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Scrutiny at Leeds

The role of the scrutiny boards is to examine our decisions and policies as well as overall performance of services and make recommendations - like a watchdog making sure the people of Leeds get the best out of their public services.

Scrutiny boards

We have six scrutiny boards made up of councillors from all political parties. Some boards have members from outside the council, for example, school governors. Each board has a specific area they have responsibility for scrutinising.


Tenant Scrutiny Board

We now have a Scrutiny Board focusing on Tenant Scrutiny. Volunteer tenants involved in local tenant scrutiny from across different parts of the city have now come together to make one Tenant Scrutiny Board. This gives tenants a city-wide and more influential voice in improving housing services. The role of the Tenant Scrutiny Board is to act as an independent group who carry out investigations into the day to day work of our service, the policies behind them and, importantly, the quality of service we are able to give. This is a key role that ensures the service focuses on the needs of tenants. 

If you would like to submit any ideas for Tenant Scrutiny to look at, you can also email at tenant.scrutiny@leeds.gov.uk 


Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Yorkshire and the Humber)

Often referred to as the Joint HOSC or JHOSC. The Committee is made up of representatives from each of the 15 top-tier authorities across the region and specifically formed to consider the outcome of the Safe and Sustainable Review of Children's Congenital Cardiac Services in England. Further information on the Committee and its work can be downloaded from the JHOSC page in Related Pages.

 

Getting involved with Scrutiny

Scrutiny boards can consider suggestions of issues to look at from anyone. If you have a suggestion for a piece of work for the scrutiny boards, fill in a scrutiny request form available to download from "Getting Involved with Scrutiny" page . 

 

You can be informed

  • Contact us by email scrutiny.unit@leeds.gov.uk  to sign up to our mailing list and receive regular bulletins about the work of scrutiny boards
  • All the scrutiny board meetings are open to the public to attend
  • Browse through some of the previous work done by the scrutiny boards
  • Read our 'Guide to scrutiny' for more information about meetings and the work of the scrutiny boards
  • Read our 'Witness Guide to Scrutiny'  for more specific information.

 

The following documents are available to download from this page

  • Guide to Scrutiny
  • Witness Guide to Scrutiny
  • Latest Scrutiny News issue
  • Scrutiny Annual Report

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What is Overview and Scrutiny?

Leeds wants its policies to be relevant to the needs of local people - and its services to be of the highest quality.
To achieve this, the council aims to examine and review its policies and services in an open and accountable way that involves local people.
The Council's Overview and Scrutiny process is its way of achieving this.
Through a series of Scrutiny Boards, Councillors work together to review services or policies and make recommendations for improvement to the council's executive and/or partner organisations for improvements or alternative ways of working.
Scrutiny Boards will look to work in partnership with the council's executive - but will not refrain from offering constructive criticism where they think services are being poorly provided or failing to meet the needs or desires of local people.
Local people are the heart of effective scrutiny. With their involvement, Councillors are able to hear the views of people who receive services.

What are the aims of Scrutiny?

Overview and Scrutiny is about working alongside providers, partners and local people to improve policies and services.
Overview and Scrutiny is part of the Council's aims to:
  • Improve its performance;
  • Consider all options to provide better services;
  • Listen to the community, to deliver services which are relevant and meet local needs;
  • Ensure decision-making is clear, transparent and accountable.

How does Scrutiny work in Leeds?

The Council has six Scrutiny Boards consisting of councillors from all political parties on the Council.  Some Scrutiny Boards have Co-opted Members.
The scrutiny Boards will identify areas of need or issues of concern to local residents. These may be:
  • An existing policy;
  • A policy proposal;
  • A service;
  • A community issue.
With support from Scrutiny Unit, each Scrutiny Board agrees a work programme and terms of reference for particular inquires. This process clearly identifies the scope of what each committee will look at over the coming year.

How do the Scrutiny Boards operate?

Scrutiny Boards meet once a month and Executive Councillors, Council officers and expert witnesses may be invited to provide information to members in relation to the topics on the committee's agenda. Having heard the information members of the committee will then have the opportunity to ask questions.  The Chair will manage the meeting to allow a range of questions to be put and give the opportunity for answers to be given. Members of the Scrutiny Board will then be able to have an informed discussion around the evidence given. Detailed Guides on how scrutiny operates are available to download from this site.

The Scrutiny Board may also choose to gather its information in other ways outside of formal meetings, for example:

Working Groups;
One to one discussions;
Site visits;
Community meetings;
Surveys/questionnaires.

Once the Scrutiny Board has gathered all the information its needs it will valuate it and if appropriate make recommendations for improvements.  These will usually be presented in a report to the relevant decision makers: the Executive Board, Full Council, or individual partner organisations.

How can scrutiny influence policy and improve local services?

Once Scrutiny Board has gathered all the information together and drawn its conclusions it will produce a report with a practical list of recommendations, to address the issues and improve the service.
This report will be forwarded to the Council's Executive for consideration. The report will then be debated in public at the Executive Board or Council where Executive Councillors can make their response to the report.  They will advise the meeting what they will do to carry out the recommendations or explain why they reject certain recommendations.
If the recommendations relate to services provided by the Council's partners, the report may also be forwarded to individual partners such as the health for their consideration as well.

I work for the Council. How will scrutiny affect me or my colleagues?

Scrutiny's role is to find ways of improving services. It provides officers giving evidence with an opportunity to highlight areas where they perform well, indicate areas of difficulty and suggest changes they would like to implement.

Scrutiny Boards offer the opportunity for officers to give councillors a more detailed understanding of the way services are provided and therefore leads to better informed recommendations.

Scrutiny Boards want to work in partnership with others. They provide the opportunity for a constructive dialogue between officers and councillors, to move services or policies forward.

Scrutiny also provides officers with a valuable opportunity to learn from the experience of co-opted members. The evidence from external witnesses may also provide staff with innovative ideas that have not previously been considered.

I'm a resident. How can I get involved?

If Scrutiny is to be successful, it is essential that local people are involved, if councillors are to gain a clear picture of the issues that affect the local community.  For this reason scrutiny welcomes the views of local people in relation to the topics on their work programme. 
Contact the Scrutiny Support Unit and find out how to contribute by:
 
Letter: c/o Scrutiny Support Unit, 1st Floor West,Civic Hall,Leeds, LS1 1UR

Or you could fill out the Contact Us form on this page.
 
 
Attend a Scrutiny Meeting
All Scrutiny meetings are open to the public to attend as observers. You may be able to speak at the meeting but this is at the discretion of the Chair, who will manage the meeting to allow a range of questions to be put and give the opportunity for answers to be given. 

If you are interested in findng out more about the scrutiny processes and how they operate you can request or download a number of detailed Scrutiny Guides.
Join our mailing list to get our monthly newsletter that provides the latest update on what is happening in Scrutiny.

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