Changes to reduce overview and scrutiny committees, and align closer with The Shropshire Plan
Shropshire Council is recommending changes to how it organises the work of its overview and scrutiny committees so that it aligns more closely with The Shropshire Plan.
The proposal is to reduce the number of overview and scrutiny committees from five to four, and scrutinise the broad themes of the council’s key strategic direction set out in The Shropshire Plan.
Under the proposals the four new overview and scrutiny committees would be:
- Economy and Environment – covering economic growth, highways, housing, climate change, culture and leisure, and post-16 learning and skills
- Health –covering health and wellbeing, the Integrated Care System (ICS), and health planning and delivery
- People – covering social care for both adults and children, schools and learning
- Transformation and Improvement – covering council performance, delivery of its transformation programme, and support services.
The recommendations follow an independent review of the council’s scrutiny function in 2022 by the Centre for Government and Scrutiny. This Scrutiny Improvement Review made 13 recommendations to boost the standing and work of scrutiny, and its value to the council’s decision-making process.
Among these recommendations are promoting the greater use of so-called ‘green papers’, which allow pre-decision scrutiny of issues that will be decided by Cabinet, and using this to help inform and develop policy; and ensuring that scrutiny aligns with the ambitions of the council’s The Shropshire Plan, which sets its direction to 2025.
Lezley Picton, Leader of Shropshire Council, said:-
“It’s good sense to review and simplify our scrutiny arrangements so that this important work which can add real value to our decision-making, and is aligned to our goals set out in The Shropshire Plan. This is about helping people in Shropshire to live their best life through a health population, with a healthy environment and economy supported by a healthy and well-run council.
“An important part of being a well-run council will be ensuring that Shropshire Council transforms how it delivers services, and that it delivers £51 million savings mainly through efficiencies by 2024.
“The proposed changes to scrutiny can play an important part in helping us to achieve that change.”
The proposals will go to Full Council next week (Thursday 30 March 2023) for consideration, and if backed would come into effect during May 2023 when the new council annual calendar begins.