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Scrutiny Inquiry Day

This page lists the meetings for Scrutiny Inquiry Day.

  • 22 Mar 2016 10.00 am - Agenda, Draft Minutes; Scrutiny Inquiry Day to examine a wide range of integrated transport solutions for the East of Bath.

Information about Scrutiny Inquiry Day


Where does Policy Development & Scrutiny fit within the Councils Decision-making structure?


The main decision making powers in Bath & North East Somerset Council lie with eight Councillors who sit on the Cabinet. Overview and Scrutiny is the name in legislation given to the system of checks and balances implemented by the rest of the Councillors as they monitor the activity of the Cabinet and also assist them in developing policy. In Bath & North East Somerset Council, it is known as Policy Development and Scrutiny


Different Councils Structure this in different ways, here in B&NES there is a clear division between the roles and responsibilities of these two functions:-

·  The Cabinet is intended to create clear leadership and clear accountability for service delivery.

·  By contrast, Policy Development and Scrutiny is intended to review the work of the Cabinet and to enhance the performance of services. It is also designed to provide a forum through which policy review and policy development can be extensively examined before consideration and decision by the Cabinet and/or Full Council.

·  The scrutiny function is delivered through 4 Policy Development & Scrutiny Panels (PDS) and one Select Committee who oversee a specific broad area of work, generally matching the executive portfolios. These include:


They meet approx. 6-7 times per year.

·  In addition to regular meetingsPolicy Development and Scrutiny Panel's in Bath & North East Somerset carry out reviews. These involve undertaking a mixture of "Overview", "Scrutiny" and "Policy Development" on a selected subject, which may be a review of a policy or an investigation of an issue of local concern.


How do PDS Panels and Select Committees operate?


·  All PDS Panels / Select Committees are initiated and led by councillors and have a Chair. Membership consists (non-executive) councillors of all parties, and may also include co-optees from voluntary organisations, and other outside agencies.

·  They achieve their impact and effect change through making recommendations to the Cabinet, Executive Members, Full Council or partnerships.

·  PDS Panel / Select Committees formal meetings are open to the public, and have a slot on the agenda for public statements. Their agendas and minutes are available to the public. Scrutiny Inquiry Days are often informal and may not be open to the public, although their final reports and recommendations will be a public document.

·  It is standard practice for PDS Panels / Select Committees to invite people with relevant experience or knowledge to give information, expert opinion or advice. Such experts may be Council officers, outside agencies, academics, voluntary organisations, community or campaign groups, local residents, service users etc. This brings a wider expertise to bear on the examination and discussion of issues, and enables a more thorough exploration.


What is a Scrutiny Inquiry Day? 



This is a mechanism for a short single topic scrutiny, for use where a formal meeting may not be effective or appropriate, or to review progress in an area which has already been the subject of scrutiny work.


The aim is to develop a greater understanding of an issue that involves many organisations (in addition to the Council) and then develop ways forward/recommendations in an inclusive manner, in a workshop-style setting. 


In an inquiry like this, it is on-the-day assessment of findings, and development of conclusions and recommendations (in conjunction with other interested parties) that differs from a traditional “contributor session” in more complex reviews. 


How will the Scrutiny Enquiry Day achieve an impact?

Recommendations from the day will be submitted to the relevant Cabinet Member. It equally possible that some of the recommendations will not require a Cabinet response and these will be submitted to the appropriate partnership bodies.

Since scrutiny methodology often involves bringing together practitioners and strategic-level staff from different sectors and Council departments to act as expert witnesses, scrutiny activities may have a lasting beneficial effect beyond their immediate aims, in terms of facilitating communication and co-operation.