Scrutiny

This enables non-executive members to influence decisions that are taken by the cabinet and ensure the views and needs of local people are taken into account.

There are four overview and scrutiny committees who support the work of the cabinet and the council as a whole.

They allow citizens to have a greater say in council matters by holding inquiries into matters of local concern.

Overview and scrutiny committees also monitor the decisions of the cabinet. The scrutiny process allows for a decision made by the cabinet, but not yet implemented, to be ‘called in’.

This enables them to consider whether the decision is appropriate. Members may recommend the cabinet reconsider the decision.

They may also be consulted by the cabinet or the council on forthcoming decisions and the development of policy.
This explanation is based upon the council's constitution, as agreed by council on 1 October 2014.

Within their terms of reference, the overview and scrutiny committees, and their sub-committees, will:
  • review and/or scrutinise decisions made (and proposed), or actions taken in connection with the discharge of any of the council’s functions
  • make reports and/or recommendations to the full council and/or the cabinet and/or any policy, joint or area committee in connection with the discharge of any functions
  • consider any matter affecting the area or its inhabitants
  • exercise the right to call-in for reconsideration (through the chairmen’s group) decisions made, but not yet implemented, by the cabinet and/or any policy or area committees
Within their terms of reference, overview and scrutiny committees, and their sub-committees, may:
  • assist the council and the cabinet in the development of the council’s budget and policy framework
  • review and scrutinise the decisions made by, and performance of, the cabinet and/or committees and council officers both in relation to individual decisions and as an ongoing process
  • review and scrutinise the performance of the council in relation to its policy objectives, performance targets and/or particular service areas
  • question members of the cabinet and/or committees and chief officers about their decisions and performance, whether generally in comparison with service plans and targets over a period of time, or in relation to particular decisions, initiatives or projects
  • make recommendations to the cabinet and/or appropriate committee and/or council arising from the outcome of the scrutiny process
  • review and scrutinise the performance of other public bodies in the area, and invite reports from them by requesting them to address the overview and scrutiny committee and local people about their activities and performance
  • report and make recommendations to the council or cabinet on matters which affect the council’s area or the inhabitants of the area
  • question and gather evidence from any person (with their consent)
  • act as an appeals body for petitions submitted to the council as set out in the petitions procedure
Annual report
Overview and scrutiny committees must report annually to the council on their workings and make recommendations for future work programmes and amended working methods if appropriate.
Click here for the committee's membership details.

In addition to the councillor membership, other committee members include:
  • two parent governors (voting)
  • one Church of England diocese representative (voting)
  • one Roman Catholic diocese representative (voting)
  • one representative of other faiths or denominations (voting)
  • four teacher union representatives (non voting)
These representatives may discuss non-education matters but shall not vote on those matters identified as being outside their remit.
 
Terms of reference:
 
(a) To monitor, review and make recommendations about:
  • Early Years
  • Education and Schools
  • Special education needs and disability
  • Adult and Community Education
  • Training and Vocational Education
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Youth Offending
  • Social Services for Children and Young People
  • Children’s Health
  • Teenage Sexual Health
  • Looked After Children
  • Safeguarding - Children
  • Youth Services
  • Family Services
  • Children’s Centres.
(b) To oversee and monitor school improvement, as follows:
 
(i) To receive feedback on the Ofsted inspection of schools.
(ii) To support the work of the County Council and the progress of schools on the School Intervention and Support Programme in specified categories.
(iii) To receive an annual report about the number of schools that have been on the School Intervention and Support Programme, the reason(s) for their inclusion, the support given by the Council and the success of this support.
(iv) To receive an annual report on the performance of schools.

The timetable of the committee's forthcoming meetings can be found here.

Click here for the committee's membership details.

Terms of reference:

(a)    To maintain an overview of the Management Agreements in place between the County Council and Active Northumberland, Woodhorn Museum Charitable Trust and Northumberland Tourism.

(b)    To monitor, review and make recommendations about:

  • Development Planning
  • Neighbourhood Planning
  • Conservation
  • Housing
  • Climate Change
  • Countryside, Biodiversity and landscape quality
  • Waste Management and Energy Use
  • Public and community transport network and travel to school
  • Highway maintenance, Streetscape and the local environment
  • Local and Neighbourhood services
  • Crime, Community Safety, and fear of crime
  • Antisocial behaviour and domestic violence
  • Fire and rescue
  • Emergency services and Emergency planning
  • Customer Services
  • Provision of cultural and leisure facilities
  • Improving quality of life through access to culture and leisure
  • Supporting economic growth in the arts, culture and leisure sectors.

Details of the timetable of meetings of this committee can be found here.

Click here for the committee's membership details.

Terms of reference:

(a) To maintain an overview of the Council’s Annual Budget and Budgetary Management via the Medium Term Financial Plan.
(b) To review the state of Northumberland and the County Council’s activity in delivering its Corporate Plan.
(c) To maintain an overview of the Council’s performance management arrangements; highlighting areas of poor performance and monitoring recovery delivery plans.
(d) To maintain an overview of the Management Agreements in place between the Council and Arch (Northumberland Development Co)
(e) To monitor, review and make recommendations about:
  • Corporate Services: Organisational Development, Health and Safety, ICT Strategy, Corporate Governance, Financial Services, Procurement Strategy, Risk Strategy, Shared and Traded Services
  • Partnership development co-ordination with local organisations
  • Relationships with external bodies
  • Regeneration and Economic Development
  • Strategic Transport Network and Infrastructure
  • Employability, Skills, and removing barriers to work
  • Capital Programme and Asset Management
  • Support to VCS organisations and the Council’s relationship with town and parish councils.
The timetable for this committee's meetings can be found here.
Click here for the committee's membership.
 
Terms of reference:
 
To monitor, review and make recommendations about the following:
 
(1) To promote well-being and reduce health inequality, particularly in supporting those people who feel more vulnerable or are at risk.
 
(2) To discharge the functions conferred by section 21(f) of the Local Government Act 2000 of reviewing and scrutinising, in accordance with regulations under section 7 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001, matters relating to the planning, provision and operation of health services in Northumberland.
 
(3) To take a holistic view of health in order to promote the social, environmental and economic well-being of local people.
 
(4) To act as a consultee as required by the relevant regulations in respect of those matters on which local NHS bodies must consult the Committee.
 
(5) To make reports and recommendations to local NHS bodies and the County Council on matters relating to the following services/issues in Northumberland:
(a) Adult Care and Social Services
(b) Mental Health and emotional wellbeing
(c) Financial inclusion and fuel poverty
(d) Welfare of vulnerable people
(e) Carers’ wellbeing
(f) Independent living and supported housing
(g) Adult Health Services
(h) Healthy eating and physical activity
(i) Smoking cessation
(j) Alcohol and drugs misuse.

The timetable of the committees meetings can be found here.