Last week, over 38,000 Oxford residents turned out to elect 24 councillors onto the City Council, which is responsible for delivering a variety of services for the area. Now, the Council’s Scrutiny Committee, which reviews and challenges many of the Council’s decisions and policies, wants to hear from you.
Each year, the Scrutiny Committee forms an annual work plan of issues affecting the city and its residents, and the Committee is welcoming public input into the longlist of items. Issues already featured on the longlist include Air Quality, the impact of the Westgate Shopping Centre and Tourism Management.
The Committee’s role is to prioritise key issues of public interest for review. It carries out a ‘check and balance’ and ‘critical friend’ function to the City Executive Board, which makes the majority of the Council’s key decisions. It can also look at issues outside of the Council's remit, but it has no powers to investigate external organisations.
The scrutiny function operates to provide public assurance that the Board is carrying out its business effectively, providing value for money and taking the best decisions it can to improve public services and the quality of life for residents. To provide this assurance, the Committee carries out research, reviews and hears from the public, making recommendations for service improvement where necessary.
Councillor Andrew Gant, Chair of the Scrutiny Committee for 2017/18, said: “Suggesting items for the scrutiny work plan is a great way to influence the direction of the Council, both in terms of identifying issues for review and improvement, and providing valuable feedback about the delivery of council services.”
The Committee meets in public at least 10 times each year and is comprised of 12 cross-party councillors who reflect the political make-up of the Council. The membership of the Committee will be formally agreed at a meeting of Full Council on 15 May 2018.
Members of the public can submit an issue for consideration online through the citizen portal. As a guide, issues should be of significant public interest, under the influence of the City Council, and not related to a personal grievance. The long-list of items will be reviewed before publication and considered by the Scrutiny Committee at a public meeting on 5 June 2018.