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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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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.  

Read 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 Defibrillators
Approximately 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) occur in the home and 20% in public places.  Emergency services in England respond to around 60,000 OHCAs per year with resuscitation attempted in around 28,000 cases.  The average overall survival to hospital discharge in those with attempted resuscitation is 8.6% - therefore it is clear to see that OHCA is a very serious event with generally poor outcomes.

The introduction and use of community-located Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) has been seen as a response to the need to improve care for people undergoing cardiac arrest.  Used in conjunction with Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), AEDs can enable early intervention by members of the public/on-site staff prior to the arrival of medically trained personnel. 

Some defibrillators are available in Stockton Borough but are not necessarily accessible 24 hours.  Community-based AEDs are often provided for by charitable organisations or financed through fund-raising or donation on an individual basis.

The review is investigating the evidence for AED, their availability, accessibility and utilisation in Stockton Borough and make recommendations on improving the response to OHCA.

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

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 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
Children with SEND are a key priority vulnerable group identified in the Council Plan and Children and Young People’s Plan.

The issues are multi-faceted and complex: ranging from the effectiveness of identification of children with SEND, to the provision of support (which includes roles for the Council, schools, NHS, families, and others) and in seeking to ensure better outcomes.

The review is focussing on preparation for adulthood.  This includes support up to age 25, and transition into adult services where appropriate.  This is an area that needs development to provide better planning for transitions. 

Preparing for adulthood includes all aspects of SEND provision including education, health and care needs.

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

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 Outside Bodies
Following on from a previous scrutiny review of membership of outside bodies, this review would further examine the overall spend and benefit derived from membership of a range of organisations such as the Local Government Association and the Association of Public Service Excellence.  This will determine the benefits and value for money.

The review will report into Cabinet in October 2017.

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 Sickness Absence
Sickness absence is an issue that can affect all sections of the workforce, and continues to be a challenge for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council – initial analysis shows that the target for 2016-2017 (7.6 days average per FTE) may not be met.  The increase in sickness absence, areas and reasons for sickness absence reflect similar trends in the other Tees Valley Local Authorities.

 The aim of this review is to contribute towards a reduction in sickness absence by:

  • analysing current performance
  • understanding the underlying reasons for such absence
  • reviewing the measures taken to reduce sickness absence and their effectiveness
  • considering suggestions for improvement

 In addition, a new SBC Attendance Management Policy is being drafted in 2016-2017 – the review has an opportunity to shape this policy.

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


Place Select Committee

Review of Asylum Seeker Services
The Government has made a long-term commitment to support individuals seeking asylum in the UK who are fleeing violence, persecution and political instability.  The Home Office is responsible for the management of this process, both in terms of asylum dispersal, as well as enforcement in relation to the removal of individuals not granted leave to remain.

Nationally, the Home Office has had to deal with unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers arriving in the UK.  Stockton continues to act as a major dispersal area for asylum seekers.

 The issue presents the Council with a number of challenges and opportunities, and the Committee’s work will focus on the following:

  • To ensure that asylum seekers are welcomed and assimilated as effectively as possible in order to ensure social cohesion is maintained.
  • To assess the effectiveness of Council and partner support services, including housing, health, education, community safety, and the role of voluntary and community groups, and any gaps in provision/co-ordination.
  • To understand the demand for services in the future, the impact of this on current providers, and what new responses may be needed.
  • To assess the effectiveness of information-sharing and quality of strategic planning with the North East Migration Partnership, including its role in representing the views of Stockton Council.

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


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 page or telephone 01642 528158.