Overview and Scrutiny

Overview and Scrutiny
Overview and scrutiny is about councillors working with local people, the community, council teams and other organisations to improve the quality of life for everyone in Stoke-on-Trent.
We want the public to get involved in overview and scrutiny and would like to know what you think about services that we are looking at. Please follow the link to the current topics for scrutiny to see how you can participate in the process and give us your views. 
Overview and Scrutiny Committees do not make decisions, but can be involved in the council’s work in other ways. They can suggest ways to improve policies and services, and monitor decisions that have been made by the Cabinet.  You can view the latest Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report (2013/14) to see how overview and scrutiny has been working in Stoke-on-Trent during the past year.
Overview and Scrutiny Committees welcome suggestions for subjects to be considered, although overview and scrutiny is not a complaints system, and there is a separate Corporate Complaints System for use by members of the public.
There are four Overview and Scrutiny Committees which are committed to making their work as open to the public as they can.  You can view the dates and times of their forthcoming meetings, and the agendas for those meetings by following these links: 
The Committees can ask the Cabinet to look again at a decision it has made but not yet carried out. This process is called “call-in”.   You can find out more about the “call-in” process by following the link on this page.
Anybody is welcome to attend overview and scrutiny committee meetings, except where personal or other confidential items are being considered.  Members of the public cannot ask questions or make statements when attending a committee meeting, although an overview and scrutiny Committee can invite you to give them information, either in person or in writing.
Overview and scrutiny Committees can also set up Task and Finish groups in response to a request for detailed scrutiny/activity on a topic.  A Task and Finish group is a small group of Councillors who carry out a specific, time-limited piece of work.  Links to reviews currently taking place, and to final reports of past Groups can be found by following the links on this page.
The aims of overview and scrutiny are to some extent laid down by the government. To get the most out of the overview and scrutiny function we need to: 
  • bring in the views of local people and communities - submit YOUR suggestion for scrutiny review by using the form at the foot of this page;
  • help improve council policies and services so they meet people's needs better, looking at the issues from a resident's point of view;
  • contribute to the review and development of council policies, to make sure that they do what was intended;
  • make sure the council is open about the way decisions are made;
  • make sure the council measures its own performance and regularly reports in public on how well it is keeping its promises;
  • hold the Cabinet and those officers responsible for putting policy in place and delivering services to account;
  • look beyond the authority at issues and organisations that affect local quality of life;
  • help better joining up of public and other services; and
  • focus on outcome and improvement.
If you want to find out more, please see the Guides to Overview and Scrutiny, which can be viewed or downloaded from this page. You will need adobe acrobat reader to open these files, which is available as a free download from the Adobe internet site at www.adobe.com
Or, for further information please contact the scrutiny team on (01782) 233018 / 232723, or by e-mail to scrutiny@stoke.gov.uk  

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