Abstracts: March 30th, 2006

This annual survey from the Centre for Public Scrutiny shows that the amount and quality of scrutiny work now undertaken by local authorities is a clear indication that the function is being fully utilised to hold decision-makers to account and that it influences service performance.The survey investigated the nature and impact of Overview & Scrutiny Committees across local authorities in England & Wales in 2005 and found that councillors are more engaged in a variety of different investigative approaches and a wide range of sources is used to build an evidence base. There have also been steady increases in resources and support for scrutiny.

Internal scrutiny has resulted in improved methods for scrutinising council future plans and budgets, with the overview & scrutiny function now embedded into council processes. External scrutiny has proven increasingly successful for engaging stakeholders and executive bodies from other organisations, such as the health sector, raising the opportunity for local authority scrutiny members to act as advocates for local people.

The survey is published by the Centre for Public Scrutiny and is available at: http://www.cfps.org.uk/survey