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 (politically balanced). 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 for 2015 - 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.

 

Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee

 

Review of Care Homes for Older People

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings for Care Homes for Older People in the Borough are lower than the national average.

This review seeks to understand the reasons why Care Homes are not achieving the same level of CQC ratings as the Tees and national average, and to identify what activities can take place by the Care Homes, Local Authority and wider stakeholders to improve CQC ratings.

The review is scheduled to report to Cabinet in February 2020.

 

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, as well as visits to local health and social care services.

 

Children and Young People Select Committee

 

Review of Careers Provision

Access to high quality effective school-age support in making career choices is a key element in the new Children and Young People Strategy.

There are statutory responsibilities for all schools to have effective provision in place, and the Council provides both a traded Careers Guidance service and a specific Targeted service for more vulnerable young people.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) now undertakes a number of roles; it has links to the Careers and Enterprise Company who are Government-funded to promote employer links into education, hosts a new Careers Hub, and has launched www.teesvalleycareers.com.

The focus of the review is to develop a clear and joined-up approach across Stockton which supports schools in their role, is clear on the role of all partners including the Council, and identifies how the system can work more effectively for young people.

The review is scheduled to report to Cabinet in February 2020.

 

Member Visits to Frontline Services

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

 

Crime and Disorder Select Committee

 

Review of Protection of Vulnerable Older Residents Living at Home

Concerns have been raised in relation to crimes in local neighbourhoods, specifically those against vulnerable older people living at home.

This review will seek to understand:

  • the wider context of crime data and police resources in the Borough;
  • how key local service providers promote the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable residents living in their homes;
  • the role of the voluntary and community sector;
  • local community-based initiatives to promote community safety.

The review will use an evidence-based approach to assess the issues affecting more vulnerable older people (with a focus on those aged 80 and above), and identify where additional support can be provided, where appropriate.

The review is scheduled to report to Cabinet in January 2020.

 

People Select Committee

 

Review of Local Council Tax Support Scheme

The Committee are reviewing Stockton’s scheme for working age customers, including consideration of the impact on both customers and the Council.  It will reconsider the structure of the current scheme and how Universal Credit is impacting on the assessment, and the award of levels of support towards Council Tax that can be provided in future years.

The review will assess the current Council Tax collection rates for working age customers in receipt of Local Council Tax Support and consider the impact of any changes to the scheme on Council finances.   It is proposed that any changes will be introduced from April 2021.

The review is scheduled to report to Cabinet in January 2020.

 

Review of Smarter Working in Stockton – Accommodation and Buildings (Task & Finish)

The Council’s Smarter Working in Stockton (SWiS) programme is challenging and changing the way the organisation thinks about work, how it does it, and how it can work smarter.  The programme consists of four main strands – Customers, Information, Technology and Workspaces – which, if developed together, should improve customer engagement, reduce time spent on non-productive work, and have a positive impact on staff morale.

Current accommodation and office environments are expensive to operate, have an array of maintenance issues, and currently there is surplus capacity with opportunities for further reductions.  This review will therefore focus on the area of Workspaces, examining current workspace provision and assessing options for the future use and number of Council buildings.  It will aim to ensure that the Council has appropriate value-for-money infrastructure in place, and that it is equipped to keep pace with changes expected by staff and its customers.

The review is scheduled to report to Cabinet in October 2019.

 

Place Select Committee

 

Review of Area Transport Strategy

The Area Transport Strategy (ATS) scheme allows the community an opportunity to influence where a proportion of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s limited funding for improvements to the highway is targeted.  Four Borough-wide ATS groups were established to introduce public involvement in the selection of highway and transport schemes, and a budget was identified from the Council’s Local Transport Plan (LTP) allocation to fund projects on an annual basis.

This review aims to examine the current ATS scheme and, through an assessment of this and previous year’s ATS rounds, establish if it is fit for purpose, inclusive, and allows the public to have the appropriate level of influence, while being an efficient and effective process.

The review is scheduled to report to Cabinet in January 2020.

 

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.