Overview and Scrutiny

What is Overview and Scrutiny? 

Overview and Scrutiny plays an important role in the council decision making process. 

Overview and Scrutiny panels review decisions made by the Executive (members of the council’s cabinet) and make recommendations to ensure that the people of North Lincolnshire get the best out of their public services. Overview and Scrutiny panels also play an important role in helping to develop council policies for the benefit of local people. 

Scrutiny Panel meetings will normally focus on one or a combination of the following overview and scrutiny functions: 

  • Policy review and development
  • Overview of policy, procedure and performance
  • Regular meetings with Cabinet Members
  • Added items
  • Performance monitoring and assessment
  • Improvement and action plan monitoring
  • Health scrutiny functions
  • Joint scrutiny with other partners
  • Councillor call for action
  • Crime and disorder committee issues
  • Flood management responsibilities
  • Safeguarding responsibilities
  • Call-in of executive functions 

Each panel sets its own work programme. Scrutiny reviews usually involve: 

  • Project planning or scoping a scrutiny review
  • Evidence gathering
  • Analysis and evaluation
  • Conclusion reaching, or
  • Holding the council’s Executive and/or external partners to account
  • Making recommendations. 

On occasions it may be necessary or desirable to include a mix of these overview and scrutiny functions on the agenda for a single meeting, especially if two or more topics are being scrutinised concurrently. 

The panels mainly look at services provided by the council but can also look at wider issues involving partners or agencies, for example health trusts and organisations, Police, Fire and the voluntary sector. 

The council has appointed four scrutiny panels. Health, Places and Governance panels comprise of three members, two members of the Conservative Group and one member of the Labour Group.  The Children and Education Scrutiny Panel comprises seven members, six members of the Conservative Group and one member of the Labour Group.  This reflects the overall political composition of the Council (when dealing with education matters four statutory co-opted members, 2 parent governor and 2 church representatives are also voting members of a panel).

All councillors, except members of the Executive, may be members of a scrutiny panel. However, no member may be involved in scrutinising a decision of another of the council’s other committees or sub committees of which they are also a member. (This does not include scrutiny panel members who may also be ‘lead members’, unless they have a clear conflict of interests, which should be declared in any case).

The scrutiny panels have scheduled meetings every three weeks, (but can meet more often). They may also establish sub-groups. Meetings may involve:

  • Questioning ‘witnesses’ or experts
  • Literature reviews
  • Site visits
  • Consultation exercises
  • Written submissions from professionals, businesses and community groups.

Scrutiny panels then consider their findings and all the evidence they have collected before making recommendations to the executive on how services could be improved or developed to best meet the needs of the residents and businesses of North Lincolnshire.

A scrutiny panel’s findings and recommendations are published in reports, which are debated and endorsed by the council’s Executive/Cabinet. Action plans are then prepared and approved by the Executive/Cabinet for implementation of the recommendations.