Tonight the Forward Plan Scrutiny Committee is meeting, the first committee meeting of the year. I went on a training course in Scrutiny before Christmas, and it led me to conclude that Brent’s Scrutiny arrangements need a complete overhaul.
One of the first things we had to do was explain what the arrangements were in each authority. As I described Brent’s arrangements, I thought to myself how strange they were. Essentially, they were drawn up in an Executive-focused culture, and don’t really get into the spirit of the legislation. Many councillors dislike the new arrangements, but I don’t see any prospect of them changing so we have to make the best of Scrutiny as it stands.
What I think Scrutiny should be aiming at is more engagement with partners, greater transparency and more scope to engage with the public. To do that, I think we probably need to completely remodel our Scrutiny Committees, perhaps along the lines of the Corporate Themes.
I suspect that there is little chance of any reform until after the local elections, however.