Scrutiny Co-ordinating Panel – 30 September 2008

PRESENT: Councillor Davison in the chair.

Councillors Barker, Mrs Bromby, Bunyan, Cawsey, Sidell, Smith, Wardle and Wilson.

The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.

53 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS – There were no declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests.

54 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Scrutiny Co-ordinating Panel held on 24 June 2008 having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded.

55 PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – There were no requests received.

56 (3) OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY ANNUAL REPORT 2007 – 2008 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic submitted the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2007/08 for consideration, prior to its approval by council.

An oral overview of the report was provided. Members were advised how the report outlined the developments within Overview and Scrutiny in 2007/2008, work that had been undertaken by panels, performance monitoring requirements and also provided constructive feedback from the Comprehensive Performance Assessment. Future challenges for overview and scrutiny were also highlighted.

Discussions ensued over the new Performance Network/Framework, how this was still in its infancy and the uncertainties currently posed over the involvement of overview and scrutiny. The Service Director Legal and Democratic confirmed that discussions continued with Nigel Manders, Performance and Resources Co-ordinator, on finding a way forward.

It was suggested that further and more effective involvement with the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) and its board would be necessary to ensure that the panels remained fully informed of all developments.

Recommended to council – That the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2007/08 be approved.

Resolved – (a) That Local Strategic Partnership and monitoring its performance be included as an item on the next agenda for all four scrutiny panels, (b) that the thematic leads be invited to attend the respective scrutiny panel meeting to discuss a working format for monitoring the performance of the LSP at scrutiny panels, and (c) that the position be noted.

57 (4) RECENT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE UPDATES – The Service Director Legal and Democratic confirmed that the briefing documents had been circulated for information. He advised the panel that the information provided at present was limited and that further explanatory guidance was expected by the end of the year.

Members engaged in discussion over aspects outlined, specifically surrounding the visibility and accountability of public officers. Concerns were expressed as to how this would be effectively managed.

Resolved – (a) That the position be noted, and (b) that once further guidance is received this be circulated to all members of the panel.

58 FORWARD PLAN – The Chair advised members of the panel, that this item had been placed on the agenda following a request from the Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel. Concerns had been expressed over the lack of future key decisions appearing on the Leader of the council’s forward plan, and in particular overview and scrutiny panels not being consulted where stated.

Members discussed with the Service Director Legal and Democratic the review of ‘The Leader of the council’s forward plan’ completed in December 2005, and the recommendations made therein.

Resolved – (a) That the Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel revisit the review of “The Leader of the council’s forward plan” to ensure that the recommendations have been adopted, (b) that once an item is listed on the forward plan, the relevant scrutiny panel receive a briefing paper on the item from the appropriate service director, and (c) that the position be noted.

59 WORK PROGRAMME 2008/2009 – Update from Chair and Vice-Chair of each scrutiny panel – The chairs and vice-chairs of each of the four scrutiny panels for North Lincolnshire Council, were invited to provide a brief update to panel members on recent work completed and future work to be undertaken.

Resolved – That the position be noted.

60 MEMBER TRAINING – The chair expressed concerns over the lack of information and often short notice for corporate training events for members. She explained that several members had arrived recently to attend a training event, only to find that this had been cancelled. Members had not been notified of the change of date.

Resolved – (a) That the Service Director of Legal and Democratic Services ensure that members receive adequate notice for all training events from appropriate organisers, and (b) that there be an improvement in the communication and coordination of corporate training opportunities for members.

61 HEALTH PEER REVIEW – Members discussed the recent health peer review that some had been asked to participate in. Concerns were raised as to who had co-ordinated the review and why members had not received a brief beforehand.

The Service Director of Legal and Democratic Services confirmed that he would ascertain who had co-ordinated the review, address the issues that had been raised and obtain feedback for those members who had expressed concern.

Resolved – That the position be noted.