What is overview and scrutiny?

Non-executive Members have a key role in the council as Members of Select Committees who scrutinise services for the benefit of Surrey residents, businesses, stakeholders and service users.

Select Committees are crucial to the democratic scrutiny process, and are involved in holding the Leader, Cabinet and Cabinet Members to account. Select Committees meet to examine and scrutinise the decisions made by the Executive. They can also ask Members, officers and outside organisations to provide them with information and evidence. The Committees have three specific roles – scrutiny and overview, policy review and development; and performance management. Surrey County Council currently has four Select Committees.

Select Committees are part of good decision-making powers. Their general functions include:

  • Reviewing and making recommendations to the Cabinet and/or council on the development of policies.
  • Holding the Cabinet to account by reviewing decisions and by questioning Cabinet Members and officers about their decisions and performance.
  • Reviewing and scrutinising performance by services and making reports and recommendations to Cabinet, Council and/or local committee.
  • Conducting Best Value reviews
  • Reviewing and investigating matters which are not the direct responsibility of Surrey County Council but which do affect the economic, environmental and social well-being of Surrey.
  • Review of service delivery- monitoring performance and budget spend, and assessing the impact of decisions.

Who carries out scrutiny?

Select committees agree work programmes to ensure that reviews are focused on the council's priorities and are value for money. The committees hold a series of meetings each year, where they examine a range of issues related to the committee's remit.

Along with formal meetings, Select Committees can scrutinise topics in a number of ways, including:

  • Task groups/ Sub-Committees
  • Site visits
  • Member Reference Groups
  • Workshops
  • Bulletins

From the links below you can find out each committee's:

  • Membership
  • Contact details
  • Meeting agenda for current and future committee meetings
  • Actions and minutes from previous meetings
  • Attendance statistics
  • Declarations of interest for each Councillor involved

Our Select Committees

How to get involved with scrutiny

All formal Select Committee meetings are held in public. Details of meetings are available here, and on the Democratic Service's twitter feed: @sccdemocracy

As a member of the public you can:

From this process reports and recommendations may be made to a Cabinet Member (portfolio holder), the Cabinet or to the full Council.

These recommendations aren't binding, but must be formally considered by the Cabinet Member, Cabinet or Council and the decision recorded.


Examples of scrutiny in action 2017/18

Adults and Health Select Committee Sexual Health Services Task Group

What was the issue/topic?

Since April 2017, Sexual Health and HIV Services in Surrey have been delivered under a single, integrated model of care. The implementation of this new model resulted in significant changes to the way in which these services are delivered which involved the closure of three Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) Clinics in the County.

Sexual Health and HIV Services were considered by the Adults and Health Select Committee at its meeting on 4 September 2017 during which Members heard concerns from patients and partners that Surrey County Council (SCC) and NHS England (NHSE) who were responsible for commissioning the Service had not undertaken appropriate engagement regarding the development and introduction of the new integrated contract.

The closure of three GUM Clinics was highly contentious and there was significant pressure on the Select Committee to ensure that it conducted robust scrutiny of engagement undertaken by SCC and NHSE both before and after the decision was taken to close these Clinics.

What did the Committee do?

In response to these concerns, a Task Group comprising three Members was formally established by the Select Committee with the express role of reviewing communication and engagement conducted by SCC and NHSE around the introduction of the integrated Service with a view to making recommendations on how to engage effectively with patients, residents and stakeholders.

As well as being contentious, the development and implementation of the new Sexual Health and HIV Service was extremely complex affecting different groups and individuals in a variety of ways which made it incumbent for the Task Group to seek a diverse range of perspectives on which to base its findings. Over the course of several weeks Members of the Task Group met with 25 people either in person or over the phone.

This included patients directly impacted by the closure of the GUM Clinics, clinical and non-clinical staff working in the Service, representatives from the voluntary sector, local GPs as well as officers who commissioned the integrated service. It was important to seek the views of all Surrey residents to inform the outcomes of the final report.

This was conducted through an online survey which asked residents to comment on how SCC and NHSE engaged with them around the introduction of the integrated Service. The survey was actively promoted by SCC and its partners to ensure it reached as many people as possible which ensured that it attracted a large number of responses.

What was the result outcome?

The Task Group's finding will be published ahead of the Adults and Health Select Committee meeting which is taking place on 4 July 2018 and, if appropriate, will make recommendations to SCC and NHSE with a view to improving how they engage with patients, residents and partners on service changes.

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.