Rutland County Council has announced plans for an innovative new scrutiny process that will give its scrutiny panels a greater role in assisting the creation of new policies.
The council has four scrutiny panels that provide oversight in the following areas: places, people (children), people (adults), and resources. Their role is to scrutinise decisions and actions taken by the council, monitor service delivery and performance and review policies.
For the first time, all four panels have made a commitment to work together to consider one specific issue each year and develop an overarching draft policy that brings about positive change in this area.
Councillor Alan Walters is chairman of the council’s resources scrutiny panel and heads up the new joint commission.
He said: “This is an exciting new way for all our councillors to be more fully involved in researching issues and recommending policy. By adopting this new approach we will gain the benefit of all our members’ experience, skills and knowledge, which will benefit all our residents, as each councillor who represents them will be more directly and positively involved in the policy-making process.”
Having identified poverty as the first issue to be addressed, the scrutiny panels will hold a series of meetings to develop a programme of work and define its objectives. This will lead to the publication of a ‘green paper’ that sets out a range of initial proposals for discussion.
Coun Walters added: “Rutland is a great place to live and work. However, even within our population, we know there are issues of relative poverty. These can be visible issues that we can see in small areas of the county but they can also be hidden away, for example loneliness and rural isolation.
“It is right and proper that we consider all residents when we produce policies and our first aim will be to define what poverty is in Rutland.
“We will then look more closely at local needs and how all our future policies can be managed in a way that makes sure we don’t adversely affect those who are less well-off.”
Once the commission’s green paper has been reviewed it will produce a draft document that sets out proposals for addressing any work that can be done across various agencies to help those in need.
It is hoped this process will be complete by March 2017, after which scrutiny will move on to look at another issue.
The day-to-day work of each individual scrutiny panel will carry on as normal.
The council’s scrutiny panels meet regularly in public with dates and additional information published on the Rutland County Council website.
To find out more, visit: www.rutland.gov.uk.