Overview and scrutiny at the london borough merton
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Overview and scrutiny at the London Borough Merton. Daniel Moore, Scrutiny Officer London Borough Merton. What is overview and scrutiny What does overview and do and how does it do it What is overview and scrutiny doing now Why you should get involved and how. Structure of presentation.

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Overview and scrutiny at the London Borough Merton

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Overview and scrutiny at the London Borough Merton

Daniel Moore, Scrutiny Officer

London Borough Merton

What is overview and scrutiny

What does overview and do and how does it do it

What is overview and scrutiny doing now

Why you should get involved and how

Structure of presentation

Modernisation agenda: Local Government Act 2000 & Health and Social Care Act 2001

Merton = Cabinet and scrutiny model of governance

New scrutiny powers recently introduced:

Scrutiny of Crime and Disorder Partnerships (Safer Merton)

Scrutiny of LSP partners (Merton Partnership)

Powers to tackle local issues with ‘Councillor Call for Action’

Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act, 2007

What is overview and scrutiny?


Communication between Cabinet and scrutiny as a whole, e.g. on cross-cutting matters, is via the Commission


  • Leader

  • Corporate Resources

  • Children’s Services

  • Housing, Adult Care and Health

  • Community Services

  • Regeneration

  • Planning and Traffic Management

  • Environment

  • Community Safety and Engagement

Healthier Communities and Older People Panel

Children and Young People Panel

Overview and Scrutiny Commission

Sustainable Communities Panel

Corporate CapacityPanel

The Commission supports the panels, oversees work programmes and coordinates cross-cutting responses

Panels have a direct relationship with the Cabinet on matters relating to their remit

Policy development reviews

Pre-decision scrutiny of council documents


One off reviews

Performance management

What does overview and scrutiny do?

Policy development reviews

Scrutiny identify service/ issue to review

Scrutiny task group draft terms of reference for the review

Task group gathers evidence (from council officers, best practice councils, the public, partner organisations, etc)

Task group draws conclusions together and puts forward recommendations for improvement

Report and recommendations put to Cabinet to be adopted

Cabinet decide whether to accept and implement scrutiny recommendations, and respond along with an action plan to implement accepted recommendations

Pre-decision scrutiny of council documents

Draft report put forward to the relevant scrutiny panel

before Cabinet take their decision

Scrutiny panel examines proposals and challenges lead officers/ cabinet members on proposals and/ or alternatives.

Scrutiny panel reach conclusion about proposals and agree what recommendation/ comments they want to make to Cabinet

Scrutiny’s comments sent to Cabinet in a reference – these are considered alongside the decision report put to Cabinet

Cabinet take decision and reply with response to scrutiny recommendations

One-off reviews

One that would not be suitable for a longer term review

Scrutiny identify a service/ issue they want to look into

Panel arranges a meeting date to look at this issue Council officers, cabinet members, the public, partner organisations, etc invited to take part

Panel challenges/ questions based on information provided and draws conclusions together

If Panel identifies and recommendations, a reference is made to Cabinet setting out findings and recommendations

Cabinet take decision and reply with response to scrutiny recommendations

Revisions to the Housing Strategy

Specific issues regarding highways

Missed refuse collection

Issues over specific funding arrangements

Not everything is relevant for scrutiny

Examples of what scrutiny has achieved:

Raised the profile of equalities and public engagement

Increased engagement with young people

Provided effective challenge to decision-making through call-in e.g. Morden Park Playing Fields

Led focus group with mental health service users which flagged up personal safety concerns at the Springfield Hospital site. Scrutiny asked Mental Health Trust to act - people then felt safer on site

Considered post office closures – and one post office in Merton saved from closure

Enabled public views on proposed changes to day centre provision to be expressed

What has overview & scrutiny achieved?

What is Scrutiny doing now

The recent third sector strategy made a commitment to enable the voice of the third sector in shaping and influencing policy.

‘From the perspective of the third sector, being ‘on the radar’ of overview and scrutiny is seen as a key mechanism for influencing decision-makers and policy development in local government [and now partners]. One of our most telling findings was that third sector organisations which had experience of working with overview and scrutiny were more positive about their local authority than those which had not’

CFPS (2005) On The Radar

What does this mean for third sector organisations?

Established links with the community

Understanding the needs of specific client groups

Independence and freedom from institutional pressures


Why we want to involve third sector organisations

As an organisation located in the community you can:

Suggest topics for review using your knowledge of local services and concerns

Submit your views as part of the scrutiny process

Attend meetings held in public

Sign up to receive notifications of agenda publications

How can third sector organisations get involved?

Where can you find out more?


Scrutiny Team

9 Floor Civic Centre



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