What can Scrutiny do?
The Scrutiny Committees cannot make decisions. Their influence comes from recommendations made to the council's Cabinet or external organisations.
Scrutiny can investigate different issues and ask witnesses to attend meetings to inform them of their views. It can also hold its own consultation groups to help it understand how affected parties may feel.
Evidence based recommendations give additional weight to the influence of scrutiny.
There are steps scrutiny committees can take if it disagrees with a decision made by the Cabinet. A decision can be called in to one of the Scrutiny Committee and referred back to the Cabinet with recommendations for change.
Who can be scrutinised?
The Cabinet - All decisions made by the Cabinet and by officers acting under delegated powers from the Cabinet can be subject to scrutiny by non-Cabinet councillors.
External organisations - Scrutiny can also look at any issue that affects people in Brent. This could include reviewing the performance of local organisations e.g. water companies, train operators etc.
Some external organisations, such as the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and the London Development Agency, have a duty to respond to scrutiny enquiries.
Health organisations - Scrutiny has legal powers to scrutinise health organisations in Brent such as NHS Brent, North West London Hospitals NHS Trust and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.
What Scrutiny won't do
Scrutiny is not an alternative to normal appeals procedures such as planning, development control and licensing appeals.
Scrutiny will not become involved in reviewing decisions on individual applications, such as a planning application. But, Scrutiny could look at planning policy which will influence individual decisions.
Additionally, scrutiny isn't an alternative way to make a complaint against the council and it won't investigate a complaint on behalf of an individual or organisation.
Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee
This committee covers corporate resources, (including Customer Services, Policy, Partnerships and Performance, Procurement and IT) as well as regeneration, regulatory services, environment, transport and community safety.
The Scrutiny Committees:
- hold the Cabinet to account for its decisions
- support policy development through commissioning member-led investigations of issues affecting the community or borough
- provide scrutiny of external public bodies and services, including education, health and other partners as specified by the Localism Act, 2011 and other relevant legislation
- coordinate activities with other local bodies charged with scrutiny functions, for example, Healthwatch, tenant scrutiny and Brent's Safer Neighbourhood Board
- review and monitor performance to ensure continuous improvement
- receive call-in of Cabinet decisions, public petitions and community calls to action.
In the Scrutiny Committees will therefore:
- develop an annual work programme based on genuine public participation
- work closely with other local bodies and groups charged with scrutiny functions
- monitor and challenge performance and the use of resources both internally and externally
- make evidence-based recommendations to improve the work of the council and other partner organisations
- scrutinise decisions and develop policy both in respect of the council and external organisations
- scrutinise the council's budget, particularly at the pre-decision stage
- deal with call-in and pre-decision scrutiny
- commission in-depth reviews to be carried out by task and finish groups and to be brought back to the committee for consideration
- produce an annual report on its work showing, in particular, the impact of the work of the committee in improving outcomes for local people
- bring different agencies together to broker solutions to seemingly intractable problems.