The end for scrutiny? - Printable Version
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RE: The end for scrutiny? - Matthew Garrard - 20-05-2010 10:17 AM
Not sure that its the beginning of the end, more something different (again).
If it works the same as what the Conservatives previously proposed then there would need to be a local mandate for such a change. Nottinghamshire County Council already has such a mandate...
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Josh Mynott - 20-05-2010 10:42 AM
It also says "We will cut local government inspection and abolish the Comprehensive Area Assessment.", which could be a good thing for scrutiny - many scrutiny people have said for ages that you could get rid of these things and let scrutiny do the job, and there are general themes running through the thing of devolving power, accountability and local engagement.
I also note that Parliament will have something like our new petitions duty as well, where petitions with more than 100,000 names will be debated in the house.
It will be interesting to see whether a return to the committee system means precisely that, or simply a widening of the fourth option to all councils, which still requires scrutiny.
It's all very exciting, isn'tt it?
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Matthew Garrard - 20-05-2010 10:56 AM
There are also opportunities
New mayors will need holding to account: "We will create directly elected mayors in the 12 largest English cities, subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors."
As will elected police officials: "We will introduce measures to make the police more accountable through oversight by a directly elected individual, who will be subject to strict checks and balances by locally elected representatives."
and how will the development and implementation of housing strategies be made accountable: "We will rapidly abolish Regional Spatial Strategies and return decision-making powers on housing and planning to local councils"
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Neil Evans - 20-05-2010 11:32 AM
Please excuse my ignorance, but having always worked with Scrutiny, what was the concept of the "Committee System" does someone have an idiots guide I could read or point me in the right direction!
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Jackie Sayers - 20-05-2010 12:20 PM
The committee system is still in use by some smaller councils. See for example Epsom & Ewell's consitution at http://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/EEBC/Council/Council+Information/Decision+making+%28council%29/Council.htm - especially the structure diagram on page 5 of Part 3.
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Ed Hammond - 20-05-2010 01:37 PM
Agree with everything said so far. A mixture of trepidation and hope at this end.
Agree that the abolition of CAA should make the strengthening of local scrutiny a no-brainer.
As you would expect we are planning work around this. We can make a strong case to those councils who are thinking about returning to the committee system and getting rid of scrutiny (the two don't necessarily go hand in hand, of course).
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Earl Piggott-Smith - 20-05-2010 01:42 PM
time will tell I think - there are vested interests in the current working arrangements which allow the responsibiity ( by this I mean blame) to apportioned to a single person, if this responsibiity is shared in some kind of committee format then there will winners and losers, which may mean a reluctance to change
It would be interesting to see how what is proposed reflects the public mood to get more involved in local issues. The last government made several attempts to encourage increased levels of community activity , with varying degrees of succes, at a time of increasing budgetary pressures I not sure there is groundswell of public support for new structures which are not going to be cheap and would raise questions about whether the change will increase levels of public engagement and also if they represent value for money.
I guess scrutiny will live on some shape or another
p.s. what's the future for CFPS??
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Tim Bowers - 20-05-2010 01:58 PM
nevans Wrote:Hi all,
There was this description in the 1998 White Paper "Modern Local Governemnt in touch with the peopel:
"Significant decisions are, in many councils, taken behind closed doors by political groups or even a small group of key people within the majority group. Consequently, many councillors, even those in the majority group, have little influence over council decisions."
This was replaced by the executive system in which significant decisions can be taken behind closed doors by a small group of key people within the majority group and most councillors, even those in the majority group, have little influence over council decisions.
P.S. Perhaps the more immediately worrying bit in the coalition's programme is a 12-month or longer Council Tax freeze. Everything else is a bit longer term, perhaps.
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Matthew Garrard - 20-05-2010 02:16 PM
More possibilities - scrutiny committees might explore their role with National Park Authorities? "We will review the governance arrangements of National Parks in order to increase local accountability."
RE: The end for scrutiny? - Sunita Sharma - 21-05-2010 07:50 AM
It also says this,
"If a local authority has concerns about a significnant proposed closure of local services, for example and A&E department, it will have the right to challenge health organisations, and refer the case to the Independent Reconfigutation Panel. The Panel would then provide advice to the Secretary of State for Health"
How does this square with our health scrutiny powers??? Another one for CfPS and regional scrutiny networks to take up?