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Policy overview and scrutiny

This essential part of the council's democratic arrangements allows councillors (who are not in the Cabinet) to formulate policy proposals and scrutinise local matters.

Six Policy Overview and Scrutiny committees carry out the policy overview and scrutiny role at Hillingdon and undertake a combination of in-depth reviews, one-off meetings on particular issues, and the regular strategic monitoring of the council's and our partners' performance. However, it should be made clear that, Policy Overview and Scrutiny committees do not have the power to make decisions on the council's policies. The committees can, however, make recommendations to the decision-making Cabinet.

Policy Overview and Scrutiny committee reviews undertaken since 2003/04 »

Policy Overview committees

Four policy overview committees have the role of reviewing and recommending improvements to a range of the Council's services. Further information on the remit of each of these committees can be found below:

Scrutiny committees

Two Scrutiny Committees described below complement the review work undertaken by the policy overview committees:

  • Executive Scrutiny committee is responsible for scrutinising the decisions taken by Cabinet, individual Cabinet Members and officers. The Executive Scrutiny committee meets within five days of Cabinet, and a majority of the committee can 'call-in' a decision and ask the Cabinet or decision-taker to reconsider.
     
  • External Services Scrutiny committee is responsible for scrutinising services provided by non-council organisations in the borough including the public, private and voluntary sectors. The committee holds the health scrutiny powers conferred by the Health & Social Care Act 2001. Senior managers of local NHS Trusts (including Hillingdon Hospital and Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group) must attend the committee and answer questions if required by Councillors. Local NHS Trusts must also consult the committee about proposed significant changes to local services.

Giving evidence

Policy Overview and Scrutiny committee meetings aim to identify facts on a review area in an open and straight-forward manner. To facilitate this, witnesses will be invited by the Chairperson to introduce themselves and to provide a brief presentation on their area of expertise after which the session will be opened up to questions from committee members. 

In responding to councillors' questions, witnesses are asked to be honest and open in their responses and to volunteer relevant information. If factual information is being quoted it would be useful if reference could be made to sources. If the answer to a question is not known, witnesses should make this clear and they should also indicate where answers are based on assumptions or guesses. Where witnesses are attending on behalf of an organisation, it will be assumed that they are speaking on behalf of the organisation unless otherwise made clear that personal views are being shared. Witnesses should advise Democratic Services if, following a meeting, it becomes clear that inaccurate or misleading evidence has been provided.

Policy Overview and Scrutiny meetings are open to the public and there will be seats reserved for this public use. However, if there are private or confidential matters to be discussed, members of the public will be asked to leave.

If witnesses require presentation equipment (eg Powerpoint) or a car parking space, they are asked to contact Democratic Services at least two working days in advance of the meeting. Democratic Services should also be contacted if an agenda has not been received a week in advance of the meeting. 

Formal rules for the conduct of Overview and Scrutiny committee meetings are set out in the council's Constitution.

 

 

 

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 06 May 2015 at 16:01