Bet MINORITY party Tories will be MUCH more keen on this than they were when in power!
“The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued new statutory guidance for local and combined authorities in England on scrutiny of their decision-making.
It said councils were being “encouraged to embrace scrutiny of their spending decisions to achieve value for money, improve services and address the public’s concerns”.
The guidance, which can be viewed here
stresses the role of scrutiny committees in holding authorities to account over local decision-making. It outlines what effective scrutiny looks like and the positives it can bring to local authorities.
Key points highlighted by the Ministry include:
councils should adopt a position of sharing any information asked for by their scrutiny committee, and if information cannot be shared in public they should consider sharing it in a closed session;
scrutiny committees should be constructive ‘critical friends’ with a vital role of amplifying the voices and concerns of the public when councils take important decisions;
local authorities should also consider whether contracts with companies delivering services should include a requirement to supply information to scrutiny committees.
Rishi Sunak, Minister for Local Government, said: “Scrutiny committees form an integral part of the work of councils in delivering services by acting on behalf of residents to hold councillors and staff to account for the important decisions they make.
“That is why I have set out new guidance to ensure authorities and residents can reap the benefits of effective scrutiny, by instilling a culture that welcomes challenge.”
The Centre for Public Scrutiny assisted the Ministry in developing the guidance. Its chief executive, Jacqui McKinlay, said: “We welcome government’s timely revision of its statutory guidance on scrutiny, and particularly its focus on leadership buy-in, culture and behaviours that are so central to ensuring that effective overview and scrutiny can operate, and make an impact, at local level.
“We look forward to working closely with our colleagues at the Local Government Association and individual councils to use the new guidance as an excellent opportunity to reflect and review their current approach to scrutiny.”