Venue: Committee Room 1 - Town Hall
Contact: Stephen Fox (0161 474 3206)
To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2019.
The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 22 July 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors and officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interests they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.
No declarations of interest were made.
To consider call-in items (if any).
There were no call-in items to consider.
The Chief Executive
The Chief Executive has been invited to the meeting to discuss issues relevant to the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee.
The Chair welcomed the Chief Executive (Pam Smith) to the meeting and invited her to outline her view of the role of scrutiny in Stockport, and the role of the Co-ordination Committee, particularly in light of the outcomes and recommendations of the Committee’s Review ‘Undertaking Scrutiny in Stockport’.
The new Statutory Scrutiny Officer (Kathryn Rees, Service Director for Strategy & Commissioning) was also in attendance.
The Chief Executive explained that she believed robust scrutiny was a measure of the health of governance of organisation, and that decision-making was improved by supportive challenge from members. She stated that she had initially been surprised by the number of scrutiny committees operating in Stockport given the practice in many council had been to adopt a one-committee model, but that given the particular circumstances in Stockport there was merit and success in the model adopted here.
The Chief Executive then moved on to highlight specific, such as:-
· the scope for undertaking thematic scrutiny, examining services or proposals along the whole ‘pathway’ a resident may experience, citing the example of those with disabilities transitioning through services over time, and the role of this committee in explore and encouraging this approach
· understanding the differences between Stockport and other in Greater Manchester, and whether these were appropriate or not, citing the Unified Public Services agenda;
· having a clearer role for, and engaging with, local residents in scrutiny;
importance for this committee to ‘set the tone’ for
scrutiny in Stockport.
The Chief Executive referred to the recent appointment of Kathryn Rees, Service Director for Strategy & Commissioning, as the Statutory Scrutiny Officer.
Members of the Scrutiny Committee then asked questions, including:-
· Given the responsibilities of the Service Director for Strategy & Commissioning the Chief Executive confident this would complement the role of Statutory Scrutiny Officer and how did she envisage this working? In response, the Chief Executive emphasised the importance of a ‘fresh pair of eyes’, but also someone with a role that gave them an overview across the whole Council and someone able to identify issues that may need closer scrutiny as commissioning is reviewed. The Service Director would also have access to the Corporate Leadership Team and the Chief Executive to raise issues of concern. It was acknowledged that the arrangement was novel, and there would be a degree of learning as the role evolved, but it was hoped this would be helped by having a high calibre colleague with managerial status within the organisation.
· The Committee had previously stressed the importance of ‘parity of esteem’ between scrutiny and executive functions; how would this be achieved, or the balance maintained between the competing demands? In response, the Chief Executive again stressed the importance of the appointment of the new Statutory Scrutiny Officer, but also that she felt at there was a parity in Stockport, but stated that this assumption would need testing to make sure members felt their views were being acted on, not just listened to.
· Scrutiny in Stockport had not changed significantly since its introduction, so how well was Stockport doing this? In response it was acknowledged that it would not be possible to introduce ‘efficiency’ by moving toward one scrutiny committee, but to explore issues more depth, and thematically, rather than focussing on scrutinising reports going to the Cabinet. The Chair commented that the rigidity of the current scrutiny arrangements would make this approach difficult, but that the work being undertaken by the Constitution Working Party to review the current constitutional underpinning of scrutiny to make it more ‘agile’ may make this easier to achieve.
· Comment was made that the Children & Families Scrutiny Committee was planning to engage with young people during the year, but outside of the formal committee setting. In response the Chief Executive welcomed the approach being suggested.
· It was commented that while cabinet members and officers were always willing to engage, there were not always such positive relationships with external agencies. ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Scrutiny Review Topic Selection - 2019/2020 PDF 54 KB
To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive
The report sets out Scrutiny Review topics which have been proposed by Scrutiny Committees for 2019/20.
The Committee is invited to consider the proposed topics and make recommendations to the Council Meeting in relation to the Scrutiny Work Programme for 2019/2020.
Officer Contact: Stephen Fox on 0161 474 3206 or email: email@example.com
A representative of Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) inviting the Committee to consider Scrutiny Review topics that had been identified and proposed by scrutiny committees for inclusion in the 2019/2020 Work Programme.
RESOLVED – That the proposed Scrutiny Work Programme of scrutiny reviews be approved, subject to the amendment of the description of the Adult Social Care & Health Review to read:-
“Diabetes – how can we do more to raise awareness of diabetes and how to seek support, and make best use of community facilities?”
Agenda Planning: Scrutiny Work Programme PDF 43 KB
To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.
The report details future planned agenda items.
The Scrutiny Committee are invited to consider and comment on the Work Programme.
Officer Contact: Stephen Fox on Tel: 0161 474 3206 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A representative of Deputy Chief Executive submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) setting out the Work Programme for the Coordination Committee.
RESOLVED – That the report be noted subject to the submission a report on constitutional changes to the November meeting.