mgarrard Wrote:In addition the National Overview and Scrutiny Forum are looking to meet with the Department of Health to discuss and comment on the detail of these proposals... views to feed into that discussion most welcome.....
On referral, use of the Power obviously has to be consistent (some might even say joined up) with the options for governance provided in the Localism Bill but for those Authorities operating executive arrangements the evidence is presented and considered by an OSC and then an extra process is added by having to table a report to full council - a political environment - when often timing will be a key issue for the NHS proposal
Timing would certainly be an issue. Full Council meetings occur here every 2 months and if there was to be a referral, the very fact that it would be taken as a last resort and inevitably be connected with a serious issue, would mean that there would be a degree of urgency about it. The involvement of full Council in the process would introduce an unecessary delay and I can't see it adding any value, apart from perhaps carrying a bit more weight upon approval. Conversely, what would happen if full Council didn't approve it?
There is also the issue of Executive Member involvement at full Council which doesn't sit comfortably with the O&S process.
The referral process has been used very sparingly over the years but has been a very useful persuader in OSCs gaining the cooperation of NHS bodies. It would be a mistake to tinker with it in this way, particularly in relation to Council's who will continue to operate an OSC / cabinet system. Government are now keen to stress that Council's should be able to devise their own arrangements for Health scrutiny, but at the same time appear to be introducing an unecessary layer of prescription.