Putting scrutiny groups under the microscope

9:00am Monday 10th March 2014

OXFORDSHIRE County Council is launching a review after slashing the number of committees scrutinising its work.

After last year’s county council election, the authority decided to cut the number of scrutiny committees from six to three.

This was done to cut bureaucracy. Now the council is beginning a review of that decision to find out if the new system is working.

In a report, county solicitor Peter Clark said: “In changing its governance arrangements, council members wanted to ensure that the new arrangements actually achieved the twin aims of engaging members more fully and providing a more focused, integrated approach to policy and performance.

“Members envisaged that the arrangements should be in place for 12 months before undertaking a review.”

He said a decision on the review would probably be taken at the September meeting of the full council.

The role of council scrutiny committees is to examine policy in detail and hold the administration to account.

Following the review, the county council now has three focusing on performance, education and health.

Last year’s changes also saw the introduction of cabinet advisory groups, made up of councillors from all parties.

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