Agenda item

Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2020/21 - Report of Corporate Director of Resources


The Council noted the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2020/21 (for copy see file of Minutes).


Councillor C Martin, Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Management Board informed the Council that the report covered the period of the former Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Board and thanked Councillors R Crute and A Batey and all previous Chairs of Scrutiny Committees for their service.


Councillor R Crute, former Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Management Board presented the report to Council.


The report covered a very difficult year for County Durham’s communities due to the global pandemic, which paused the work programme for scrutiny until emergency legislation was introduced to allow remote meetings to be held.  As a result, the scrutiny work programmes needed to be re-prioritised with a reduced timetable of meetings and shortened agendas.  Despite this some good quality scrutiny work had been undertaken and this work was reflected in the Annual Report to Council.


Councillor Crute provided Council with details of some of the work covered during the year in the thematic committees as follows:

·        The Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee had reviewed the development of a new road safety strategy.  The Committee had also provided comment on the Safe Durham Partnership Plan and the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Risk Management Plan.

·        The Adults, Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee concluded its review examining the extent of GP coverage across County Durham and the range of services offered by GP practices.  The Committee had also engaged in a number of statutory consultations on proposed changes to the delivery of health services and had overseen the Local Outbreak Management Plan for the pandemic.

·        The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Management Board scrutinised the Cabinet’s Medium Term Financial Plan proposals with its comments included in the final Budget report to Council.  In times of continuing austerity and increasing financial uncertainty this was a significant role and responsibility.  The Board also focussed on service improvements such as workplace transformation and smarter working.

·        The Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee carried out a review of elective home education and prior to lockdown had continued its engagement with young people in a meeting held in Durham Johnston School.

·        The Economy and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee monitored and commented upon the proposed Selective Licensing Scheme for County Durham, considered the continued development of key strategic employment sites and continued to monitor the progress of the County Durham Plan and the Housing Strategy for County Durham.

·        The Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee undertook a review of the County Council’s proposed future Allotment Policy. The Committee provided a comprehensive response to the Climate Emergency consultation and would continue to monitor progress on the Climate Emergency Response Plan and the County Council’s Carbon Management Plan.


All thematic Committees had received detailed information on the impact of Covid on the various service groupings and heard plans for recovery.


Councillor Crute placed on record his thanks to the Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, the Co-optees, the Chairs and Vice Chairs and the Scrutiny Team for their work during 2020/21.

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