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Overview and Scrutiny

What is Overview and Scrutiny?

Related links

An Introduction to Overview and Scrutiny (under review)

Hampshire County Council Constitution


The statutory requirement for Overview and Scrutiny was introduced by the Local Government Act 2000. The function is designed to ‘assert and protect the public interest by holding decision makers and policy makers to account’. This role has now been strengthened and extended by subsequent legislation to include the NHS and other public sector services.

Providing checks and balances to the executive

  • Offering challenges and evidence-based alternatives to ideas and approaches that the Cabinet intends to take
  • Providing opportunities to monitor the effectiveness of the Council’s work and suggest improvements where appropriate
  • Ensuring that the best interests of the people of Hampshire are being met by the activities of the Council and other agencies.

It can include any of the following activities:

  • Assisting the Cabinet and Executive Members to make effective decisions by examining issues beforehand and making recommendations – this is called ‘pre-scrutiny’
  • Challenging a decision made by the Cabinet or an Executive Member before it has been implemented (often known as a 'Call-in')
  • Reviewing decisions after they have been implemented to see if they achieved what was intended and were good decisions
  • Suggesting new policy areas where the Council should be taking action and reviewing the effectiveness of existing policies.
  • Reviewing the effectiveness or efficiency of any function of the Council
  • Examining the work of other agencies and partnerships to assess their impact on the people of Hampshire and challenge or suggest improvements where appropriate