Scrutiny is an important part of the local democratic process and represents the interests of local residents.

It allows the cabinet to be held to account by other council members. It also helps review and improve services and functions run by the council and its local partners.

The council’s constitution sets out the role of overview and scrutiny as to:

  • develop and review policy
  • hold the executive (cabinet) to account
  • scrutinise the work and impact of our partners on the local community so that councillors are able to represent the views of that community to the council

Scrutiny can be applied to any agency whose activities affect local people, including police, NHS, and other bodies providing services to local people or affecting the local area, including specific duties around health.

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee and panels in Hounslow are made up of councillors from all political parties on the council as well as co-optees from the community. Scrutiny can review any key decisions of the cabinet before the decision is made, or shortly afterwards.

The Centre for Public Scrutiny describes the role of scrutiny as:

Examining or monitoring with the aim of improving the quality of public services, by:

  • Providing a "critical friend" challenge
  • Reflecting the voice and concerns of the public
  • Taking the lead and owning the scrutiny process
  • Making an impact on the delivery of public services



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