Policy and scrutiny

Westminster City Council’s award-winning scrutiny function supports the council’s ongoing commitment to quality, transparent and effective governance.

Under Section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000 local authorities are required to appoint at least one committee to provide overview and scrutiny. In Westminster these are termed Policy and Scrutiny committees, of which there are currently four:

Additionally, the Westminster Scrutiny Commission, with a core membership consisting of the chairmen from each committee, is responsible for overseeing and coordinating their activities generally and resolving any disputes between them. To read more about policy and scrutiny, please see our guide.

The role of Policy and Scrutiny committees

Within their terms of reference, the general role of Policy and Scrutiny committees as defined in the Westminster Constitution is to:

  • review and/or scrutinise decisions made or actions taken in connection with the discharge of any of the council’s functions;
  • make reports and/or recommendations to the full council and/or the executive and/or any policy, joint or area committee in connection with the discharge of any functions;
  • consider any matter affecting the area or its inhabitants; and
  • exercise the right to call-in, for reconsideration, decisions made but not yet implemented by the executive.

Typically at least one cabinet member will be required to undergo ‘critical friend’ questioning at each committee meeting.

Committees may appoint sub-committees or task groups on either a formal or informal basis, with each responsible for implementing their own work programme. An example of this includes the Health Urgency Committee.

Membership

Our frontline councillors are appointed as voting members of committees, with political representation of each being proportional to that of the wider council. Persons who are not elected members may be appointed to committees, some of whom may be entitled to vote on a decision, reflecting our statutory obligations.

No member may be involved in scrutinising a decision in which he/she has been directly involved and committees are not permitted to include members of the executive (the Leader, cabinet members, etc).

Get involved

Committees meetings are always and task group meetings are typically open to the public, with specific meeting information available from individual committee pages or by contacting the Westminster Scrutiny Team. Meetings are usually held on the 17th Floor of Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QP, unless otherwise stated on agenda papers.

Residents and users of Westminster can also suggest areas of focus for consideration by contacting the scrutiny team.

Contact

If you have a suggestion for scrutiny at Westminster, the Scrutiny Team can be contacted at scrutiny2@westminster.gov.uk or by telephone on 020 7641 2636.


Last updated: 8 February 2017
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