Agenda item

Overview and Scrutiny 2020/21 Draft Annual Report

To consider the attached first draft of the Overview and Scrutiny 2020/21 Annual Report. A final draft copy will be reviewed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 1 July 2021 for approval by Council on 29 July 2021.


The Chairman emphasised that this was the first draft of the Overview and Scrutiny 2020/21 Annual Report, as it was not completed yet. The photographs on the cover were not final, as the Civic Offices’ refurbishment was nearing completion. If members had any comments, she asked members to forward these to Democratic Services. The final draft would be submitted to the Committee on 1 July 2021 and then to Council for approval on 29 July 2021.


Councillor D Wixley said he would report some minor corrections directly and that the last select committee cycle was still finishing, so this still needed to be factored into the final report.


Councillor S Murray remarked that this was our report and members needed to take ownership of it. Overview and Scrutiny had three key functions – scrutiny of external services and bodies, the scrutiny role of the Council and its services and that it acted as a body of the call-in mechanism. There was a national executive scrutiny model and the call-in mechanism was very important but rarely used by this Council, so when it was used, it was because members were really unhappy with a Cabinet or Portfolio Holder decision. The Councillor wanted greater detail to be given on the two call-in requests especially as the Joint Meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen seemed more detailed to him. Councillor M Sartin replied that she would discuss this with Democratic Services officers before the final version of the report but if Councillor Murray wanted to email details of what he wanted included, then to contact Democratic Services.


Councillor J H Whitehouse said we should ask ourselves who this annual report was for. When the Cabinet model for scrutiny was introduced in 2000, there was a real enthusiasm for scrutiny. The Council took up residents’ concerns and reports were written by officers which were publicised in libraries for the benefit of residents. The annual report was written in the style of minutes and although she found the sections on the Agenda Planning Group and Joint Meeting interesting, she could not imagine residents being very interested in the annual report. She thought some of the external scrutiny could be better dealt with by a Task and Finish Panel that could be done over a few weeks, not months. The report showed that we were looking at things more internally rather than the scrutiny concerns of residents. The Chairman replied that this report was looking back at the scrutiny undertaken over the last year. Perhaps this was a discussion to have at another time to look at how scrutiny could be undertaken by the Council.




(1)          That the first draft of the Overview and Scrutiny 2020/21 Annual Report of the work undertaken during the past municipal year, be agreed, subject to members submitting any further comments to Democratic Services;


(2)          That the final draft be reported to Overview and Scrutiny Committee at the meeting on 1 July 2021; and


(3)          That the Annual Report be submitted to Council on 29 July 2021 for approval.

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