Overview and Scrutiny
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 Overview and Scrutiny Committee will prioritise topics and allocate them to Select Committees according to what matters most to local people, where scrutiny can add more value and where it can deliver clear outcomes.
What issues should we look at?
Scrutiny looks at issues that matter most to our residents. If you would like to suggest a topic for the work programme please email [email protected] or you can send your suggestions to the Scrutiny Team at Kensington Town Hall, W8 7NX.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
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
- 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
Please see the Select Committee pages to view their terms of reference and the topics prioritised for review.
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
The lessons from Grenfell are at the heart of the Council Plan and vision for a Greener, Safer, Fairer Borough and also features prominently in the scrutiny work programme. Scrutiny of the Grenfell recovery takes 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 are therefore 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.
How scrutiny works?
At formal Scrutiny meetings a range of people can contribute - 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 sometimes include a ‘call for evidence’. 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 are planned and publicised in advance so that local people have a better chance to contribute.
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: [email protected].
Scrutiny of July Flooding
On Monday 11 October, a meeting was held in the Council Chamber, Kensington Town Hall. It was an opportunity for residents to ask questions about and share their experiences of the flooding on 12 July 2021.
Representatives from Thames Water and Ofwat (the regulator of the water sector) attended the meeting and heard from Councillors and members of the public. You can watch a recording of the meeting below.
Following the meeting, Cllr Rossi, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee wrote to Thames Water with a number of recommendations from the meeting. The letter can be found below.