all scrutiny committees which will be agreed in September 2020.
How do we know what matters most to you?
Your views and experience of the matters that affect you, and your knowledge of what is happening in your neighbourhood are a key source for us in deciding what issues deserve attention.
We take on board the issues you raise with ward councillors, at council meetings and the views expressed in consultations, but these are indirect ways to infer what matters to you. We would like to hear directly from you to help us shape the work of the committees. Your suggestion could become one of the issues that scrutiny committees review this municipal year.
What issue (or issues) would you like Scrutiny Councillors to focus on and why?
Kensington Town Hall
The Town Hall
Following a brief pause on Overview and Scrutiny as result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) held a virtual meeting on Monday 1 June 2020. OSC members scrutinised the progress of the Grenfell Recovery Strategy and the Council’s response to the Covid-19 emergency.
The Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee key and statutory responsibilities include:
- annual ‘state of the borough’ presentation from the Leader and Chief Executive
- budget scrutiny
- crime and disorder – statutory scrutiny
- review of the Annual Scrutiny Work Programme for the remainder of the Municipal Year
- planning the consultation for the scrutiny work programme 2020/2021
- assessing the impact and effectiveness of Scrutiny
In addition to the above-mentioned responsibilities, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will also review the following prioritised topics:
- Grenfell Recovery Strategy
- Community Safety – including anti-social behaviour, CCTV, the new model of ward community support officers
- High Streets and Business Improvement and cultural branding (jointly with the Environment Select Committee)
Please see the Select Committee pages to view their terms of reference and the topics prioritised for review.
The four Select Committees will each meet in mid-October 2019 to decide how and when to review the topics allocated to them.
You can also find the full terms of reference for each scrutiny Committee on the Constitution page.
Better Scrutiny means better services for local people
This Council, like other councils up and down the country, must have a Scrutiny function. This is a way that backbench and Opposition councillors who are not part of the decision-making Leadership Team can hold those decision makers to account, identify service improvements and develop policy.
Scrutiny can be done in a wide variety of ways. It can happen at formal Scrutiny Committee meetings, in informal working groups, inquiry-type meetings or through information-gathering exercises such as residents’ panels or focus groups. A lot of the most effective Scrutiny work, especially identifying service or policy improvements which benefit residents, happens in these less formal settings.
The Council is keen to strengthen scrutiny and give it a focus on where it can make a real difference, following-up on what matters most to local people.
Scrutiny of ongoing Grenfell Recovery issues
Grenfell Recovery is the number one priority in the Council Plan and also features prominently in the scrutiny work programme. Scrutiny of the Grenfell recovery will take place through the overarching Overview and Scrutiny Committee and through all four new Select Committees in line with their theme – for example housing issues will be considered by Housing and Communities Select Committee, and health and wellbeing issues by the Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee.
Grenfell issues will therefore be looked at by five committees instead of one single committee, helping the Council to learn lessons from the tragedy and to allow a wider range of issues to be explored in greater depth.
Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will attend the Grenfell Community Assembly and will consider any suggested topics for scrutiny which arise at that meeting. See the Grenfell Community Assembly page for more information.
What will be different?
At formal Scrutiny meetings there will be a wider range of people contributing - not just Lead Members and senior officers, but also experts on relevant subjects. That way councillors can hear from many different voices and perspectives as they develop their recommendations about the things that matter to borough residents.
Working groups will include a ‘call for evidence’ at the start. That way residents will have an opportunity to contribute ideas and suggestions at the start of each review and contribute at meetings. But it’s not just about going to meetings – local people might prefer to send in written evidence or video clips. Some residents might want to volunteer to be co-opted members of working groups.
Scrutiny reviews will be planned and publicised in advance so that local people have a better chance to contribute.
There will be more meetings in the community – not formal committee style meetings but more informal meetings with more resident participation. Councillors may also attend meetings arranged by the community to observe and listen to residents. Information gathered will be brought back to the formal committee meetings.
The outcomes from reviews and the difference they have made to policies and services will be well-publicised so residents know what difference their involvement has made.
If you have any queries please email the Scrutiny Team at: Scrutiny@rbkc.gov.uk.