What is scrutiny

Scrutiny ensures that decision-making processes are clear and accessible to the public and that the people taking decisions are held accountable for those decisions.

Good scrutiny also ensures that there are opportunities for the public to influence and improve the services they receive.

The Royal Borough's Overview and Scrutiny Committee and its Scrutiny Panels examine the work of the Cabinet and hold it to account in order to help the Royal Borough of Greenwich to deliver its community vision.

Its job is to support our departments in maintaining high service delivery standards, and to steer them towards improved efficiency and effectiveness.

How to get involved - Scrutiny reviews

Input from local people and organisations is a crucial part of the scrutiny review process. You can get involved in the work of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and its panels in the following ways (select a topic to read more):

  • Each year, scrutiny reviews are scheduled into the annual work programme for our Overview and Scrutiny Committee and scrutiny panels. Councillors and local people and organisations can propose topics for the work programme.

    Try to provide helpful supporting information such as:

    • an explanation of the subject of the review that you are proposing
    • the reasons why you think it is important that the topic is reviewed
    • the changes that you would like to see as a result of us undertaking the review.

    Criteria for deciding whether a proposal should go ahead include:

    • high level of public concern with an issue, or dissatisfaction with a service
    • high local or national priority
    • concerns about current performance
    • opportunity to make savings or increase efficiency
    • potential to improve services
    • realistic chance of making changes
    • resources needed to carry out review.

    We may reject a proposal if:

    • there's already work under way in another area of the Royal Borough on that proposal
    • the proposed subject for review didn't have implications for a significant element of our local community.

    There may be a gap between the time that we receive your idea and the time when we consider it for inclusion in the next annual work programme, which begins in spring. There's also a limit to the number of reviews we can carry out each year.

  • When we start a review, our Overview and Scrutiny Committee or relevant scrutiny panel will generally seek written evidence from local people and organisations that are independent of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. We may invite you to provide evidence.

    Read guidance on giving scrutiny evidence

    Some contributors may be asked to speak at special review meetings. to answer questions in their areas of expertise, and/or to expand on the evidence they have already submitted.

    If you're invited to attend, we'll do our best to send you a list of topics that the panel wants to discuss at least a week before the meeting. This will give you the chance to prepare.

  • You'll need prior permission of the panel chair to speak at these meetings. You'll find contact details by selecting the relevant committee from our list of council committees.

    More about attending and speaking at Council meetings

What happens after a scrutiny review

Once the written and oral information on the review topic has been gathered, the scrutiny body brings all the findings together into a formal report with recommendations for improvement.

This report will be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Once satisfied, the committee will send the report to the Royal Borough of Greenwich's Chief Executive, who will prepare a response to be considered by Cabinet. 

The scrutiny body which carried out the review will monitor the implementation of the recommendations agreed by Cabinet and the outcomes achieved.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has a very good reputation for conducting reviews into issues of local concern. The majority of the reviews that we have carried out have been in direct response to concerns raised by the public.

View calendar of council meetings and agendas

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Councils are required by the Local Government Act 2000 to have one or more overview and scrutiny committees as part of their formal political management arrangements.

Overview and scrutiny committees can:

  • monitor service delivery and performance
  • review policies and practices
  • call executive (Cabinet) members and chief officers to account for their actions
  • scrutinise certain external organisations and agencies (for example, the health service and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships)
  • make recommendations to the Royal Borough on matters which affect the area or its inhabitants.

View all scrutiny panels and committees

View calendar of council meetings and agendas