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									18. Procedure at OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY Committee meetings
     (a) OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY Committees and sub-committees shall
     consider the following business:
          i) minutes of the last meeting;
          ii) declarations of interest (including whipping declarations);
          iii) consideration of any matter referred to the committee for a
          decision in relation to call in of a decision;
          iv) responses of the Cabinet to reports of the OVERVIEW AND
          SCRUTINY committee; and
          v) the business otherwise set out on the agenda for the meeting.
     (b) Where the OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY Committee conducts
     investigations (e.g. with a view to policy development), the committee
     may also ask people to attend to give evidence at committee meetings
     which are to be conducted in accordance with the following principles:
          i) that the investigation be conducted fairly and all members of the
          committee be given the opportunity to ask questions of attendees,
          and to contribute and speak;
          ii) that those assisting the committee by giving evidence be treated
          with respect and courtesy; and
          iii) that the investigation be conducted so as to maximise the
          efficiency of the investigation or analysis.
     (c) Where the Scrutiny Committee is meeting to consider a Call-in Notice,
     the Committee may adopt the following order of proceedings:

     1.      Invite the signatories to outline the reasons for the call-in notice.
     2.      Invite a decision-taker to respond.
     3.      Clarification by the Chairman of matters at issue.
     4.      Invite any witness produced by the signatories to make a
     5.      Allow signatories’ representative opportunity to question their
     6.      Allow decision-taker to question signatories’ witness.
     7.      Allow Scrutiny Committee members to question signatories’
     8.      Repeat 4 to 7 for each subsequent witness produced by the

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      9.    Invite any witness produced by the decision-taker(s) to make a
      10.   Allow a decision-taker opportunity to question their witness.
      11.   Allow signatories’ representative to question decision-taker’s
      12.   Allow Scrutiny Committee members to question decision-taker’s
      13.   Repeat 9 to 12 for each subsequent witness produced by the
      14.   Public participation: representations from those who desire to
            address the Scrutiny Committee.
      15.   Visiting Councillor participation: statements by any visiting
            Councillors (including any signatory who had not been the
            signatories’ representative or signatories’ witness).
      16.   Closing statement by signatories’ representative.
      17.   Closing statement by a decision-taker.
      18.   Debate amongst Scrutiny Committee membership.
      19.   Consideration of whether the matter should be referred to Council.
      20.   If not, consideration as to whether decision-taker(s) should be
            requested to reconsider.

19. Matters within the remit of more than one OVERVIEW AND
SCRUTINY Committee
      Where a matter for consideration by an OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY
      Committee also falls within the remit of one or more other OVERVIEW
      AND SCRUTINY Committees, the matter shall be referred to/considered
      by all the Committees concerned.

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                                                   APPENDIX I to PART 4, SECTION 5


One of the roles of the OSCOM is to review and/or scrutinise the decision made or
actions taken in connection with the discharge of any of the Council’s functions. The
OSCOM has power to ask that a decision be reconsidered or to recommend that the
Council should consider whether or not a decision or policy should be reconsidered.

In order to review or scrutinise decisions or actions, OSCOMs will be able to require
Council Members and Officers to attend to give explanations and answer queries about
their proposals or actions.

The power to question is not unlimited:

A person is not obliged to answer a question which they would be entitled to refuse to
answer in any legal proceedings. (S.21(15)LGA2000)

Statutory Guidance
   OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY should be constructive and not merely there to either
    always oppose the executive or rubber-stamp the Executive’s decision. (Para. 3.30
    Guidance on New Council Constitutions October 2000)

   OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY committees are to hold decision-makers to account.
    To do so effectively will require a change in the way members have traditionally
    questioned decisions. Although this is a matter for political parties to consider, both
    locally and nationally, the Government believes whipping should not take place.
    (Para 3.45 ibid)

   OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY committees should consider the seniority of officers
    that it would be appropriate to require to appear before it. (Para 3.49 ibid)

   Officers’ evidence should, as far as possible, be confined to questions of fact and
    explanation relating to policies and decisions. (Para 3.50 ibid)

   Officers may be asked to explain:

   what policies are;

   what the Executive considers justifies these policies;

   what objectives the Executive is pursuing;

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   the extent to which the objectives have been met;

   how administrative factors may have affected the choice of policy and the manner of

   their advice and the justification for it;

   their delegated decisions and the justification for them. (Para 3.51 - 52 ibid)

   As far as possible, questions should not be put to officers on the merits of alternative
    policies where this is politically contentious. Any comment by officers on the
    Executive’s policies and actions should always be consistent with the requirement for
    officers to be politically impartial. (Para 3.53 ibid, amended by the Council.)

   Members and officers should only be asked about matters within their remit. (Para
    14(a) OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY Procedure Rules, Draft Modular Constitutions
    December 2000)

Local Procedures

 In order to foster constructive dialogue, members of the Cabinet Committee and
    Chief Officers of the Council will normally respond to the request of a Chairman of
    an OSCOM to attend one of its meetings (as opposed to requiring that the OSCOM
    formally resolves to require their attendance), providing that not less than 5 working
    days prior notice is given, which specifies the matter that is to be discussed.

 Such requests should be addressed to the Leader of the Council or Chief Executive, as
    appropriate, and they shall be able to nominate the person who is most appropriate to
    assist the OSCOM.

 When the most appropriate person is unavailable at the time of the OSCOM meeting,
    the Leader or Chief Executive shall seek to agree an alternative arrangements.

 When the matter to be discussed requires research or preparation that cannot be
    undertaken within the period before the OSCOM meeting, the Leader or Chief
    Executive shall seek to agree an alternative timetable.

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                                                 APPENDIX II to PART 4, SECTION 5



OSCOMs are to have a novel role of being able to consider able to consider the decisions
and actions of people and bodies, other than the Council, and the way in which they
affect the area of the authority or its inhabitants. OSCOMs will be able to make reports
to the Council on such matters. (Section 21(2)(a) LGA 2000)

To this end, OSCOMs will have a specific statutory power to invite other persons to
attend their meetings (Section 21(13)(b) LGA 2000)

For example, there is now statutory guidance that OSCOMs should examine health care
provision in their area. (Para 3.67 Guidance on New Council Constitutions October
2000). Such examinations would be assisted by the attendance of members of and senior
executives of local NHS organisations who would be able to explain actions or proposals
and answer questions about them. [There is a current intention to legislate that OSCOMs
will be able to require the Chief Executives of local NHS organisations to attend and be
asked questions.]

Where public services are being or could be provided by a private sector organisation,
OSCOMs will be able to request that representatives of such organisations to attend and
answer questions about their performance and/or proposals. In such cases there are some

 where there is a current contract in existence, the OSCOM does not have authority to
   negotiate a variation to the specification. (Section 21(4) LGA 2000)

 certain considerations are regarded as ‘non-commercial matters’, which must not be
   taken into account when dealing with current or prospective contracts (section 17
   LGA 1988). These non-commercial matters are:

   -   the terms and conditions of employment by contractors of their workers;

   -   the composition of the contractor’s workforce;

   -   the arrangements for promotion, transfer or training or other opportunities
       afforded to the contractor’s workforce;

   -   whether the contractor’s workforce is provided by direct employment or self-

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   -   any activities or interests of the contractor concerning ‘irrelevant fields of
       Government policy’ ie. Defence or Foreign policy;

   -   a contractor’s conduct in relation to industrial disputes;

   -   the country or territory of origin of supplies to the contractor or the location in
       any country or territory of the contractor’s business activities or interests;

   -   any political, industrial or sectarian affiliations or interests of contractors, their
       directors, partners or employees;

   -   any financial support or lack of financial support by contractors for any institution
       to or from which the authority gives or withholds support;

   -   whether the contractor does or does not use the Council’s Building Control

 Where a contract is to be let, and prospective contractors are being invited to explain
   their bid to an OSCOM:

   -   questions should not be put concerning the above ‘non-commercial matters’
       (Section 17 LGA 1988);

   -   OSCOMs do not have authority to amend the specification of the prospective
       contract or negotiate the terms of the contract (Section 21(4) LGA 2000);

   -   Where the European Union Public Procurement Directives apply, the Council
       (and therefore the OSCOM) has no power to negotiate with tenderers, except
       where the exceptional Negotiated Procedure applies (Council and Commission
       Statement concerning Article 7(4) Public Works Directive 93/37 1994)

   -   Rival tenderers in the same position in relation to the prospective contract must be
       treated in the same manner (Case 243/89 Commission v. Denmark, 22 June 1993)
       (Standing Orders 9 – 18 and Council Code of Good Practice)

   -   OSCOMs do not have authority to accept tenders. (Standing Orders 9 – 18 and
       Council Code of Good Practice)

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