'Not fit for purpose' scrutiny panels to be abolished at Northamptonshire County Council

Proposals to radically transform Northamptonshire County Council's scrutiny committees have been published following an external review of the function.
Northamptonshire County Council's headquarters, Angel SquareNorthamptonshire County Council's headquarters, Angel Square
Northamptonshire County Council's headquarters, Angel Square

A report to Full Council proposes the abolition of the five existing scrutiny committees to be replaced by a single committee to focus primarily on the budget and recovery plan. The health scrutiny function will continue as a statutory requirement.

The recommendations come directly from a review of the council’s scrutiny arrangements carried out by the Centre for Public Scrutiny and follow criticisms of the function in the Max Caller report.

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Leader of the council Councillor Matt Golby said: “The report is pretty stark and clear in its recommendations. Our current scrutiny arrangements are not fit for purpose and need to change. I have discussed this with the commissioners and we are all in agreement that we want to implement the findings of this review in full.

“This is a significant proposal and one which not only enacts the recommendations of the Centre for Public Scrutiny in full but also responds strongly and assertively to criticism of our scrutiny arrangements in the Max Caller report.”

If accepted the proposals would see the abolition of the following scrutiny committees:

- Children, Learning and Communities Scrutiny Committee

- Environment, Development and Transport Scrutiny Committee

- Finance and Resources Scrutiny Committee

- Health, Adult Care and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

- Scrutiny Management Committee.

The proposal is for these to be replaced by a committee to be known as the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The statutory health scrutiny function will continue to be delivered.

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It is recommended that the new Overview and Scrutiny Committee should focus on:

- Major savings proposals and their implications – including equalities implications

- Major risks to the council, the community and to the wider area as identified by the council and its partners

- Making substantive recommendations to feed into the in-year and 19/20 budget proposals

- Engagement, alignment and support for the council’s improvement plans

Other statutory functions associated with the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s function.

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