To enable the Cabinet to give consideration to a recommendation made by the Community Leadership Overview & Scrutiny Committee in respect of the above.
RESOLVED, that Cabinet notes the Community Leadership Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s recommendation and endorses the responses of the Portfolio Holder for Corporate Finance and Governance thereto.
Cabinet was informed that, at the meeting of the Community Leadership Overview and Scrutiny (CLOS) Committee held on 7 October 2019 that Committee had received a report of the Head of Democratic Services and Elections – New Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and Combined Authorities. An identical report had been submitted to the Resources and Services Committee on 29 July 2019.
The CLOS Committee had been advised that, on 7 May 2019, the Government had published new statutory guidance on overview and scrutiny in local and combined authorities. The guidance itself had been issued following the report of the House of Commons’ Communities and Local Government Committee of 15 December 2017 into the ‘Effectiveness of Local Authority overview and scrutiny committees’. The Council’s Constitution already set out its compliance with statutory requirements for overview and scrutiny committees, the appointment of Members of those Committees, the appointment of Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the same, the procedures for such matters as call-in, and work programming, access to information for Members of the committees and Member-Officer protocols etc. Officers would consider the statutory guidance in their work, whilst the Monitoring Officer would ensure that the constitution was kept up-to-date.
The Committee was also made aware that training for officers who presented or wrote reports for Committees and Cabinet was being proposed for the forthcoming period and that it was intended that this training would also reference the new statutory guidance.
Cabinet was made aware that the CLOS Committee’s debate on this item had referenced the extent to which there was ‘parity of esteem’ between the executive and scrutiny elements of the decision making processes of the Council. The promotion in the guidance of the development of an Executive-Scrutiny protocol to embed a positive and productive culture of collaborative working that respected the independence of those two elements was commented upon. The Committee also recorded that it would be mindful of the new statutory scrutiny guidance when it undertook its work.
The CLOS Committee had decided to recommend to Cabinet that it received the new Statutory Guidance on Scrutiny in Councils and that it considered the potential of developing an Executive-Scrutiny Protocol in order to address the way in which both will work together for the benefit of the Council as a whole while confirming the independence of both elements of the decision making process of the Council.
Cabinet had before it the Corporate Finance and Governance Portfolio Holder’s response to the CLOS Committee’s recommendation which was as follows:-
“It is clear that the Committee were aware of the existing provisions in the constitution that provide for a robust and independent scrutiny function at this Council. The receipt of the Statutory Guidance is timely for us all to reflect on the arrangements we have and the opportunity to improve upon them in a collaborative way. This collaborative approach was one that worked really well in the review of the Constitution at the end of last year and earlier this year. In ... view the full minutes text for item 67