Improvement and Scrutiny Committee

The Council is required by law to establish a Scrutiny Committee and has been operating scrutiny arrangements since 1999. During that period the Scrutiny process which is led by your Borough Councillors has changed much with greater emphasis given to promoting and encouraging people's involvement at our meetings by both asking questions and proposing matters for review. Scrutiny is now established as a key part of the democratic leadership of local authorities and a valuable tool in the quest to enhance public accountability. The main roles of the Council's Scrutiny Committee are:

  • to monitor the decisions made by the Cabinet and other decision makers and to advise the Council on matters of policy or service delivery affecting citizens
  • to consider matters of importance to the public and the Council such as the budget and to contribute to policy development
  • to promote public involvement in the scrutiny process through public speaking and encouraging people to ask for matters of public concern within the Committee's terms of reference to be reviewed
  • crime and disorder scrutiny
  • scrutinising partner bodies involved in the delivery of the Local Area Agreement either on its own or jointly with other councils.

Scrutiny Committees are influencing bodies not decision making bodies. The role of scrutiny at Amber Valley, therefore, is to be a "critical friend" of the Council who makes suggestions designed to improve services for the community.

Scrutiny allows the key decisions made by the Council's Cabinet and officers to be questioned by other Borough Councillors. It's a common sense approach to reviewing Council decisions and policies and considering whether they are right for the Borough. Not only does it provide a means to review the Council's own achievements against planned targets but also enables reviews to be carried out in relation to services provided by other public organisations and bodies on issues affecting the public and makes reports and recommendations.

Accessing Scrutiny

By Councillors using the "call-in" mechanism:

Under this system, members can ask the Committee to have another look at a decision made by Cabinet before it is implemented, to examine the reasoning for the decision and to consider an alternative solution if one has been suggested. Amber Valley Borough Council holds Cabinet meetings every six weeks. It makes decisions on a wide range of local issues such as public health and the environment, community safety, leisure and regeneration. Decisions made by Cabinet are normally published within two working days of the meeting and can be found on this website. Any decision can be "called-in" by a Borough Councillor in the two working days following publication.

The Scrutiny function allows for Borough Councillors to call-in decisions made by Cabinet prior to implementation. This is to ensure transparency of the decision making process of the Cabinet and Officers and demonstrates the Council's commitment to involving local people in decisions that affect the community. As part of this commitment, the Council is keen to promote greater public awareness of the role and responsibilities of local Borough Councillors and how they can help local people or groups. Under the "call-in" process anyone may ask their local Borough Councillor (or any other Borough Councillor if they are unable to act) to be their advocate and have a decision called-in for examination. "Call-in" effectively freezes implementation of the decision until the matter has at least been considered by the Scrutiny Committee.

Remember, if you wish to request a "call-in", you must contact your local Borough Councillor promptly i.e. normally within two working days of the publication of the Cabinet minutes. The contact details of Borough Councillors can be found on the Councillor Look Up page and a Guide to Councillors is available at the Town Hall, Ripley and at the Town Centre Offices. Alternatively, contact 01773 570222 for assistance.

By local residents, voluntary groups and/or businesses in the Borough

Local residents, voluntary groups and/or businesses in the Borough can also request the Democratic Services Manager to review a subject or matter of concern in the Borough.

With public speaking encouraged at Scrutiny Committee meetings, members of the public can now directly influence and help shape the scrutiny agenda.

A separate booklet entitled 'Your Local Guide to Scrutiny' explaining the procedure for submitting requests for scrutiny reviews is available to download.

Councillor Call for Action (CCfA)

In addition to the "call-in" process, any member of the public can ask a Borough Councillor to refer an issue to the Democratic Services Manager for consideration - this is called Councillor Call for Action.

CCfA bolsters the role of Councillors to respond to the needs of their area by giving them a new right to put issues of local concern on to the agenda of the Scrutiny Committee. It is not intended as a first point of action, but instead is designed to be used where normal methods of resolution, such as use of the Council's complaints system, have been exhausted. A local protocol has been prepared to explain how CCfA will work in practice. For more information on CCfA, please view the CCfA page on our site.



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