Article 8 – Scrutiny


1               Role and Function of Scrutiny

1.1           Effective scrutiny offers non-executive members the opportunity to propose policy changes, suggest improvements, commend good practice, involve communities and take a leadership role on issues of significant concern in local areas.  

1.2          The Council will appoint the following Scrutiny bodies to discharge the functions conferred by section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000:

·        Corporate Services, Climate Change and Scrutiny Management Committee (will act as the Council’s statutory scrutiny committee)

1.3           Standing Scrutiny Committees:

·        Economy, Place, Access & Transport Scrutiny Committee

·        Children, Culture & Communities Scrutiny Committee

·        Health, Housing & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee

1.4           The Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Scrutiny Committees are appointed by Full Council.

1.5           The common functions and individual terms of reference for each of the Scrutiny Committees are set out below.

1.6           All Councillors, except Members of the Executive, may be members of a scrutiny committee. However, no Councillor may be involved in scrutinising a decision in which they have been directly involved. 


1.7          Government Statutory Scrutiny Guidance (2019) promotes the four core principles for effective scrutiny originally proposed by The Centre for Governance and Scrutiny namely:

·        Provide constructive ‘critical friend’ challenge;

·        Amplify the voices and concerns of the public;

·        Be led by independent people who take responsibility for their role;

·        Drive improvement in public services.


1.8                Any efficiency reviews undertaken by a Scrutiny Committee should:


a)   be outcome focused and reflect the Council’s corporate priorities;

b)   challenge assumptions about the Council’s operational processes;

c)   ensure all feasible options for the future delivery of services are explored and appraised;

d)   encourage the involvement of interested parties and external partners;

e)   make relevant recommendations to the Executive or Council

1.9        For further information on how scrutiny fits into the Council’s committee structure see Article 8, Appendix 5 and Appendix 7 of this Constitution

2               General Role

2.1            Within their terms of reference, the Scrutiny Committees will:

a)   review and/or scrutinise decisions made or actions taken in connection with the discharge of any of the Council’s functions;

b)   make reports and/or recommendations to the full Council and/or the Executive and/or any policy, joint or area committee in connection with the discharge of any functions;

c)   consider any matter affecting the area or its inhabitants; and

d)   exercise the right to call-in, for reconsideration, decisions made but not yet implemented by the Executive.  A call-in request received will be considered by the Corporate Services, Climate Change and Scrutiny Management Committee in accordance with the procedures at Appendix 5 of this Constitution

3              Specific Functions

3.1           Policy development and review.

3.2           The Scrutiny Committees may:

a)     assist the Council and the Executive in the development of its budget and policy framework by in-depth analysis of policy issues;

b)     conduct research, community and other consultation in the analysis of policy issues and possible options;

c)     consider and implement mechanisms to encourage and enhance community participation in the development of policy options;

d)     question members of the Executive and committees and Senior Officers about their decisions and performance, whether generally in comparison with service plans and targets over a period of time, or in relation to particular decisions, initiatives or projects on the issues and proposals affecting the area; and

e)     liaise with other external organisations operating in the area, whether national, regional or local, to ensure that the interests of local people are enhanced by collaborative working.


4.1            The Scrutiny Committees may:

a)   review and scrutinise the decisions made by and performance of the Executive and/or committees and Council officers both in relation to individual decisions and over time;

b)   review and scrutinise the performance of the Council in relation to its policy objectives, performance targets and/or particular service areas;

c)   question members of the Executive and or committees and Senior Officers about their decisions and performance, whether generally in comparison with service plans and targets over a period of time, or in relation to particular decisions, initiatives or projects;

d)   make recommendations to the Executive and/or appropriate committee and/or Council arising from the outcome of the scrutiny process;

                                                                     i.        review and scrutinise the performance of other public bodies in the area and invite reports from them by requesting them to address an Improvement and Scrutiny Committee and local people about their activities and performance; and

                                                                    ii.        question and gather evidence from any person (with their consent).

5              Best Value

5.1           To oversee specific Best Value reviews undertaken on the Council’s functions; receive progress reports; and make recommendations for consideration by the Executive on measures to be implemented.

           Annual Report

6.1           The Scrutiny Committee (CCSMC) must report annually to full Council on their working and make recommendations for future work programmes and amended working methods if appropriate.

7             Proceedings of Scrutiny Committees

7.1          The Scrutiny Committees will conduct their proceedings in accordance with the Scrutiny Procedure Rules set out in Appendix 5 of this Constitution.

8               Impartiality

8.1           When considering any matter as a member of a Scrutiny body the party whip will not be exercised. 

Note: the Party whip is defined as “any instruction given by or on behalf of a political group to any Councillor who is a Member of that group as to how that Councillor shall speak or vote on any matter before the Council and any committee or sub-committee or the application or threat to apply any sanction by the group in respect of that Councillor should they speak or vote in any particular manner.”

9             Access to Information

9.1           Requests for access to information by a Member of a Scrutiny
                Committee will be considered in accordance with the Access to
                Information rules at Appendix 7 of this constitution.

10             Corporate Services, Climate Change and Scrutiny Management Committee

10.1          To oversee and co-ordinate/support the work of the Scrutiny Committees in its capacity as the Council’s statutory scrutiny committee.


10.2          This will include:


a)   Allocating responsibility for issues which fall between more than one Scrutiny Committee;

b)   Allocating, in consultation with the relevant Chair and Vice-Chair, urgent issues to be considered by an appropriate committee (including ad-hoc scrutiny committee), as may be necessary;

c)   Reviewing progress against the work plans of the Scrutiny Committees, as may be necessary and receiving  updates from Chairs of those scrutiny committees, as required;

d)   Receiving periodical progress reports, as appropriate, on specific scrutiny reviews.

e)   Considering and commenting on any final reports arising from completed reviews produced by the Scrutiny Committees, as required.

10.3        To provide an annual report to Full Council on the work of the scrutiny function

10.4        To consider all post-decision Call-in for scrutiny in accordance with the Scrutiny Procedure Rules as set out in Appendix 5 of the Constitution and to question any Executive Member, as may be required

10.5        In consultation with the Monitoring Officer, to periodically review the scrutiny procedures to ensure that the function is operating effectively and recommend to Council any appropriate constitutional changes relating to the scrutiny structure or procedural rules.

10.6        To receive details of petitions received by the Council in line with the Council’s published arrangements and responses or proposed responses to those petitions.  To consider using its powers as a scrutiny committee to support the Council in responding appropriately to issues raised by such petitions and, in so doing, to promote public engagement.

10.7        Is responsible for monitoring performance of the following areas:

a)   Legal Services

b)   Corporate Governance Team

c)   Civic & Democratic Services

d)   Electoral Services

e)   Corporate Finance and Procurement

f)     Human Resources and Organisational Development

g)   Customer, Resident and Exchequer Services

h)   Digital and ICT


11           Scrutiny Committees

11.1        The Council will establish Standing Scrutiny Committees whose overarching functions are:

11.2        To exercise the powers of a Scrutiny Committee under section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000 by:


a)   Promoting a culture of continuous improvement across specific service plan areas

b)   Challenging and reviewing the performance of those services

c)   Assisting in the development of appropriate council policy in relation to those services

d)   Maintain an annual work programme and ensure the efficient use of resources

11.3        In accordance with the powers of the Council, the Executive and Corporate Services, Climate Change and Scrutiny Management Committee and subject to the Scrutiny Review Procedural Rules in Appendix 5 of this Constitution:

a)   Review any issue that it considers appropriate or any matter referred to it by the Executive, Corporate Services, Climate Change and Scrutiny Management Committee or Council and report back to the body which referred the matter.

b)   Identify aspects of the Council’s operation and delivery of services, and/or those of the Council's statutory partners, suitable for efficiency reviews.

c)   Carry out efficiency reviews or set up a Task Group from within their membership to conduct a review on their behalf.

d)   Scrutinise issues identified from the Executive’s Forward Plan, prior to a decision being made subject to the Pre-Decision protocol at Appendix 5 of this Constitution.

e)   Receive Executive Member reports relating to their portfolio, associated priorities & service performance when requested by the committee.

f)     Scrutinise the services provided to residents of York by other service providers, as appropriate.

g)   To make final or interim recommendations to the Executive and/or Council.

h)   To report any final or interim recommendations to Corporate Services, Climate Change and Scrutiny Management Committee, if so requested.

i)     Monitor the Council’s financial performance during the year.

j)     Monitor progress on the relevant Council Priorities and advise on potential future priorities.

k)   Initiate, develop and review relevant policies and advise the Executive about the proposed Policy Framework as it relates to their service plan areas

11.4        In carrying out their individual remit each Scrutiny Committee must ensure their work further promotes inclusiveness and sustainability.


12           Scrutiny Service Plan Responsibilities


12.1        Each Scrutiny Committee is responsible for the following service plan areas.


12.2        Economy, Place, Access and Transport Scrutiny Committee: 


a)    10 Year Economic Strategy, Economic Growth & Inward Investment

b)    10 Year Transport Strategy

c)    Local Transport Plan Development

d)    Accessibility in public areas including City Centre Access Strategy

e)    Parking Services (inc Digital ResPark)

f)      Highways

g)    Planning & Development Services

h)    Regeneration & Asset / Property Management

i)      Public Realm

j)      Waste Services

k)    Fleet

l)      Public Protection (Trading Standards, Environmental Health, Food Safety Licensing

m)  Client Management: Make it York, GLL

n)    Client Management: YorWaste

o)    Emergency Planning, Flood Risk

p)    Monitor Emissions Impacts across the City

q)    Consider MCA Joint Committee Decisions as relate to this Committee


12.3        This committee is responsible for examining long term policy development, strategic objectives and horizon scanning for best and emerging practice across the Economy & Place Directorate and for examining performance, operational outcomes and customer expectation and major project progress across the above service areas.


12.4        Children, Culture & Communities Scrutiny Committee:


a)    Develop & maintain close working with Corporate Parenting Board and York Schools & Academies Board and deliver complimentary agendas where appropriate;

b)    Children’s Social Care

c)    The Virtual School for children in care

d)    Early Years and childcare

e)    School effectiveness and achievement, including school attendance and school safeguarding

f)      School services: School place planning and capital maintenance; School transport; Admissions; The School governance service and SENDIASS; Behaviour and attendance; Elective home education; Children missing education

g)    SEND services & Educational Psychology

h)    Skills, inc monitoring of York Skills Board; York Learning

i)      Local Area Teams, Neighbourhood Working, Community Centres

j)      People & Neighbourhoods Strategy & Policy

k)    Community Safety inc Safer York Partnership, Substance Misuse, Anti Social Behaviour

l)      Early intervention, prevention and community development

m)  Youth Services

n)    Culture, inc York Theatre Royal, Museums, Music Venues Network (& elements of MIY)

o)    Voluntary Sector

p)    Libraries & Archives

q)    Digital inclusion strategy


12.5        This committee is responsible for monitoring the performance of the above service areas through regular performance monitoring reports.


12.6         Health, Housing & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee:


a)    Develop & maintain close working with Health & Well-Being Board in order to deliver complimentary agendas and avoid duplication; hold HWB board to account on HWB Strategy

b)    Public Health

c)    Maintain oversight of Health Services as appropriate to Scrutiny, including monitoring of the Integrated Care Strategy

d)    Consider any substantial changes to Health service provision within the local authority area

e)    Services for carers

f)      Adult Safeguarding

g)    Adult Social Care Provision

h)    Adult Social Care Community Teams

i)      Commissioning, Quality Improvement and Partnerships

j)      Early Intervention and Prevention

k)    Housing Revenue Account

l)      Housing general, Building Services, Repairs and maintenance

m)  Commissioning and contracts

n)    Older People’s Accommodation Programme

o)    Landlord services

p)    Homelessness and Housing options, standards and adaptations

q)    Housing Development


12.7        This committee is responsible for monitoring the performance of the above service areas through regular performance monitoring reports.


12.8       In addition to the general powers and delegated authorities of Scrutiny Committees of this Council as set out above, the Health, Housing & Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee is also responsible for:


a)   the discharge of the health and scrutiny functions conferred on the Council by the Local Government Act 2000

b)   undertaking all of the Council’s statutory functions in accordance with section 7 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, NHS Reformed & Health Care Professional Act 2002, and section 244 of the National Health Service Act 2006 and associated regulations, including appointing members, from within the membership of the Committee, to any joint scrutiny committees with other local authorities, as directed under the National Health Service Act 2006.

c)   reviewing and scrutinising the impact of the services and policies of key partners on the health of the City's population

d)   reviewing arrangements made by the Council and local NHS bodies for public health within the City

e)   making reports and recommendations to the local NHS body or other local providers of services and to evaluate and review the effectiveness of its reports and recommendations

f)     delegating functions of scrutiny of health to another Local Authority Committee

g)   reporting to the Secretary of State of Health when:

                                                                           i.  concerned that consultation on substantial variation or development of service has been inadequate

                                                                          ii.  it considers that the proposals are not in the interests of the health service


13           Task Groups


13.1        These will formed from within the membership of an individual Scrutiny Committee to undertake a specific scrutiny review in accordance with the powers conferred by section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000.  Where possible, task groups will be politically proportionate and aim to have a quoracy membership.