We know how important it is that a council can be held to account and stand up to close scrutiny by you, the people we represent. That is why West Devon Borough Council has two Overview & Scrutiny Committees to ensure that a robust process is firmly in place and procedures are being properly monitored on your behalf.
West Devon Borough Council aims to have a scrutiny function that adheres to the Centre for Public Scrutiny's four principles of good scrutiny:
There are two Scrutiny Committees of 11 Members each (an Internal and External Committee) which support the work of the Hub Committee and the Council as a whole:
Reports and recommendations are put by these Committees to the Hub Committee and the Council to advise on policy, budget and service delivery.
The Scrutiny Committees also monitor the decisions of the Hub Committee and have the ability to 'call-in' decisions made by the Hub Committee which are still to be implemented. This enables the Scrutiny Committees to consider whether the decision made was appropriate and if it should recommend that the Hub Committee or full Council reconsider the decision. Scrutiny may also be consulted by the Hub Committee or the Council on forthcoming decisions and the development of policy.
The Membership on the Committees will be determined at the Annual Meeting of the Council each May, but each non-Hub Committee Member is expected to sit on either of these Council bodies
Members of the public may raise issues and ask questions at meetings of the two Scrutiny Committees. This session will last for up to 15 minutes at the beginning of each meeting.
An issue or question may only be raised by a member of the public provided that they have given written notice (which may be by email) to the Senior Specialist Democratic Services by 5.00 pm on the Monday prior to the relevant meeting.
An issue may be rejected by the Monitoring Officer if:
Members of the public are able to propose an agenda item which may be considered by an Overview & Scrutiny Committee, by completing theand sending it to Darryl White, Senior Specialist Democratic Services by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or post: West Devon Borough Council, Kilworthy Park, Drake Road, Tavistock PL19 0BZ.
Submitted forms will be considered by a Panel comprising of the Head of Paid Service and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of an Overview & Scrutiny Committee within 7 working days of receipt, to determine whether or not topic will be scheduled on to a future committee agenda.
In this role, Scrutiny Committees can review the Council's policies to assess whether the intended policy outcomes have been achieved and can also assist the Council during the early development of new policies and the formulation of key plans. Very often policy review can lead to recommendations to develop new policy. This work can be carried out by a Scrutiny Committee or a Committee may assign this task to a smaller number of Members in the form of a Task and Finish Group. Carefully choosing which topics to review can help the Council to focus on the issues that matter to local people most and derive real outcomes for them.