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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Scrutiny

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Scrutiny helps ensure that local people receive high quality services and involves the Council's Select Committees checking that the services and policies meet the needs of local people according to the Council’s own aims and standards.

The Council has five themed Select Committees comprising nine Councillors on each. Some Select Committees also have non-councillor co-opted members.

Select Committees examine, review and challenge the work of the Council – in essence, a watchdog role. They cannot make decisions but do make recommendations to the Council and other organisations.  

The latest Annual Report outlining the work of the Committees during 2016 - 2017 

The current work programme is shown below:

 

Executive Scrutiny Committee

Scrutiny provides Councillors who are not part of Stockton Council’s decision-making Cabinet, the opportunity to review decisions, policies and performance that affect the Borough.

Scrutiny is a Councillor-led process which helps to ensure that the Council's services and policies meet the needs of local people according to the Council's own aims and standards. The Executive Scrutiny Committee co-ordinates the Scrutiny Work Programme providing a strategic steer for the work of the Select Committees.

 

Adult Services & Health Select Committee

Review of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and set out the procedure that should be followed when it is deemed necessary to deprive a person of their liberty when they lack capacity to consent to their care and treatment.  The DoLS relate to care and treatment in care homes and hospitals.

There has been a significant increase in activity to implement DoLS following a Supreme Court judgment in 2014.  This has significantly expanded the range of people to which a Deprivation of Liberty may apply.

The impact has included significant additional work for local authorities as we carry out our duties as Supervisory Bodies.  These duties include considering applications for a Deprivation of Liberty and arranging the necessary assessments as part of this process.

 The review is focusing on:

-  considering the Council’s responsibilities and functions in relation to DoLS,

- reviewing the application of the MCA/DoLS in the wider health and care community including ‘Managing Authorities’, which include care home and NHS providers (i.e all state funded care)

 

Quality Assurance Work

As well as undertaking in-depth reviews, the Committee looks at a range of other information to keep an overview of performance.  These include  NHS Quality Accounts  and Healthwatch reports, and undertakes visits to local health and social care services.

 

Children & Young People Select Committee

Scrutiny Review of the Local Safeguarding Children Board

Stockton-on-Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board (SLSCB) is the key statutory body responsible for overseeing and monitoring the effectiveness of multi-agency arrangements for safeguarding children in the borough. It is important that Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, as the lead agency, takes steps to evaluate the effectiveness of SLSCB against the Ofsted inspection criteria. The Select Committee are undertaking a rigorous and independent review to assess the progress made by SLSCB to date and determine whether any additional actions are necessary in order to meet these criteria.

The Committee is hosting a range of meetings, undertaking surveys of Board members, and observing SLSCB meetings. 

The review is scheduled to report to Cabinet in January 2017.

 

Review of Educational Psychology

This main aim of this officer- led review is to explore different ways of working. Reports will be taken to the Select Committee for independent challenge at key stages of the project.

Drawing from best practice from other areas, the review will look at:

•           How can the service be reshaped to better support outcomes for vulnerable children?

•           How can the service be best positioned to enable recruitment of strong staff to the team?

•           How can the service be best funded to enable it to work in a broader way in the Borough than just in statutory assessments?

 

Member Visits to Frontline Services

In addition to review work, Select Committee Members are undertaking a programme of visits to frontlines services as part of their wider quality assurance work.

 

 

Crime & Disorder Select Committee

Review of Dog Fouling Enforcement

In 2009, Stockton Council’s Environment Select Committee reported on a Review of Dog Fouling and the Animal Welfare Service. The Committee made a number of recommendations which made some difference to the delivery of services, however dog fouling has continued to be a regular source of complaint. There is general support from the public, including the majority of dog owners to seek a resolution to this problem, caused by a minority of irresponsible dog owners. This has warranted another look at this issue and so this review will include consideration of the following:

  • Progress made on the recommendations from the 2009 Scrutiny Review
  • An update on current levels of service requests and on legislation controlling dog fouling.
  • Recent developments in dog fouling enforcement initiatives elsewhere in the UK.
  • Resource availability to deal with dog fouling issues in light of on-going service reviews.

 

Under the Police and Justice Act 2006, every local authority is required to have a Crime and Disorder Committee. Stockton Council’s Crime and Disorder Select Committee has the powers to scrutinise the local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (Safer Stockton Partnership) in terms of how it is tackling crime and disorder for the benefit of the local communities. 

 

People Select Committee

Review of Disadvantage in Early Years and School

The main focus of the review is on tackling disadvantage in the early years, including school readiness.  Some children in the Borough need to be supported to catch up significantly on a range of factors, such as socialisation.

The work will consider the role of early years services such as children centers and child-minders, the role of health, the new Early Years Pupil Premium, the Council’s new Transition Guarantee for 0-5, and understanding school and parent perceptions/views of ‘school readiness’. 

The Council has contributed to a national Ofsted Survey to gather information and good practice on disadvantage in early years.  This has now been published and will be used to inform and provide a framework for the review.

In order to raise achievement of disadvantaged pupils the Government has provided Pupil Premium funding to schools.  The Committee will look at how this has been used in Stockton, and what lessons can be learned to help with roll out of the new Early Years Pupil Premium. 

 

 

Place Select Committee

Review of Flooding Resilience

The number and level of flooding incidents are increasingly of concern to residents. The Flood and Water Management Act has provided new statutory duties and powers to local authorities and as such Stockton Council became a Lead Local Flood Authority for managing local flood risk.

This review will examine the Council’s resilience in terms of resources to deal with highway drainage, gully cleansing, the general maintenance and asset replacement in SBC owned ordinary watercourses, and the risk of flooding relating to trash screen blockage and surface water flood risk mitigation.

Members will also observe the Council’s emergency response and capacity to deal with flooding incidents. 

 

Other Scrutiny

A Tees Valley Health Scrutiny Joint Committee comprising the five Tees Valley Authorities exists to act as a forum for the scrutiny of regional and specialist health scrutiny issues which impact upon the residents of the Tees valley and for sharing information and best practice in relation to health scrutiny and health scrutiny issues. The North East Health Committee fulfills the same role for the region as a whole.

Scrutiny support is also provided to the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel whose remit is to be the scrutiny body with a range of statutory duties, and the responsibility for scrutinising and supporting the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner’s activities over a range of policy areas.  

For further information on our select committees please visit our Egenda pageor call 01642 528158.