Scrutiny

Page updated on: 20/03/2019

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Scrutiny plays a key role in improving the services that the people and children of Carmarthenshire use. The scrutiny function is also useful in ensuring that Council policies reflect current priorities, as well as promoting efficiency and encouraging effective partnership working with external bodies. Carmarthenshire County Council has 5 Scrutiny Committees: 

  • Policy & Resources
  • Community
  • Education & Children
  • Environmental & Public Protection  
  • Social Care & Health

The Committees normally meet 8 times a year on a 6 weekly basis to consider issues and reports included in a scrutiny forward work programme, which is developed at the beginning of the municipal year (i.e. May-April). Additional meetings are sometimes arranged if required and special or joint meetings may be held to consider urgent or cross-cutting issues. The scrutiny committees are politically balanced to reflect, as far as possible, the political composition of the Council as a whole. The chairs and vice-chairs of committees are appointed at the beginning of each municipal year for a period of one year (May - April). 

The majority of decisions are made by the Executive Board of 10 county councillors. Scrutiny offers the other 64 councillors an opportunity to influence those decisions and act as a 'critical friend'. It is also useful in ensuring that Council policies reflect current priorities, as well as promoting efficiency and encouraging effective partnership working with external bodies.

Scrutiny Committees’ main roles and responsibilities are to:

  • Examine how well the Executive Board and Council are performing.
  • Hold the Executive Board to account and seek to promote open and transparent decision-making.
  • Monitor the performance of the Council’s services and functions.
  • Review decisions made by the Executive Board where appropriate.
  • Assist the Executive Board in the development, monitoring and review of policy.
  • Scrutinise, as a key element of the consultation process, the proposed revenue budget strategy and capital investment programmes.
  • Enable the participation of external organisations and partners in consideration of issues that may impact upon the delivery of Council and countywide priorities.

Policy & Resources
This is the main overarching committee which has a key responsibility for monitoring authority-wide policy and performance issues and is the designated Scrutiny Committee for scrutinising the Carmarthenshire Public Service Board. It also monitors topics such as Finance, Council Property, Information Technology, Communications, Customer Services, Procurement and Human Resources.


Community
This committee’s main responsibilities are for Housing (both Social and Private Sector), Community Regeneration, Economic Development, European and Externally Funded Programmes, Libraries, Arts and Theatres, Museums and Archives, Countryside facilities, Sports, Leisure and Recreation.


Education & Children
This service-specific committee’s focus is on Education Standards & Schools, Inclusion & Additional Learning Needs, Welsh Medium Education and School Modernisation. It also monitors Adult Community Learning, Youth Services, Youth Offending, Safeguarding as well as Children’s Services (including Social Services and Family Support Services).


Environmental & Public Protection
This Committee’s remit covers a number of departments and its main responsibilities are for visible front line services (e.g. highways, street cleaning, waste and recycling services, town-centre management, grounds maintenance, public conveniences, bus shelters and maintenance of car parks), transport, road safety, Conservation, Shoreline Management & Coastal Protection, Public Protection (Air Pollution, Trading Standards, Pest control & Environmental Health), Community Safety and Environmental Enforcement (e.g. litter, dog fouling). This is the Council’s designated committee for crime and disorder matters.


Social Care & Health
This is another service-specific committee with responsibility for Social services for older people, adults with learning disabilities, Support for Carers, Mental health services, Safeguarding of Adults, Dementia Services and Physical Disabilities.

Each Scrutiny Committee is required to produce and publish a planned programme of work called a ‘Forward Work Programme’ (FWP), to cover the period of a municipal year (i.e. May - April). The FWP includes a range of issues and reports to be considered over the course of a year and is usually formulated to reflect issues emerging from the Executive Board’s own FWP.

The FWPs are developed by members of each of the Scrutiny Committees and are designed to be flexible so that they are capable of reacting to urgent issues. The FWPs also reflect Scrutiny Committees’ roles in performance monitoring, policy development and investigative scrutiny. The Council’s Scrutiny Committees develop their FWPs for the period May to April the following year and these are normally confirmed by the respective committees at their meetings in May/June of each year.

The latest Policy & Resources, Community, Education & Children, Environmental & Public Protection and Social Care & Health Scrutiny Committees' FWPs for 2019/20 are available to read online.

Please note that revised work programmes will be published on this site on a quarterly basis.

As part of their investigative role, Scrutiny Committees can establish a Task & Finish Group during each municipal year. These are sub-groups of the main committee which are asked to investigate specific issues and report back findings and recommendations for approval before presenting them to the Executive Board.

The purpose of task and finish groups is to contribute to the development of new policy or to undertake a piece of investigative scrutiny work and they have been instrumental in strengthening the policy development / investigative roles of scrutiny during the past few years.

The most recently completed reviews are listed below:

Each Scrutiny Committee produces an annual report detailing its work during the past year.  The latest annual reports are available below.

In addition, a Scrutiny Function Annual Report is produced every year which provides an overview of the Council's scrutiny function and the work undertaken by the respective Scrutiny Committees during the previous municipal year. The latest report is available below.

 

The involvement of local residents, community organisations and partners is an important part of the Carmarthenshire scrutiny process and our Councillors are committed to responding to the views and concerns of residents.

Getting involved in scrutiny is one of the best ways to influence decision making at the Council, as Councillors will hear your experiences first hand. There are a number of ways you can get involved in the work of scrutiny at the council:

  • Attending a Scrutiny meeting
  • Keeping up-to-date with what's happening in scrutiny
  • Suggesting a topic for review
  • Contribute evidence for scrutiny reviews

All scrutiny meetings are open to the public except where exempt information has to be discussed. A list of meeting dates and agenda items can be found on the council's meeting diary.  If you would like to attend a meeting simply come along to the meeting venue (stated on the front of the agenda).

Scrutiny provides the opportunity for the public to become involved in the Council's activities. You can request that an item be placed on the agenda and if you are a resident of Carmarthenshire or own a business or are employed within Carmarthenshire you may ask questions at Scrutiny meetings. Further information is included in our Scrutiny Procedure Rules 10. (3) and (4) or contact us for further information

Keeping up-to-date with what's happening in Scrutiny

There are a number of ways you can keep up to date with what is happening in Scrutiny, you can:-

  • Subscribe to RSS feed on our website which will automatically update you when agendas and minutes are published. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and is a easily way to keep updated on Scrutiny Committee work. The subscribe button is at the top of this page.
  • Download the gov app which will allow you to automatically download and view meeting paper
  • Check our Facebook and Twitter feeds for regular updates.

Suggesting a topic for review

  • If you think there is an issue that scrutiny should look at, then let us know. You can suggest a topic for review by emailing us, or by downloading and posting our topic suggestion form.

Contribute evidence for Scrutiny reviews

When undertaking in scrutiny work, especially in depth reviews, Councillors hope to receive a wide-range of evidence from a number of sources. Submitting evidence will help ensure that your voice is heard and that the Councillors make recommendations that will improve the services from a users perspective. If you are interested in any issues and would like to submit evidence please contact us.

Democratic Services Unit, Carmarthenshire County Council, County Hall, Carmarthen, SA31 1JP

Tel: 01267 224028 | E-mail: scrutiny@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

Council & Democracy