Overview and scrutiny

The Council takes lots of decisions every day about how to provide public services and spend money. These decisions are taken by the cabinet, made up of the Mayor, 9 cabinet members and 2 mayoral advisors.

To make sure these decisions are taken fairly, that local people get a say on how policies are produced, and that services are provided in the best possible way, many of the councillors sit on scrutiny commissions. In Hackney we have 4 scrutiny commissions and an overarching scrutiny panel.

Scrutiny commissions and scrutiny panel

Look at each commission's page to see what they are working on at the moment, or see previous reviews to see reviews that have been completed. You can also view our latest annual report which summarises the work of all the different commissions in the last year.

Children and young people

The children and young people commission look at all services for children and young people, including those provided by the Hackney Learning Trust and social services.

Health in Hackney

The health in Hackney commission look at all health services, adult social care and services for older people.

Living in Hackney

The living in Hackney commission have a remit for all housing issues, as well as leisure and culture, planning, sustainability, waste and street cleanliness.

Working in Hackney

The working in Hackney commission explores the borough's economic development, employment and large scale schemes.

Scrutiny panel

The scrutiny panel enables coordination and oversight of the work of the different commissions. It also delivers public question time sessions in which it holds the Mayor and the Chief Executive to account.

Disbanded scrutiny commissions

Following a review of Hackney's scrutiny function, the 2 commissions below were disbanded at the end of 2016/17. Issues falling within their remits have transferred to other commissions and the scrutiny panel. You can use the links below to explore the historical work completed by the commissions.

Community safety and social inclusion

The community safety and social inclusion commission reviewed issues of crime and community safety. They also looked at support for the voluntary sector, community cohesion and adult learning.

Governance and resources

The governance and resources commission reviewed the way the Council operates, including how the budget is prepared and agreed.

How do the reviews work?

Every year around June, each commission picks two or three topics they want to review. They then decide who they want to talk to, what sort of information is needed and the timelines to get it all done.

The commissions talk to the people who use the services they are reviewing, and the organisations that represent them. This is how we get the most honest picture of how the the council and our partners is doing.

The commission councillors and support officers then look at that service's performance, find out who in the country does it better and looks for improvements that can be made in Hackney.

Occasionally the commissions complete one off investigations in addition to those planned at the beginning of the year. Details of these can be found towards the bottom of the web pages for the individual commissions.

Scrutiny Commissions actively welcome involvement of the public and seek the views of members of the public on topics that are under review.

Submit evidence to a review

Scrutiny reviews rely on contributions from residents and local organisations as much as the evidence we receive from council services. If you are involved in an organisation or service that you think relates to a current review, you can suggest that the commission visit and see how you operate. Most scrutiny reviews involve site visits.

Suggest future topics

Each year we do a survey about what issues are important to local residents. This helps to guide decision-making about what to include on our work programme and we would encourage you to get involved. However, we are happy to take suggestions throughout the year, which we will ensure are raised when the discussion are held about the next round of reviews (usually in May). You can contact us or complete the form below:

Attend a meeting

Please feel free to attend one of the 10 meetings commissions hold each year. These usually take place at 7pm in Hackney Town Hall, but occasionally these are held  in locations which relate to the topics on discussion. Members of the public are often able to ask questions during these meetings, but this is at the discretion of the chair and depends on the agenda.

Cabinet question time sessions

Cabinet question time sessions offer an opportunity for cross-party groups of councillors to question the Mayor and cabinet about the council services which they hold responsibility for.

Question time sessions for the Mayor are held at the scrutiny panel. The commission at which each cabinet member appears is determined by their areas of responsibility and which commission's remit these are relevant to. Sometimes the responsibilities of a cabinet member are relevant to more than one commission. In these cases commissions decide on whether to hold the sessions as joint items or - depending on which issues are topical - which commission the cabinet member will attend for single sessions.

Please refer to the work programmes on commissions' agendas for the dates of sessions.

Overview and Scrutiny and the law

Information about the law relating to overview and scrutiny can be found in the Centre for Public Scrutiny's publication pulling it all together, as well as in their legislative framework update following the introduction of the Localism Act, and also on Wikipedia.

Other powers to influence decision making

Overview and Scrutiny has other powers that councillors can use to influence decision-making locally - call-ins, councillor call for action and calling to account

Page updated: 17/08/2017 15:34:30