The Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) was introduced in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. CCfA enables any member of the council to refer an issue affecting their ward to the scrutiny committee, as long as the issue relates to a local government service.
The Police and Criminal Justice Act 2006 also made provision for a Call for Action regarding crime and disorder issues. CCfAs made in relation to the Police and Criminal Justice Act and Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act are treated the same way in Brent.
There are some issues that are excluded from referral as a CCfA.
- planning and licensing decisions
- any matter where the person or entity has a statutory right of review or appeal (not including the right to complain to the Ombudsman). For example a matter relating to a housing benefit appeal
- any matter that is vexatious, discriminatory or not reasonable.
A CCfA referral will ensure that an issue is included on the agenda of the Scrutiny Committee and discussed by elected members. It is up to the Scrutiny Committee to decide whether or not to take the matter further once it has been considered by councillors.
In deciding whether or not to look in detail at a CCfA, scrutiny will use the criteria below to make its decision:
- is the committee satisfied that appropriate attempts at resolving the issue/problem have been made by the ward councillor before initiating the CCfA?
- has the committee considered a similar issue recently - if the answer is yes has the circumstances or evidence changed?
- has the relevant service or partner agency been informed and been given enough time to resolve the issue? What response has the councillor received?
- is this a case that is being, or should be pursued, via the council's corporate complaints system?
- is this an issue currently being looked at by another form of local scrutiny?
Having considered a CCfA, scrutiny could take one or more of the following actions in response:
- ask for further evidence to be brought to a future meeting
- require the partner authority to provide further information
- require the attendance of members of the Cabinet or senior officers to attend a future meeting to answer questions.
- set up a task group to undertake a more in depth review.
The committee can make a report or recommendations to the cabinet/partner agency and:
- publish that report
- require the executive to consider the report and respond to that report setting out what action they propose to take
- require the executive to publish their response
- require the executive to send a copy of the response to the member who initiated the CCfA
- require the partner agency to have regard to the report when exercising their functions.
If the committee decides to take any action then it will inform the councillor that raised the CCfA and provide that councillor with a copy of any report or recommendations that are made in relation to the CCfA.
Where relevant the councillor will also be provided with any response received from the cabinet or a partner organisation in relation to the CCfA.
If the scrutiny committee decides not to consider a CCfA or on consideration decides no further action is necessary it must inform the councillor who raised the CCfA and explain the reasons why.