Appendix IDeA Overview and Scrutiny Check-up – Action Plan 1. Provide `critical friend’ challenge to executives as well as external authorities and agencies Comments from IDeA Report There is a clear constitutional process for review recommendations, but sometimes responses are delayed. Once Cabinet respond, an action plan is drawn up by directorates. This is taken to Scrutiny and monitored. Actions Required 1. Audit current position. To be considered for next steps. Actions undertaken The Overview & Scrutiny Board is investigating a procedure for tracking recommendations made by Scrutiny. On-going process (e.g. Action Plan monitoring of the review of Print, Design & Reprographics at Overview & Scrutiny Board on 17.1.06). Forward Plan is a standard agenda on all Scrutiny agendas. Scrutiny Officers will alert Chairs about issues on the Forward Plan that may be of interest to Panels. This is done whenever issue is raised. Recommendations from IDeA Report (i) Ensure Scrutiny Panels monitor and follow-up the recommendations they have made to Cabinet and/or Council. 2. Ensure periodic monitoring of completed reviews until Board or Panel satisfied that no longer required. (ii) Seek feedback from members as to how information flow and communication, e.g. Forward Plan, with overview and scrutiny members can be made more effective. Pre-decision scrutiny has diminished considerably in the last year and the `window of opportunity’ prior to decision being taken appears narrow. However, the introduction of reports from executive directors (as with Education Panel) and a focus on issues/themes rather than specific decisions should improve opportunities for prior examination. 1. Discuss Forward Plan with Scrutiny Chairs on receipt to identify any topics. 2. Liaise with directorates to secure examination of item whenever Recommendations from IDeA Report Comments from IDeA Report Actions Required possible. 3. Introduce Executive Director reports that address Forward Plan items and allow discussion Actions undertaken (iii) Develop and support members so that they have improved ability and increased confidence to question and challenge. Pre-meetings need to be held 1. involving all members of respective Board or Panel instead of pre2. agendas and Chairs Briefings. Introduce pre-meetings across O&S structure. Include in member development programme. 3. Consider visits to other authorities. This has not been done as meetings have been arranged between the Scrutiny Chairs, Executive Directors and Portfolio Holders, for each of the Panels to discuss issues. Each Scrutiny Panel and the Overview & Scrutiny Board hold a premeeting prior to a Scrutiny meeting. The success of these premeetings will be assessed at the end of the current year’s cycle of meetings. Visits will be undertaken as necessary. Scrutiny Members have recently attended events run by the Centre for Public Scrutiny. 2. Reflect the voice and concerns of the public and its communities Recommendations from IDeA Report (iv) Introduce engagement of the public into process for developing annual work programmes, and consider developing criteria to select, reject and prioritise overview and scrutiny work. Comments from IDeA Report Improved public engagement could be secured through `Communities Together’ and `Compact’. There are criteria for selecting and rejecting O & S work using INLOGOV’s template used at scoping stage. Actions Required Actions Undertaken The Overview & Scrutiny Board received a presentation from Mr Nick Triplow regarding the Compact on 2.8.05. Mr Triplow agreed that voluntary sector organisations could be co-opted to Scrutiny Panels as appropriate. The Chair of the Health & Social Care Scrutiny Panel met with the Chair of the PCT Patient & Public Involvement Forum to discuss ways of working together. The Communications Team has prepared a Media Strategy and a Consultation Strategy. The Head of Communications attended Overview & Scrutiny Board on 25.10.05. It was proposed that the Investigate ways in which these groups could constructively comment on Scrutiny programme. (v) Develop a communications protocol, setting out the process for communicating with the press and media. At present press releases are only made on a selected basis for Scrutiny (much less than Cabinet) so raising profile would help. Develop communications protocol in conjunction with Communications Team . Recommendations from IDeA Report Comments from IDeA Report Actions Required Actions Undertaken Scrutiny Officers would act as Media Experts/Consultation Champions, in order to have a link between Scrutiny and the Communications Team. Scrutiny now has an external e-mail address and will have a business reply address & voicemail service by mid-January 2006, in order to make it easier for the public to feed in their views on Scrutiny issues. Petitioners are invited to the relevant Scrutiny Panel and are permitted to outline their case to the Panel. The Petitioner receives a letter after the Panel Meeting confirming what the next steps are. The Environmental Services Scrutiny Panel has an agenda item on monitoring progress with (vi) Ensure there is a systematic process of responding to petitioners, and monitoring to ensure that the Council has acted on its’ response and implemented any action promised. Petitioners are routinely made aware of outcomes but monitoring of responses/implementation of actions would be a development. Introduce quarterly monitoring of recommendations at Board/Panels. Recommendations from IDeA Report Comments from IDeA Report Actions Required Actions Undertaken petitions every other meeting and the petitioner will be kept informed of progress by the Service/Scrutiny Officer. This procedure will be rolled-out to all Panels. As above. (vii) Put measures in place to capture feedback from members of the public who have been involved in presenting petitions and attending meetings. This could link to monitoring suggested at (vi) above. See (iv) above. Ensure that petitioners views are incorporated into quarterly reports. 3. Lead and own the scrutiny process on behalf of the public Comments from IDeA Report Members do consider their own work programme annually and can bring other items forward at any time but there is a need to develop and improve engagement with the wider community. Actions Required 1. Consider campaign to raise awareness with public. Actions Undertaken The Health & Social Care Scrutiny Panel ran some fruit tasting sessions at supermarkets, which tied in with their Diet & Nutrition Review. The Health & Social Care Scrutiny Panel will be involving the public in its Infant Feeding Review. The Children’s Services Panel is running a Scrutiny meeting at a school, to discuss the Adolescent Survey. The Environmental Services Scrutiny Panel is planning to hold a meeting at Immingham. The Children’s Services Panel is also involving school children in their Bullying Review. Recommendations from IDeA Report (viii) Look for overview and scrutiny members to take a lead in proactively engaging the public and communities in overview and scrutiny work as part of their community leadership role. 2. Seek good practice from elsewhere. Recommendations from IDeA Report Comments from IDeA Report Actions Required Actions Undertaken Centre for Public Scrutiny has provided examples of best practice. Report went to the Annual Meeting of North East Lincolnshire Council – 26 May 2005. (ix) Review the role of the Cabinet/Scrutiny Co-ordination group and the Overview and Scrutiny Board so that they provide stronger leadership and co-ordination to the overview and scrutiny function. (x) Review the number of Scrutiny Panels with a view to reducing the number and simplifying structures. (xi) Introduce guidance on indepth reviews and investigations for members and officers. A major issue which has been recently Report to Council on debated and will be considered by alternative structure for AGM of Council. approval. Reduction options are being considered in light of proposal to establish an Audit Committee function with matter to be finalised at AGM of Council. Existing guides to scrutiny try to tackle this but more detail would be beneficial. As (ix) above There are now 5 Scrutiny Panels and an Overview & Scrutiny Board. Guide to Scrutiny to be updated by Scrutiny Officers in early 2006. Framework/Protocols for Reviews/Select Committees will also be developed. Examine best practice from elsewhere and incorporate into Member guide 4. Make an impact on the delivery of public services Comments from IDeA Report Learning could be shared at O & S Board or through member development sessions for O & S. New performance reporting regime is not yet embedded in organisation. Further system support to facilitate scrutiny challenge needs developing. Actions Required Ensure learning is shared though revised structure arrangements. Ensure that revised arrangements for scrutiny support facilitate effective challenge. Actions Undertaken On-going action. Recommendations from IDeA Report (xii) Regularly review the effectiveness of overview and scrutiny and look to capture, share and implement learning. (xiii) Ensure that the process for setting targets for BVPIs and key local performance indicators includes an opportunity for overview and scrutiny involvement to provide challenge. (xiv) Develop the overview and scrutiny role and involvement in the budget setting process, ensuring that members have an opportunity of early involvement and the ability to influence the budget. There has been some improvement in process this year but members need more support to effectively challenge. 1 Ensure that committee timetable builds in opportunity for effective challenge of budget at key stages. 2 Further member development sessions (see xv below). Performance and Critical Issues will be a quarterly agenda item at all Scrutiny Panels. The Scrutiny Chairs have been invited to the relevant Directorate Performance Clinics. PerformancePlus Software demonstrated to Overview & Scrutiny Board on 29.11.05 Overview & Scrutiny Board has asked that their meetings next year are in line with the budget monitoring timetable so that they can see the Cabinet budget monitoring reports sooner. Budget Setting will be on Recommendations from IDeA Report Comments from IDeA Report Actions Required Actions Undertaken the work programme for the Overview & Scrutiny Board. Senior Learning & Development Officer in agreement with Member Development Group. (xv) Provide further tailored training and development opportunities on financial scrutiny and on performance management. This can be built into member development programme fairly easily. Ensure that further scrutiny member development on finance/ performance management included in member development programme.