Overview and Scrutiny

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee looks at council decisions and activities and requires the council to be open and accountable. The committee may look at any matter affecting the borough or its residents.

The Overview and Scrutiny committee can look at, or call in, decisions made by the cabinet and recommend those decisions are changed or reconsidered. The committee can also review other organisations that provide services to residents of Ashford borough.

The Overview and Scrutiny committee is made up of 12 councillors, appointed to reflect the political balance of the council. Members of the cabinet may not sit on the Overview and Scrutiny committee, but can attend and speak at meetings.

The main responsibilities of the Overview and Scrutiny committee are to:

  • Review and/or scrutinise decisions made/actions taken in connection with any council service
  • Make reports and/or recommendations to the cabinet and/or full council
  • Consider any matter affecting the area or its inhabitants
  • Exercise the right to call in for reconsideration any cabinet decision made but not yet implemented

The Overview and Scrutiny committee set their own work programme and produce an annual report on their activities. The committee is intended to be free of political bias so that members can examine issues without following a party line.

Overview and Scrutiny meetings are open to the press and public and anyone is welcome to attend.  There are some exceptions to this, for example, if the subject under discussion is of a sensitive nature or related to named individuals. It is intended that Overview and Scrutiny meetings should be open and accessible, and that the committee's work deliver positive outcomes for local people without duplicating work going on elsewhere in the council.

Overview and Scrutiny Task Groups

Some Overview and Scrutiny work is carried out by task groups; smaller groups of councillors drawn from the main committee who carry out in-depth investigations into specific issues. At the end of a task group review a report will be presented to the main Overview and Scrutiny committee, which may make recommendations to the cabinet or to external organisations.

Get involved in Overview and Scrutiny

You can get involved by:

  • Sharing your views in writing with the Scrutiny Committee
  • Suggesting topics for future scrutiny reviews; councillors welcome all suggestions but it cannot be guaranteed that the topic will be reviewed. Scrutiny is not a forum in which to raise individual complaints, as the council has a separate procedure for dealing with complaints. As a general rule, topics should relate to community issues that affect the people of the borough
  • Attending a meeting

If you would like more information on the committee's work, or feel there is an issue affecting the borough or its residents that the committee should look at, you can email overviewandscrutiny@ashford.gov.uk, or call the Scrutiny team on 01233 330394. 

If you would like to speak at an Overview and Scrutiny meeting, please contact the council's Member Services team on 01233 330564.