Overview and scrutiny in Bracknell Forest
Overview and scrutiny reviews the council’s and its partners’ work in public. It:
- monitors the performance of a wide range of services
- influences public policy
- carries out duties, such as examining the council’s budget proposals each year
- carries out detailed reviews of major topics
Overview and scrutiny produces reports which have recommendations for improvements to the council’s leadership and others.
Overview and scrutiny does not deal with individual queries, concerns or complaints. If you are not satisfied with a council service, then please use the council’s complaints procedure.
Overview and scrutiny has legal powers in the Local Government Act and elsewhere to:
- review the activities of a wide range of public bodies
- require people to attend public meetings
- issue reports which must be responded to
This scrutiny must be carried out within the legal framework set by parliament, and other rules set by the government. Please see the legislation and rules document for further information.
The council has also adopted local arrangements for the conduct of overview and scrutiny. These appear in the council’s constitution.
Overview and scrutiny cannot change the executive’s decisions, but it has the power to ‘call in’ a decision which has not yet been carried through, and require it to be reconsidered.
In Bracknell Forest, overview and scrutiny is carried out by a commission and 3 panels:
- Adult Social Care, Health and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Children, Young People and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Joint East Berkshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee
In May 2018, the Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel and the Adult Social Care and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel merged to form the Adult Social Care, Health and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel.
You can view the archived details of the panels:
- Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel archived details
- Adult Social Care and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel archived details
Each of the panels and the commission is made up of elected non-executive members of the council. Some of the panels also include other representatives such as church, parent governor and teacher representatives.
The work of the commission and panels is steered by a work programme.
Much of the detailed work is carried out by working groups. Some of these groups are formed to provide an input to policy development. Other groups carry out investigations and then produce a report on the specific issue. Council officers, expert witnesses, partners and service users take part in these reviews. Site visits may be carried out and independent research may be considered.
These councillors chair the overview and scrutiny meetings:
- Councillor Ian Leake – Overview and Scrutiny Commission (Chairman)
- Councillor Mrs Gill Birch – Children, Young People and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel (Chairman)
- Councillor Robert Angell – Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel (Chairman)
- Councillor John Harrison – Adult Social Care, Health and Housing Overview and Scrutiny Panel (Chairman)
The Overview and Scrutiny Commission co-ordinates the work of the panels and reviews corporate issues concerning the whole council. This co-ordination role includes appointing panel members and agreeing a work programme. The commission regularly scrutinises the council’s performance. The commission undertakes its own cross-cutting reviews when required. It is also the council’s statutory Crime and Disorder Committee.
The commission’s terms of reference and membership can be viewed online.
The work of the commission and panels is steered by an annual work programme. This is agreed by the commission in consultation with the executive and corporate management team. Residents are encouraged to contribute ideas and concerns to shape the work programme.
The work programme includes reviews and performance monitoring of policy objectives, performance targets and particular service areas.
This happens through performance reports and budget consultation and monitoring. The work programme is flexible, allowing the addition of new reviews as the need arises.
The work programme for 2019 to 2020 is currently being developed. It will be added to this page in due course.
Reviews and responses
This report explains the structure of overview and scrutiny and how it works at Bracknell Forest. It outlines the work undertaken by the commission and panels, and give a forward look to future developments.