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Overview and Scrutiny

Overview and Scrutiny

What is Overview and Scrutiny?

Overview and Scrutiny plays an important role in the council decision making process. 

Overview and Scrutiny panels review decisions made by the Executive (members of the council's cabinet) and make recommendations to ensure that the people of North Lincolnshire get the best out of their public services. Overview and Scrutiny panels also play an important role in helping to develop council policies for the benefit of local people. 

Scrutiny Panel meetings will normally focus on one or a combination of the following overview and scrutiny functions: 

  • Policy review and development
  • Overview of policy, procedure and performance
  • Regular meetings with Cabinet Members
  • Added items
  • Performance monitoring and assessment
  • Improvement and action plan monitoring
  • Health scrutiny functions
  • Joint scrutiny with other partners
  • Councillor call for action
  • Crime and disorder committee issues
  • Flood management responsibilities
  • Safeguarding responsibilities
  • Call-in of executive functions 

Each panel sets its own work programme. Scrutiny reviews usually involve: 

  • Project planning or scoping a scrutiny review
  • Evidence gathering
  • Analysis and evaluation
  • Conclusion reaching, or
  • Holding the council's Executive and/or external partners to account
  • Making recommendations.

On occasions it may be necessary or desirable to include a mix of these overview and scrutiny functions on the agenda for a single meeting, especially if two or more topics are being scrutinised concurrently. 

The panels mainly look at services provided by the council but can also look at wider issues involving partners or agencies, for example health trusts and organisations, Police, Fire and the voluntary sector. 

The council has appointed three scrutiny panels. Each panel comprises of five members, three members of the Conservative Group and two members of the Labour Group.  This reflects the overall political composition of the Council (when dealing with education matters four statutory co-opted members, two parent governor and two church representatives are also voting members of a panel).

All councillors, except members of the Executive, may be members of a scrutiny panel. However, no member may be involved in scrutinising a decision of another of the council's other committees or sub committees of which they are also a member. (This does not include scrutiny panel members who may also be 'lead members', unless they have a clear conflict of interests, which should be declared in any case). 

The scrutiny panels have scheduled meetings every three weeks, (but can meet more often). They may also establish sub-groups. Meetings may involve:

  • Questioning 'witnesses' or experts
  • Literature reviews
  • Site visits
  • Consultation exercises
  • Written submissions from professionals, businesses and community groups

Scrutiny panels then consider their findings and all the evidence they have collected before making recommendations to the executive on how services could be improved or developed to best meet the needs of the residents and businesses of North Lincolnshire.

A scrutiny panel's findings and recommendations are published in reports, which are debated and endorsed by the council's Executive/Cabinet  Action plans are then prepared and approved by the Executive/Cabinet for implementation of the recommendations.

View the library of reports that have been produced by the council's Overview and Scrutiny Panels. 

Overview and scrutiny panels welcome input from members of the public on all the work they do.
You can contact us to:

  • express an interest in giving evidence on an issue which is of interest to you, or on which you have some expertise
  • submit evidence or comments in writing about one of the areas we are scrutinising
  • suggest a topic or issue for the Scrutiny Panels to examine
  • tell us what you think about our Scrutiny web pages and how we might improve them

There are a number of ways you can get involved and contribute to the process:

Attend a meeting

Nearly all meetings are open to the public to attend and usually take place at Civic Centre.  Full details of the meeting dates and confirmation of the venue can be found here on the website detailed under forthcoming meetings.

If the panel needs to discuss confidential information regarding an item on the agenda, the press and members of the public will be asked to leave the meeting during the discussion.

You will not always be able to speak at the meeting unless you have submitted a request beforehand and been invited to do so by the chairman. If you would like to speak on a particular item you can contact the scrutiny team, who will pass on your request to the chairman. Should you wish to do so, contact us by email democratic@northlincs.gov.uk or by post to:

Scrutiny Team
North Lincolnshire Council
Civic Centre
Ashby Road
North Lincolnshire
DN16 1AB

Tell the panel about your experience

Each scrutiny panel has a work programme which lists topics that overview and scrutiny panels are looking at in the near future. If you have any particular interest in the subject (it could be as a service user, community organisation or employee) the panel would like to hear from you.

Should you wish to do so, contact us by email on democratic@northlincs.gov.uk or by post.

Suggest a topic

Overview and scrutiny panels represent the people of North Lincolnshire and are there to hold decision-makers to account on your behalf. If there is a particular matter that you are concerned about then get in touch. It does not have to be about a particular council service, but can be about anything that affects the local services or the quality of life in North Lincolnshire.

Suggestion for reviews must meet the following criteria:

  • Affect a group of people living in North Lincolnshire.
  • Relate to a service, event or issue in which the council has a significant stake or over which the council has an influence
  • Not be an issue which overview and scrutiny has considered during the last 12 months - View the library of scrutiny reports
  • Not relate to an individual service complaint
  • Not relate to matters dealt with by another council committee, unless the issue deals with procedure

What scrutiny doesn’t do

Scrutiny doesn't deal with individual concerns, queries or complaints. If we receive these, we will forward them on to the appropriate department.

If you are unhappy about a service that you have received from the council find out about the council's complaints procedure and how to make a complaint online.

Do you have a suggestion?

Have your say; tell us what you would you like to see in our annual scrutiny work programme by emailing your suggestions to democratic@northlincs.gov.uk or by post. 

The 'Councillor Call for Action' (CCfA) was introduced under section 119 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, and came into force on 1 April 2009.

The Act enables any member of the council to refer to an appropriate scrutiny committee/panel any local government matter or any crime and disorder matter which affects their ward. In North Lincolnshire, CCfAs regarding local government matters shall be referred to and dealt with by the relevant scrutiny panel. Crime and disorder matters shall be referred to and dealt with by the council's Crime and Disorder Committee as stated in the Police and Justice Act 2006, Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Regulations. This is the Places Scrutiny Panel. However, all referrals to either panel shall apply this protocol.

The power to refer a matter as a CCfA is available only where the matter is of direct concern to the ward which the councillor represents. A councillor can refer a matter even if no citizen has asked him/her to consider it, and there is no requirement for councillors in multi-member wards to agree - any of them can refer a matter. Explanatory notes and a request form can be accessed below.

Download the explanatory notes [PDF, 26Kb] and Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) request form [PDF, 9Kb]

Contact details


Scrutiny Team
North Lincolnshire Council
Civic Centre
Ashby Road
North Lincolnshire
DN16 1AB

Opening hours

Monday to Thursday: 8.30am to 5pm

Friday: 8.30am to 4.30pm 

Last updated: 14/12/2017