Overview and Scrutiny
Dover District Council has an Overview and Scrutiny Committee that can examine council decisions and review matters affecting the district and its residents. The aim of scrutiny is to make a difference by holding to account those that are making decisions that affect the economic, environmental and social well being of our District.
The Guiding Principles of Overview and Scrutiny
The key local principles forming the foundation of the overview and scrutiny function at Dover District Council are as follows:
- The focus for scrutiny must be based upon the achievement of outcomes rather than upon process and procedures in order to develop a function that can make a real difference to the Council and the district.
- That overview and scrutiny be positive, objective and constructive, seeking to add value to any service that it considers. Scrutiny should acknowledge good practice where found and recommend improvements where necessary.
- It is essential that the Council has an active and challenging scrutiny function that reflects corporate priorities regarding the provision of services.
The Four Principles of Good Scrutiny
As a matter of good practice, the overview and scrutiny function at Dover District Council incorporates the Four Principles outlined by the Centre for Public Scrutiny in all its work.
1. “To provide a ‘critical friend’ challenge to executive policy-makers and decision-makers”
- Clarity of purpose
- Constructive, Robust and Purposeful Challenge
- A Constructive Working Relationship with executive colleagues including external bodies
- Be open, transparent and inclusive in its actions
2. “Enable the voice and concerns of the public and its community”
- Ensuring an ongoing dialogue with the public to create an ‘accountability relationship’
- Representing and engaging diverse communities and addressing inequalities where they exist in the district.
- Promoting public understanding of the scrutiny role
3. “Independent minded governors’ should lead and own the scrutiny process”
- Champions of the value and potential for good public scrutiny as the vehicle for public accountability
- Active engagement of non-executive committee members in a scrutiny role
- Ensure adequate public accountability and community leadership
4. “Drive improvement in public services”
- Promote community wellbeing and improve the quality of life
- Harness public concern as a lever for addressing wider issues
- Co-ordinate reviews of policy and service performance in line with strategic objectives
Residents of the district can request to speak at overview and scrutiny committee meetings where it is permitted to do so. Those who are successfully registered may speak for 3 minutes on the matter. This does not include provision for asking questions of officers, members or others in attendance at the meeting.