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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Scrutiny

town hall

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 2018 - 2019.

Read the Four Year Overview and Scrutiny End of Term Report 2015 and 2019.

 

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.

The scrutiny work programme for 2018-19 is now complete.  The following in-depth reviews were completed during this year:

  • Inclusion in schools – examined the approach in local schools to promoting inclusion in response to significant increase in Fixed Term and Permanent Exclusions.
  • Gambling – assessed the scope of gambling activity in Stockton-on-Tees and the potential impact of gambling-related harm.
  • Child’s Journey – tested whether the Council’s Children’s Services were informed by the lived experience and views of local children and young people.
  • Temporary Accommodation for Homeless Households – proposed new ways of delivering temporary  accommodation and services for those with the most complex needs and are ‘hardest to house’.
  • Hate Crime – revealed the extent of reported hate crime in the Borough and highlighted how this issue is being tackled by local agencies.
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing including Suicide and Self-Harm – focused on how well mental health is being promoted and ill-health prevented in relation to the age group 14-25.
  • Management of Memorials – looked at how the Council communicates with bereaved families in terms of the current Grave Personalisation Policy, how effective the current policy is, and what, if any, amendments are required.
  • Digital Optimisation – examined how well the Council is progressing in its provision of digital services, how these services are being communicated, and how residents are being engaged to use them.
  • Parking on Grass Verges – identified the measures that could be put in place to deter inappropriate parking, and clarified actions that could be taken against those who inappropriately park on grass verges.
  • Bring Sites (Recycling) – understand the current bring site offer, how sites are being used, and whether the Council should change its future provision.
  • Under-representation of BME Communities in the SBC Workforce – assessed the Council’s performance against the ‘Roadmap to Success’, recommended to organisations in the McGregor-Smith Review (2017) – Race in the workplace to assist leaders to move positively towards a more diverse workforce.
  • Consolidation of Thirteen Housing Group – explored the impact (if any) of the consolidation of Thirteen on the delivery of services to tenants within the Borough, and ongoing operational and strategic engagement with the Council.

 

Quality Assurance Work

As well as undertaking in-depth reviews, the Committee have looked 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.

In February 2019 a review focusing on the protection of vulnerable older people living at home was added to the work programme.  This is being undertaken by Crime and Disorder Select Committee and the work will continue following the elections.

The following topics have been agreed for the 2019-20 work programme and will begin following the elections:

  • Care Home for Older People (Adult Social Care & Health Select Committee)
  • Careers Provision (Children & Young People Select Committee)
  • Roadside Advertising (Crime & Disorder Select Committee)
  • Local Council Tax Support Scheme (People Select Committee)
  • Area Transport Strategy (Place Select Committee)

 

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. Time-limited Joint Committees may also be established to respond to consultation on changes to local health services, as and when needed.

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 including copies of final reports please visit our egenda Council Meetings and Papers page or telephone 01642 528158.