Abstracts: November 12th, 2001

This Audit Commission paper examines the critical issues facing local authorities and NHS bodies as they set up new scrutiny arrangements. Under new legislation, councils can make ‘reports and recommendations’ on health matters and can require NHS representatives to attend and inform scrutiny meetings. Making the new roles work will require new processes and skills – and constructive relationships between health and local authorities. Some health bodies are nervous about what scrutiny will mean, and not all councils are well equipped to carry it out. A Healthy Outlook addresses these concerns, outlines good practice and potential pitfalls, and sets out the actions needed on the part of both councils and health bodies. It says councils should consider the scope and objectives of their scrutiny before starting, and make sure scrutiny is based on sound evidence. Also, they need to give elected members a basic grounding in health issues, set aside officer time to support the process, and consult with other agencies.Published by the Audit Commission price 15 pounds. www.audit-commission.gov.uk   <http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk