Overview and Scrutiny

Overview and Scrutiny
Councillors who are not members of the Cabinet (the Council’s decision-making body) are usually involved in overview and scrutiny.

There are two main overview and scrutiny roles:

Holding decision-makers to account (scrutiny)

Overview and Scrutiny councilors can question decision-makers from the Council (Cabinet members and senior officers) and other public service providers about decisions and services in the City.
It is about councillors representing people’s collective interests to ensure public services are provided in the way people want within the limited money available.

Policy development and review (overview)

A more pro-active role is to look at draft policies and service proposals before they are considered and approved by decision-takers. Anything that councillors comment on or recommend is considered by decision-makers before policies and services plans are approved. Councillors can also review policy or develop new policy.

Councilors carry out the role in two main ways:
1) In formal public committees: 
You can view the dates and times of their forthcoming meetings, and the agendas for those meetings by following the links above.
You can also register for free on this page to receive electronic agendas of the meetings to your e-mail address.
2) In task and finish groups:
Overview and scrutiny committees can set up small groups of councillors, and sometimes people from communities or other organisations, to look at particular tasks or issues.  The groups collect information and involve others in many different ways, such as through visits, questionnaires and social media.  The group will write a report, usually with recommendations, which is considered by the committee which set it up, and passed to decision-makers for them to consider and respond.

A comprehensive review of the City Centre Night Time Economy took place two years ago - you can view its Final Report from this link.
On 12 March 2015 at 10am a public meeting of the City Renewal Overview and Scrutiny committee will take place at the Civic Centre in Stoke to look at how its recommendations are being implemented. It will also explore the current position and hear about the recent on-going changes and planned changes taking place in the City Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend, if you want to say something you think the committee will find useful please email scrutiny@stoke.gov.uk.  All comments will be considered by the Committee.

The following task and finish groups are taking place at present

  • Accident and Emergency (A&E) - The Adult and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny  Committee has set up a task group to look at patient experience in the A&E department, with particular attention on movement between wards/units such as A&E to the Acute Medical Unit. The emphasis is on people with special needs such as hard of hearing, dementia, learning disabilities, mental health etc., looking at how they are treated, and any problems they have encountered due to their condition (e.g. communication).

    The group asked a number of groups to take part in the review and provide information, such as Healthwatch and the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), in order to gain an insight into patients' experiences.

    The group's final report will be submitted to the Adults and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee shortly. 
  • Leases: Process and Delivery - the Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee has set this up to understand the process and policy that presently exists for the Council to negotiate commercial leases, third party leases and leases with individual citizens. 
  • Disability Adaptions - The Adult and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee set up this review to look at the service we provide to people requiring disability adaptions. These can range from hand rails to stair lifts and wet rooms. The group have collected information from a number of sources and have looked at waiting times, complaints, assessment process and the funds available to provide services. Service users have been consulted and the group has also visited the Independent living Centre in Trentham.

    The group are currently compiling their report which should be reported to the Adult and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee in April.

Reports from previous task and finish reviews can be found on this page

How can you take part?

  • You can attend the public committee meetings (follow the links above for further detail) 
  • You can contribute to requests for information that are posted on this web-site. Requests for information are also made from the Council’s facebook and Twitter pages.
  • You can make suggestions for overview and scrutiny to look at particular topics that are a collective issue for people in the City by completing a suggestion form.

Want to know more?

Further information can be obtained from overview and scrutiny team on (01782) 233018 / 232723, or by e-mail to scrutiny@stoke.gov.uk

You can also view the national Centre for Public Scrutiny website - www.cfps.org.uk

The documents below, which can be viewed or downloaded, provide a guide to overview and scrutiny in Stoke-on-Trent, including how you can become involved.


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