|Will it roar?|
The members of Scrutiny Committee and I are considering what subjects should be the subject of scrutiny over the forthcoming year and beyond. Needless to say the number is already large and growing.
Nonetheless, it is open to any member of the council, or the public, to suggest an item for scrutiny. Whether it gets picked will be a matter of human resources. Clearly the Scrutiny Committee, even with 10 meetings a year, won't be able to do justice to a very large number, so we will need to prioritise and use dedicated task groups for some issues. To this end, I want all members of the Council outside the Cabinet to consider whether they would be willing to serve on a Scrutiny Committee task group. If you have specific areas of interest or concern, please say as it may help fit horses to courses.
Issues for scrutiny might fall into:-
- pre-decision, where a decision will be needed or made in the futureIssues for scrutiny may cover the workings of the Council or those of partnership bodies like:-
- post-decision reviews, whether of a policy or its implementation,
- subjects where the Council should get a handle on the problem even if not yet identifying, at this stage, the solution.
- the NHS,I am anxious Scrutiny Committee should, whilst looking at issues pertinent to the general wellbeing of Brent residents, get the balance right between looking at issues outside the council and the workings of the council itself, not neglecting the one through excessive focus on the other.
- Brent Housing Partnership and local Housing Associations,
- Transport for London
- the local Department of Work and Pension offices
- Voluntary and Community Sector bodies
Scrutiny Committee has the power to require lead members and council officers to attend and give evidence, and has some powers in respect of the NHS (there is a good deal of guidance on scrutiny in respect of NHS functions), and can invite, though not require, attendance by others.
The aim of scrutiny should be to investigate, find facts and express judgements. Our mission should be to create transparency on issues where transparency will aid public comprehension of the issues and why decisions have been made the way they were and whether those decisions, and how they were implemented were wrong or mishandled.
For this reason we will aim to give greater publicity to what Scrutiny Committee does and how it operates. To this end, I will be endeavouring to speak at each Brent Connects meeting to explain how we will operate, and conceivably other fora too.Dan Filson's email: Cllr.Dan.Filson@brent.gov.uk
I can assure councillors that I will consider all submissions.
I can also say that scrutiny, despite being in operation since the Local Government Act 2000, is still evolving and developing. We haven't yet got it right. It has been described as "the Lion that failed to roar" but my brief is to get scrutiny working, and I hope you will work with me on that.
The next meeting of Scrutiny Committee is at 7pm, June 16th Brent Civic Centre