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Contact: Lisa Jerome (01438) 242203
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Michelle Gardner.
There were no declarations of interest.
MINUTES - 11 NOVEMBER 2019 PDF 68 KB
The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee sitting as a select committee on 11 November were agreed as a correct record at the meeting of the 18 December 2019 O&S Committee. The Minutes are represented for noting as part of the review.
It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 11 November 2019 be noted subject to Councillor Margaret Notley being added to the attendance for the meeting.
POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF THE FUNCTION PDF 76 KB
To consider possible recommendations for the review derived from the self-evaluation scoring matrix comments.
The Committee considered possible recommendations for the review derived from the self-evaluation scoring matrix comments.
The following recommendations were agreed:
(i) Use the Customer Service Centre & Satisfaction Surveys data as a source to generate local issues to scrutinise;
(ii) Work with Scrutiny Members to capture their ideas – possibly with a one day event to gather ideas rather than relying on the current survey;
(iii) Address the problem of the lag in the system – describe as a rolling work programme that items can drop off and be added to during the year but still be published in the spring
(iv) The process must be Member led with Scrutiny Members having the last word on subjects to scrutinise
(v) The Communications Team should be asked to advise on what is trending on social media.
(i) That prior to a review starting, a short introductory background presentation detailing the issues around the scrutiny be brought to Members, this would help all Members but especially new Councillors who may not be familiar with the issues and process
(ii) An updated scoping document identifying the changes, should be provided at strategic points during a review, reflecting on any changes of focus or additions and what has been achieved so far
(iii) That all Scrutiny Members be given the chance to comment on the scope
Evidence Gathering/site visits/interviews:
(i) Promote ways to engage more with the public in the evidence gathering process
(ii) Provide a range of options including some evenings for Member site visits
(iii) Provide opportunities to engage with all Scrutiny Members on a Committee and acknowledge Members who take a lead role in a specific issue the review.
Final Reports and recommendations
(i) Review final reports should incorporate fewer, SMART, recommendations relevant to the objective of the Scrutiny, to maintain the review’s impact (where possible these could be grouped together)
(ii) That a process be drawn together to invite comment from all Scrutiny Members regarding the final report and recommendations – (possibly an item on an agenda with draft recommendations for comment and amendment prior to the publishing of the final report)
(i) That officers are expected to adopt recommendations that are in scrutiny reports once agreed with the relevant Portfolio Holder, but that this should be acknowledged in responses and not passed off as being current practise when it is actually in response to the review.
(ii) Executive responses should be displayed prominently on the Council’s web site (in addition to just being published with an agenda on the web site).
(iii) Following a review the loop should be closed by providing feedback to
witnesses and with any tenants or members of the public who have contributed via a satisfaction survey.
(i) That an action tracker be reported to each Committee meeting to enable the monitoring of outcomes and recommendations from previous reviews;
(ii) That the Portfolio Holder Advisory Groups be Chaired by Scrutiny Members as a Pre Scrutiny Advisory Group, which could ... view the full decision text for item 3.
SURVEY OF HERTS SCRUTINY NETWORK PDF 61 KB
To consider the responses received from the County Council and two District Councils regarding a short survey about their response to the Statutory Scrutiny Guidance and the way scrutiny is conducted at their authority.
The meeting considered the responses received from the County Council and 2 District Authorities regarding a short survey about their response to the Statutory Scrutiny Guidance and the way scrutiny was conducted in their authority.
Members agreed that the Scrutiny Officer should include an agenda item for all meetings incorporating an action plan to enable members to monitor outcomes or scrutiny recommendations made previously.
The possibility of appointing opposition members as chairs of scrutiny was discussed although it was agreed that the importance of those Chairs having the necessary skills, commitment and knowledge was of more importance. It was agreed that the feedback was not clear on way other authorities undertook pre-scrutiny work.
Officers agreed to circulate to Members the original report establishing the Portfolio Holder Advisory Groups.
A number of Members were interested in a scrutiny review of those authorities who had returned to the pre-2000 committee system and how it was working within those Councils.
It was RESOLVED that the responses be noted.
CENTRE FOR PUBLIC SCRUTINY (CfPS) SUMMARY OF STATUTORY GUIDANCE SYMPOSIUM PDF 58 KB
To consider the notes from the summary of the CfPS Symposium on the Statutory Guidance, which it is hoped will assist Members with their review of the Scrutiny Function.
The Committee considered the notes from the summary of the CfPS Symposium on the Statutory Scrutiny Guidance.
The committee considered the guidance relating to the appointment of scrutiny chairs in particular the appointment being made by non-executive members only or by secret ballot. Members noted that the Guidance recommended that each authority should consider selecting their Chairs by secret ballot, but reiterated that this was ultimately a matter for each authority to decide.
It was RESOLVED that the report be noted.
URGENT PART 1 BUSINESS
To consider any Part 1 business accepted by the Chair as urgent.
EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
To consider the following motions –
1. That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs1 – 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.
2. That Members consider the reasons for the following reports being in Part II and determine whether or not maintaining the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
URGENT PART II BUSINESS
To consider any Part II business accepted by the Chair as urgent.