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Scrutiny is a crucial part of the council’s decision and policy making process. The scrutiny function counter-balances the Mayor’s executive decision-making. It is a way for backbench councillors to hold decision-makers to account, monitor council performance and give input to policy-making. Any backbench councillor can take part in a scrutiny commission or oversight activities. Scrutiny commissions and reviews provide:
- forums to hear evidence, consider different views or opinions and respond to public priorities.
- a public arena to promote confidence and greater involvement in local democracy.
- a vehicle for constructive challenge, public accountability and improved outcomes for people in Bristol. Especially through early engagement before decision making, policy development and review.
Scrutiny bodies make recommendations to our elected Mayor and local decision makers on how to improve services and policies impacting on the everyday lives of people living, working and visiting our city.
Each local authority structures their own scrutiny function. In Bristol, we have an Overview and Scrutiny Management Board who directs and co-ordinates the overall service, which includes five Scrutiny Commissions.
Each Commission is set up to undertake in-depth scrutiny activities for a specific topic or service area, addressing their own priorities for the year. Scrutiny can be done through many different models, for example:
- evidence sessions in commission meetings.
- one-off inquiry events.
- select committees, working groups and site visits.
This allows scrutiny to approach individual subjects flexibly. All scrutiny commission meetings are open to the public and you can get involved in a number of ways.
Each commission is open to the public. For dates and places, visit Meeting Finder. An archive of past reviews and reports are featured at the bottom of this page. Here is a list of current commissions:
- Overview and Scrutiny Management Board manages the scrutiny function and hosts monthly question time with the Mayor and Cabinet Members.
Contact: Shana Johnson, Scrutiny Co-ordinator 0117 922 2908
- Children Young People and Families looks at all services for children and young people. This includes: school places and admissions, school performance, children's safeguarding and Youth Links.
Contact: Shana Johnson, Scrutiny Co-ordinator 0117 922 2908
- Resources reviews the way the council operates, including how the budget is prepared and agreed.
Contact: Steve Chapman, Scrutiny Officer 0117 922 2735
- Health, Wellbeing and Adult Care covers all health services (including children), adult social care and services for older people.
Contact: Romayne de Fonseka, Scrutiny Officer - 0117 922 2770
- Neighbourhoods and Communities has a remit for all housing issues, as well as leisure, sport, culture, parks and green spaces, operational waste /recycling and street cleanliness.
Contact: Steve Chapman, Scrutiny Officer 0117 922 2735
- Sustainable Development and Transport deals with transport (e.g. cycling, buses, rail, residents parking), development and sustainability issues for example climate change, air quality, strategic waste.
Contact: Sian Parry, Scrutiny Officer 0117 922 2074
Yes, we have a statutory duty to scrutinise services beyond those provided or commissioned by the Council. Currently, these are:
- The Health, Wellbeing and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Commission, who scrutinise health services in Bristol.
- The Overview and Scrutiny Management Board is also the Council’s Crime and Disorder Committee, and scrutinises Safer Bristol, our local community safety partnership.
The Council also participates with neighbouring councils on a number of joint scrutiny bodies including:
- The Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel.
- The West of England Joint Scrutiny Committee.
- The South West Joint Ambulance Committee.
- The Joint Health Committee.
Every year, unsually in June, each commission picks two or three topics they want to review more closely. The next step is to decide how they want to do it, who they want to hear from, what specific information is needed and to set a deadline for it to be completed. To do this, the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board may set up a select committee. Using the parliamentary model, this means taking evidence from expert witnesses, service users, stakeholders and then making evidence-based recommendations.
In Bristol we have used Inquiry Days, which help councillors get a good understanding of complex issues through expert speakers and engaging in debate with specialists. People from a wide range of organisations are invited to share their expertise and views through panel discussions or workshop sessions. This approach helps councillors identify and explore key issues, share information and explore topics. It also allows for a wide range of views to be shared. This helps councillors to be confident that their policy recommendations are well-informed. It can also put a spotlight on specific initiatives or areas of work and provide excellent networking opportunities leading to more joined up working with partners.
Scrutiny Commissions may address their programme priorities through an informal working group, site visit or walkabout, public consultations, use of social media, or whatever will work best for the topic under discussion.
There are various ways in which the public can be involved in scrutiny reviews:
- Scrutiny commission meetings are open to the public and anyone can attend. There is no need to give prior notice and seating is set aside for this purpose.
- Any person or group can make a statement, or ask the Chair a question on a relevant topic at a scrutiny commission meeting. These must be sent in before the meeting (legal deadlines apply to this). This is a way for people to raise issues that they feel the commission should be addressing or commenting on. This is usually followed up with a discussion later in the meeting.
- Some scrutiny meetings and events are webcast and followed via Twitter. Occasionally, reviews run a discussion feed alongside the webcast which show public comment about the meeting.
- Other scrutiny reviews specifically invite public views via the Council’s website.
- Scrutiny agendas and minutes are public documents and are available through the Meetings section of the Council’s website.
- All scrutiny commission work programmes are included with the committee papers on the Council’s website for members of the public to see what’s coming up.
These are the final reports and recommendations produced by scrutiny bodies since 2007.
2012 to 2013
- Referral to Assistant Mayor for Transport, Planning, Strategic Housing and Regeneration - Affordable Housing Review Panel (pdf, 16 KB)(opens new window)
- Overview and Scrutiny Management Board - Report to full Council on the Large Retail Outlet Levy Motion
- Licensing Policy Scrutiny Board - Report to full Council on Statement of Licensing Policy for Consultation
- Licensing Policy Scrutiny Board - Report to full Council on a Proposed Cumulative Impact Policy for a Specific Area in Bedminster and Southville Wards
- Referral from Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission to Cabinet on 29 May 2013 on Residents' Parking (pdf, 46 KB)(opens new window)
- Referral from Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission to Cabinet on 27 June 2013 on Residents' Parking (pdf, 13 KB)(opens new window)
The recommendations have been referred to the Mayoral Fairness Commission
- Improving services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (pdf, 2.6 MB)(opens new window)
- Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission - Flood risk management for Bristol (pdf, 198 KB)(opens new window)
- Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission - 'Democratising cycling: Making it safer' (pdf, 1.0 MB)(opens new window)
- Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission - Focus on jobs and the economy (pdf, 255 KB)(opens new window)
2011 to 2012:
- Children's Services Scrutiny Commission - Inquiry into Primary School Admission Policy (pdf, 1.1 MB)(opens new window)
- Children's Services Scrutiny Commission - Inquiry into Deaf and Hearing Impaired Service Provision (pdf, 1.6 MB)(opens new window)
- Community Cohesion and Safety Scrutiny Commission - Inquiry into English for Speakers of Other Languages (pdf, 1.5 MB)(opens new window)
- Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Commission - Inquiry into Modernising Mental Health Services (pdf, 49 KB)(opens new window)
- Quality of Life Scrutiny Commission - Inquiry into Housing and Welfare Reforms (pdf, 188 KB)(opens new window)
- Flood Risk Working Group (pdf, 1.0 MB)(opens new window)
- Children's Services Scrutiny Commission - Innovation in School Organisation (pdf, 379 KB)(opens new window)
- Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Commission - High Street Inquiry
- Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee - Inquiry Day on Drug Policy Impacts
- Joint Children's Services and Community and Cohesion Scrutiny Commissions and the Youth Select Committee - Encouraging Aspiration: Creating Opportunity
- Sustainable Development and Transport Scrutiny Committee - Inquiry Day on Jobs and the Economy
2010 to 2011
- Informal Adult Learning Select Committee Report (pdf, 266 KB)(opens new window)
- Third Sector Commissioning Select Committee Report (pdf, 2.4 MB)(opens new window)
- Child Poverty Inquiry Day Report (pdf, 149 KB)(opens new window)
- Climate Change and Energy Security Framework Inquiry Day Report (pdf, 1.0 MB)(opens new window)
2009 to 2010
- Post Office Working Group Report (pdf, 442 KB)(opens new window)
- Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recyle Working Group Report (pdf, 156 KB)(opens new window)
- Human Trafficking Inquiry Day Report (pdf, 115 KB)(opens new window)
- Dementia Care Final Report (pdf, 284 KB)(opens new window)
2008 to 2009
- Museums and Archives Select Committee Report (pdf, 1.0 MB)(opens new window)
- Sustainable Travel Select Committee Report (pdf, 2.3 MB)(opens new window)
- Orchard View Respite Care Unit Report - Joint Health Select Committee (pdf, 182 KB)(opens new window)
2007 to 2008
- Climate Change Select Committee Report - 'Time for Action' (pdf, 215 KB)(opens new window)
- Scrutiny Inquiry Day on Street Sex Markets (pdf, 206 KB)(opens new window)
The following are final reports and recommendations produced by Scrutiny from 2005 to 2006. If you would like to see a copy of any of these, please contact the Scrutiny Team on 0117 922 2742 or email email@example.com
2006 to 2007
- Review of Libraries Select Committee
- Alcohol and Young People Report: Bristol Health Commission
- Walk-in Centre Report: Bristol Health Commission
- Domestic Violence and Abuse: Report and Recommendations
2005 to 2006
- Staff Health and Welfare Select Committee
- Sustaining Voluntary Organisations Select Committee
- Property Assets Select Committee
Joint Health Scrutiny Committee Reports
- Bristol Health Services Plan - July 2005
- Avon and Wiltshire Mental health Partnership NHS Trust Transformation Project for Adults - July 2005
- Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust Transformation Project or Older Adults - July 2005
- Future of Keynsham Hospital Services - April 2006
- Report on the Proposal to Develop Community Health Facilities for Kingswood and District
Pages in the section
- Children, Young People and Families Scrutiny Commission
- Health, Well Being and Adult Care Scrutiny Commission
- How do I get involved with Scrutiny?
- Neighbourhoods and Communities Scrutiny Commission
- Overview and Scrutiny Management Board
- Overview and Scrutiny in Bristol
- Resources Scrutiny Commission
- Scrutiny – annual reports and previous reviews
Scrutiny Team Room U02, City Hall College Green Bristol, BS1 5TR
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Work: 0117 922 2742
- Fax: 0117 922 2909