Scrutiny

How Scrutiny works in Hartlepool

The powers of Overview and Scrutiny Committees are set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013.  The powers can also be viewed in the Council's Constitution.

The Council's Statutory Scrutiny responsibilities, as they relate to Health Scrutiny and the activities of the Council's Crime and Disorder Committee, are delegated to the Audit and Governance Committee. The membership of the Audit and Governance Committee is drawn from Elected Councillors who are not Members of the Finance and Policy Committee and include a co-opted representative from a responsible local policing body (during consideration of Crime and Disorder Committee matters). Places on the Committee are normally allocated in proportion to the number of seats each party holds on the Council as a whole. The Chair of the Committee being a Member not in the majority group.

 Click here for the Audit and Governance meeting dates 

In addition to Statutory Scrutiny responsibilities, the Audit and Governance Committee also acts as the body responsible for consideration of Audit and Standards issues. Please bear in mind that Scrutiny does not deal with individual complaints or concerns. Overview and Scrutiny helps ensure that the Council delivers upon its objectives and achieves its vision for the town by creating an open transparent mechanism for Councillors to shape, question, evaluate and challenge policies, decisions and performance.  In Hartlepool, Overview and Scrutiny activities relate specifically to areas of statutory scrutiny, these being:-

Health Scrutiny - The Council has a statutory responsibility to review and scrutinise matters relating to the planning, provision and operation of health services as provided for by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.  In doing this, Local Authorities have a responsibility to not only look at themselves, but also at all health service providers and any other factors that affect people's health. 

In fulfilling this responsibility, the Audit and Governance Committee will review and scrutinise and make reports with recommendations to the Council (and / or Finance and Policy Committee where appropriate), health bodies and other relevant agencies about possible improvements in service in the following areas:-

(i) Health issues identified by, or of concern to, the local population;

(ii)Proposed substantial changes to local service provision and assessing the impact on the local community and service users;

(iii)The impact of interventions on the health of local inhabitants;

(iv)An overview of delivery against key national and local targets, particularly those which improve the public's health;

(v) The development of integrated strategies for health improvement; and

(vi)The accessibility of services that impact on the health of local people to all parts of the local community.

Additional Responsibilities:-

(i)To recommend to Council that a referral be made to the Secretary of State where there are concerns over insufficient consultation on major changes to services.  Details of this provision, and the tests to be considered in considering a referral, are to be outlined in the regulations that support the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Whilst most Health Scrutiny reviews focus on local services and the health of local communities, Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees can join together to carry out Health Scrutiny reviews or consider health issues that cross boundaries.

Hartlepool Borough Council is a Member of the Tees Valley Health Scrutiny Joint Committee and the North East Regional Joint Health Scrutiny Committee.

Tees Valley Health Scrutiny Joint Committee

The Tees Valley Health Scrutiny Joint Committee that Hartlepool Borough Council participates in consists of Elected Members from Darlington, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-On-Tees Local Authorities.

For details of the Tees Valley Health Scrutiny Joint Committee's meetings please contact the Scrutiny Support Team.

North East Regional Joint Health Scrutiny Committee

Hartlepool Borough Council has participated in joint working across the 12 North East Local Authorities in relation to Regional Health Scrutiny. 

In 2011, the 12 North East Local health representatives completed a CfPS funded investigation into the Health Needs of the Ex-Service Community, as detailed in the CfPS publication 'Peeling the Onion'.

This collaboration resulted in recognition at the CfPS 'Good Scrutiny Awards 2011', where the Committee were presented with the 'Joint Working' and 'Overall Impact' Award.

For further details about the Regional Health Scrutiny Committee and meeting dates please contact the Scrutiny Support Team.

Crime and Disorder Scrutiny - The Council has a statutory responsibility to establish a Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee (under the Police and Justice Act 2006) with the power to review or scrutinise decisions made or other action taken by the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP), which will be fulfilled through the Audit and Governance Committee.

The role of the committee in relation to this function is:-

(i)Scrutinise the work of the partners insofar as their activities relate to the partnership itself;

(ii) Review or scrutinise decisions made or other action taken in connection with the discharge, by responsible Authorities, of their crime and disorder functions (in this context responsible Authorities means the Council, the local policing body, the Fire Authority and the Health Bodies) and make reports or recommendations to the Council or the appropriate Policy Committee with regard to the discharge of those functions.  Key areas for review or scrutiny being:

- Policy development - including in-depth reviews;
- Contribution to the development of strategies;
- Holding to account at formal hearings; and
- Performance management.

(iii) Make reports and recommendations to the Council or to the appropriate Policy Committee on any local crime and disorder matter (as defined by section 19 of the Police and Justice Act 2006) which has been referred to it by a Member of the Council as a Councillor Call for Action.

Statutory Overview and Scrutiny is not a decision making body. What Overview and Scrutiny can do is make recommendations that will add value to the services the Council provides. 

Commenting on Policy Framework Documents

The Audit and Governance Committee is consulted on the establishment and development of Health / Crime and Disorder Plans and Strategies which comprise the Council's Policy Framework.