RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill
I would like to echo Mark's comment above.
The best form of representative democracy is one that has elected representatives closest to the people they are suppose to represent. I believe that scrutiny operates best and has the best outcomes when it is closest to the people affected by decisions, policies or proposals - district councils are best placed to achieve these outcomes through locally informed and supported scrutiny.
Districts are at the frontline and, in some cases, have far more effective partnership working arrangements than upper tier authorities. Failure to make provision for this power at district level would serve to undermine the role of the non-executive district councillor - this is something we cannot afford to do as district councillors have a better feel for the issues faced by the people they represent.
The argument that there is a risk of duplication or confusion is not sufficient to withhold these powers from districts, which have the competence to manage such issues currently . For example, my authority shares the same PCT as Staffordshire Moorlands DC and there is obviously potential for duplication. This doesn't happen because it is managed by regular contact between the two authorities and the PCT. This works well locally and has not caused problems.
There is, in my view, a compelling argument to allow districts to find local solutions to local problems and strengthen the role of (genuinely) local elected representatives.