Last week, we put out a piece which goes into some detail on our different committees, how they work and what they do.

We recently published our Scrutiny Annual report for 2017/18 so in this piece, we’re going to take a look at our scrutiny committees.


What can scrutiny committees do?

Scrutiny committees don’t make decisions, but they have a very important role to play in looking in detail at issues that affect the council and the public.

Their key roles include challenging the performance of council services and departments, helping develop policies that affect the services we receive, and acting as a check on our Executive Board, even being able to call-in its decisions.

Ultimately, scrutiny is about bringing about improvement and the committees can look at anything that affects the people in the county borough.

It’s the members of the committees themselves who decide what these issues might be – as a result of requests from fellow councillors, officers or members of the public.

Committees don’t have any formal powers to challenge the work of other bodies, but they have developed good relationships with other organisations such as the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Coleg Cambria, who meet with our scrutiny committees regularly to discuss their plans and performance.

We have five different scrutiny committees, each of which is made up of elected members.

Here’s a quick description of each of them.

  • Employment, Business and Investment: This committee looks at those things which encourage the growth of Wrexham’s economy, such as business support, economic development, tourism, culture, regeneration and urban or rural development.
  • Safeguarding, Communities and Wellbeing: This committee discusses social services for adults and children, health, public protection services, leisure services, community centres, crime and disorder.
  • Homes and Environment: This committee examines affordable housing, our council housing stock, social housing, homelessness, Traveller sites, waste management, energy efficiency, Streetscene services and roads
  • Customers, Performance, Resources and Governance: This committee reviews a lot of the work which we need to do in order to make sure we’re fulfilling our duties as an employer and a local authority. That includes things such as performance management, Human Resources, equality issues, health and safety, customer contact – including the Contact Centre – our finances and asset management arrangements, partnership/collaboration arrangements and the democratic services.
  • Lifelong Learning: This committee would discusses things like education issues – for both children and adults – and libraries.

Scrutiny Annual Report 

As mentioned above, we recently published our Scrutiny Annual Report, which looks at some of the improvements achieved by each of the committees during the previous year.

There’s been a wide range of big, important issues covered by scrutiny during 2017/18, including:

  • local speed limits;
  • empty properties and how they can be brought back into use;
  • monitoring contract overspends;
  • education standards;
  • budget proposals for 2018/19 and 2019/20;
  • the Wrexham Town Centre Masterplan

and many more.

To look at some of the other areas covered by scrutiny in the last year, take a look at the full report here.

“Welcome public involvement”

Cllr Sonia Benbow-Jones, Scrutiny Champion, said: “Our scrutiny committees have done some excellent work in the last year, everything from reviewing our own work and projects to challenging outside bodies on the work they do in Wrexham.

“But scrutiny works best when members of the public get involved – be that through raising items for discussion or review, attending in person or following meetings when they’re webcast.

“As such, we welcome public involvement.  We have lots of information on our webpage about how the public can be involved in scrutiny, and anyone who wishes to contribute to scrutiny is advised to get in touch.”

We have to make even more cuts…and ask taxpayers for more money. But before we do anything, we want to know what you think.