Presentation on theme: "Contents: Introduction Overview and Scrutiny Function Structural Changes during 2009 New Committee Structure Other Responsibilities and Functions."— Presentation transcript:
Contents: Introduction Overview and Scrutiny Function Structural Changes during 2009 New Committee Structure Other Responsibilities and Functions Review of the year 2009/2010 The Year Ahead 2010/2011 Scrutiny Report 2009/2010
INTRODUCTION: This annual report provides a summary of the activities undertaken by Boston Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function during the Municipal Year 2009/2010. The report outlines the responsibilities of Overview and Scrutiny Committees within the Council’s decision making structure, explaining the work they undertake and the role they provide in ensuring a transparent overview and scrutiny process for Boston Borough Council. It concludes with a review of the year and an insight into the way forward for the forthcoming Municipal Year 2010/2011. OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY FUNCTION: The elected representation of Boston Borough Council is made up of 32 Councillors, all with a shared commitment to improve the lives and wellbeing of the people of the Borough. The Council at its Annual General Meeting appointed a Leader and established a Cabinet, consisting of the Leader and seven other Councillors known as Portfolio Holders. The Cabinet has delegated authority to make decisions in accordance with the Council’s Constitution. The remaining 24 Councillors are Non-Executive Councillors who have an opportunity to consider issues in relation to the Council’s services through the overview and scrutiny function. Non-Executive Councillors form Overview and Scrutiny Committees where this investigatory process can be undertaken to review, support and improve services whilst holding the Cabinet and the Council’s senior officers to account. Any Non-Executive Councillor has the ability to ‘Call-In’ a decision of the Cabinet, should they disagree with the outcome of the Cabinet’s deliberations. In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, four Councillors must sign a Call-In by the required deadline for it to be valid, in which case the Call-In would be considered by a designated Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The designated Overview and Scrutiny Committee has the power to request the reconsideration of a decision by the decision-taker or to uphold the original decision and confirm its effective status. Scrutiny Report 2009/2010
STRUCTURAL CHANGES DURING 2009: As recorded within the previous year’s Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report, a review of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function had been undertaken. The outcome of the review recommended the establishment of two new Overview and Scrutiny Committees, both of which became operational in May Policy and Projects Committee: Remit:A ‘forward-looking’ Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which assisted the Council to develop and implement strategies, plans, policies and projects that best met the needs of the communities the Council served. Agenda:During 2009/2010 the Committee considered a number of key strategies, service areas or initiatives including the Housing Strategy, the Climate Change Action Plan for 2010/2011 and the refurbishment of Boston Market Place. Update reports on Shared Services and areas of market testing were also regularly considered by the Committee. Performance Review and Governance Committee: Remit:A ‘backward-looking’ Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which ensured appropriate arrangements were in place for the Council to effectively fulfil its functions. The Committee monitored the performance of the Council and the extent to which it was delivering on its agreed policies and plans. Agenda:The Committee, throughout 2009/2010, considered a number of key issues including monthly performance monitoring information, progress on key projects, the Risk Management Strategy and reports relating to the Council’s governance arrangements such as the Annual Governance Statements. The third Overview and Scrutiny Committee from 2008/2009 (Audit and Governance) was decommissioned. A new Audit Panel was established with revised terms of reference. This enabled the transfer of governance reporting to the new Performance, Review and Governance Committee. Audit Panel : Remit:To receive all audit reports from the Council’s internal and external auditors. Agenda:The Panel reported on a regular basis to the Performance Review and Governance Committee on any matters arising from those audits which significantly impacted on the governance arrangements in place, as well as the performance of the Council.
Scrutiny Report 2009/2010 NEW COMMITTEE STRUCTURE: POLICY AND PROJECTS COMMITTEE Chairman Councillor Alison Austin (Member of the Boston Bypass Independent) Vice Chairman Councillor David Witts (Member of the Boston Bypass Independent) Lead Officer Assistant Chief Executive Membership including Chairman and Vice Chairman: 6 Boston Bypass Independent: 2 Better Boston Group: 2 Conservative: 1 Independent PERFORMANCE,REVIEW AND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE Chairman Councillor Graham Dovey (Member of the Boston Bypass Independent) Vice Chairman Councillor John Grant (Member of the Boston Bypass Independent) Lead Officer Director of Resources Membership including Chairman and Vice Chairman: 6 Boston Bypass Independent: 2 Better Boston Group: 2 Conservative: 1 Independent Further to the introduction of the new structural changes to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, each Committee was asked to: - produce a suitable work programme for its future meetings refer to the Forward Plan to identify potential subjects for inclusion within the work programme which it felt may require scrutinising prior to being taken through Executive decision making identify any necessary training, collectively for the Committee or individually for specific Members, to ensure the Committee fulfilled its terms of reference effectively welcome assistance from the respective Lead Officers to allow structured support of the Committee The Police and Justice Act 2006 required all County Councils (and most District Councils) to designate one of its Overview and Scrutiny Committees as its Crime and Disorder (Scrutiny) Committee with powers to review, scrutinise and report on crime and disorder partnerships in the area. The Policy and Projects Committee at Boston Borough Council has this designation within its terms of reference.
Scrutiny Report 2009/2010 OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES AND FUNCTIONS: Call-In: On three occasions during 2009/2010, Non-Executive Councillors exercised their right to Call-In decisions that had been made by the Cabinet. These decisions were considered by the Performance Review and Governance Committee, as the Council’s designated Call-In Committee, and related to the following issues: - - Boston Market Place Regeneration - Use of empty shop funding to deliver short, medium and long term measures - Boston Healthy Lifestyle Hub On each occasion, the Committee upheld the Cabinet’s decision. Joint Committee: Joint Committees are held on an ad-hoc basis when it is considered that there are issues of significant interest to all Overview and Scrutiny Councillors. This happened on three occasions during 2009/2010, when the following issues were looked at as a Joint Committee: - - Proposal for merged services - Market testing of leisure services - Draft revenue budget 2010/2011 Councillor Call for Action: The Councillor Call for Action procedure enables Councillors to involve Overview and Scrutiny Committees in resolving issues of concern to their constituents when all other routes or measures have been explored and an issue remains unresolved. In November 2009 this process was included in the terms of reference of the Policy and Projects Committee. Task and Finish Groups: No Task and Finish Groups were convened throughout the Municipal Year 2009/2010.
Scrutiny Report 2009/2010 REVIEW OF 2009/2010: Councillors and Officers recognised that the year had been challenging for various reasons. Quite significantly, political complications arose in the run up to the Annual General Meeting of the Council in 2009 regarding nominations for the positions of Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen, resulting in Councillors from the ruling Political Group being elected into these positions. The results of the new committee system, which had been trialled, had also highlighted issues in respect of an uneven distribution of workload between the two Overview and Scrutiny Committees. To promote best practice for Overview and Scrutiny within Boston Borough Council and to address issues which may have had a detrimental effect on the existing overview and scrutiny practice, a decision was taken to invite the Head of Democracy and Communications at Lincolnshire County Council to undertake a full review of all existing practices and to produce an action plan for 2010/2011. THE YEAR AHEAD 2010/2011 THE YEAR AHEAD 2010/2011: In order to continually support and improve the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function, consideration will need to be given to the following issues in 2010/2011: - assessment of the impact of further changes to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny arrangements with the introduction of a separate Audit Committee. development of work programmes for the year ahead through liaison with the Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and lead officers on both Committees. encouragement of further Task and Finish Group activity implementation of a Councillor Development Programme The Head of Democracy and Communications at Lincolnshire County Council agreed to undertake a review of the Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function. An action plan has been produced, designed to improve the way in which overview and scrutiny can be undertaken and delivered at Boston Borough Council. The outcome of this work will be reported to the Council throughout 2010/2011 and will incorporate the issues highlighted above.