Better council scrutiny? Not on our watch says government!

“The Government has rejected calls from MPs for the extension of the requirement for a statutory scrutiny officer to all councils.

The proposal had been contained in a Communities and Local Government Select Committee report, Effectiveness of local authority overview and scrutiny committees, published in December 2017.

MPs on the CLG committee had suggested that such a post-holder should have a seniority and profile of equivalence to the council’s corporate management team. Statutory scrutiny officers should also be required to make regular reports to full council on the state of scrutiny, explicitly identifying any areas of weakness and the work carried out to rectify them, they argued.

However, in its formal response the Government reiterated its view that decisions about the allocation of resources for the scrutiny function were best made at a local level. “Each council is best-placed to know which arrangements will suit its own individual circumstances. It is not a case of one size fits all.” …”

In other words, if a council has something to hide – it can hide it.