What is scrutiny?
We and other local and regional public bodies take decisions every week which affect the lives of Newham’s residents; decisions about areas such as health services, street cleaning, education, regeneration and policing.
Scrutiny makes sure that local services are delivered effectively, efficiently and in the best interests of local people.
We have a body of elected councillors who work on behalf of local people to make sure that these decisions are made openly and transparently and that the people making them are accountable to you. The councillors are effectively a watchdog for Newham and are part of a legal function known as overview and scrutiny.
They carry out this role in lots of different ways including:
- examining key decisions and actions taken by the Mayor and other partner organisations to ensure that they being taken in the best interests of residents
- examining the Mayor’s spending and budget plans to make sure that resources are used in the most efficient, effective, equitable and sustainable way
- inviting the Mayor and our partners to publicly state their commitments to improving local people’s lives, and monitoring their achievements
- scrutinising the council’s and our partners’ policies, strategy, delivery and performance
- investigating and championing issues of poor performance or concern to local people
- engaging and involving residents to make sure that decision making is informed by local people’s views and experiences, and that local people have a say in the decisions that affect them.
Scrutiny in Newham
Scrutiny arrangements differ from council to council. We have an overarching Overview and Scrutiny Committee and five scrutiny commissions:
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee also sets up working groups to look at specific issues and an occasional, ad hoc commission to look at specific issues which cut across the individual remits of the other commissions.
Who serves on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and scrutiny commissions?
All councillors except the Mayor and councillors who are part of the executive
may be members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and its commissions.
No Overview and Scrutiny Committee or commission member may be involved in scrutinising a decision in which he or she has been directly involved.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee can also appoint co-opted members to the committee and/or the scrutiny commissions. Co-opted members are not allowed to vote with the exception of parent or diocesan representatives who can vote only on education matters.