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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 14/03/2005
WORK OF THE CONSTITUTION SIG – PROPOSALS FOR IMPROVING
WAVERLEY'S OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY PROCESSES



Summary & Purpose
This report is referred by the Executive, following the work of the Constitution Special Interest Group, and seeks the views of the three Waverley Overview and Scrutiny Committees on proposals for improving Waverley’s Overview and Scrutiny processes.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
Positive
N/A


APPENDIX B
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 7TH FEBRUARY 2005

ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
- 14TH MARCH 2005



Title:
WORK OF THE CONSTITUTION SIG – PROPOSALS FOR IMPROVING
WAVERLEY'S OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY PROCESSES

[Wards Affected: All]


Summary and purpose:

This report is referred by the Executive, following the work of the Constitution Special Interest Group, and seeks the views of the three Waverley Overview and Scrutiny Committees on proposals for improving Waverley’s Overview and Scrutiny processes.



Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
Positive
N/A

E-Government implications:

There are no direct E-Government implications arising as a result of this report, but Waverley’s web site is increasingly being used to access Council reports.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no immediate resource implications contained in the report, but there are two proposals for variations to the 2005/06 budget relating to the work of Overview and Scrutiny and the overall democratic representation budget.





Work Programme of the Special Interest Group

1. The Special Interest Group concentrated on the following three areas:-

Review of Overview and Scrutiny Committees

2. The Special Interest Group carried out an in-depth review of Best Practice in Overview and Scrutiny, and has reviewed agendas and visited meetings of other good and excellent Councils in the area.

3. Generally the SIG concluded that the Council’s processes are largely in line with Best Practice and have improved considerably over the last year, but they have put forward the following proposals for further consideration and development:-

(a) Organisational Culture of the Overview and Scrutiny Process


4. The SIG felt that these suggestions should be put to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to see if they support these or indeed can come up with other ideas for improving processes at meetings.

Focus and Co-ordination of the Work of Overview and Scrutiny Committees

5. The SIG felt that in the last year Overview and Scrutiny Committees had achieved considerable success in focusing their efforts on a limited number of major reviews. They drew attention to the very successful work on issues as diverse as the A3 Hindhead proposals, the review of Development Control and less broad but equally important issues such as the review of the Mayoralty and fly-tipping. (a copy of a review of developments submitted to the SIG is attached as Annexe 1).

6. The SIG also felt that the review under way at the moment on the role of Citizens Advice Bureaux could prove an invaluable input to policy development, and could give a broader opportunity for a range of members to make an input into developing Waverley policies.

7. The SIG did however discuss ways of developing this still further, and suggested that some form of annual review by all three committees, and a look forward to the following year’s work programme, could be submitted to the full Council and Council could then be given an opportunity to look across the work of all three committees to see how they could be co-ordinated better and contribute still further to policy development.

8. There are currently provisions in the constitution which would enable this and a specimen report prepared as an example for the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee only of how this might look is attached as Annexe 2 for members' information.



Relationship of Special Interest Groups and Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committees

9. The SIG has discussed this as a continuing area of uncertainty. However, the SIG felt it would be more fruitful to concentrate on developing practical ways of moving forward on this issue, and that the Council should adopt a flexible stance as to what was the best format for looking at a particular issue. The SIG also suggested relaxing the need for Overview and Scrutiny Committees to obtain Council approval to setting up Sub-Committees. The Black Book proposals on rights of Members to attend meetings and call -in items will also be submitted to the Committees for comment. The SIG did however acknowledge the resource implications where there might be duplication or overlap.

Performance Monitoring

10. The SIG noted that Overview and Scrutiny Committees had made progress in this area, but felt that some form of informal performance improvement group of members could help focus member attention on areas where Waverley could improve.

Next Steps

11. The Special Interest Group is now suggesting that Overview and Scrutiny Committees be consulted on the above areas, and that the SIG also meet the Standards Committee to talk about ways that the constitution can help both represent the community and achieve Waverley’s corporate objectives and maintain the highest ethical standards.

12. The SIG intends to revisit the question of delegation to see if there are ways of reducing Executive overload and helping the Executive focus its efforts in the same way that Overview and Scrutiny Committees have been able to over the last year. It will be reviewing best practice at other good and excellent Councils.


Resource Implications

13. Any change in the Sub-Committee structure and the use of SIGs and a performance improvement group of members discussed in the report will have implications on the level of staffing resources required to support members, with consequential budget effects.

14. The savings proposals included in the draft General Fund revenue budget for 2005/06 include the deletion of a Committee Secretary post at 18,000. This will reduce the Section's ability to service the number of SIGs and Sub-Committees set up by the Council.

15. The list of budget variations for 2005/06 includes 1,000 for each of the three Overview and Scrutiny Committees to provide for incidental costs associated with fulfilling their roles.


The Executive agreed to consult the three Overview and Scrutiny Committees for their views which would be reported back to the SIG, which in turn would report back to the Executive in March or April and noted the SIG’s remaining work programme.


Recommendation The Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee is asked to formulate any observations to the Special Interest Group on the areas drawn to its attention and to put forward any other ideas for improving the effectiveness of overview and scrutiny.


Background Papers (CEx) There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.



CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Robin Pellow Telephone: 01483 523222

E-mail: rpellow@waverley.gov.uk


comms/O&S3/2004-05/64