At the commencement of the meeting the Chair of the Committee provided an update on the progress that had been made to strengthen Slough’s scrutiny function and the next steps as part of the improvement programme.
It was noted that scrutiny training had been carried out for both Members and officers and further training was planned later in the year with the support of the Centre for Governance & Scrutiny. A new and experienced Statutory Scrutiny Officer had been appointed and the current year’s budget included provision to recruit to the post of scrutiny officer, which had been deleted in a previous restructure.
The Chair stated that the Centre for Governance & Scrutiny review of Slough, which had started at the beginning of the year, would report soon and the recommendations would come to the next meeting of the Committee along with a report from officers on the next steps to implement the review and make the necessary improvements to scrutiny as set out in the Secretary of State’s Directions to the Council.
In the meantime, a significant amount of work was taking place to refocus the current scrutiny committee and panels towards task and finish group activity aligned to key areas of the Council’s recovery and improvement programme. Three task and finish groups would initially be established and they would report back to their respective committee or panel. Budget scrutiny would be further strengthened with all 2023/24 savings proposals coming to scrutiny at the end of November or early December.
The Chair reiterated his commitment to the improvement of the scrutiny function of the Council, which would require proactive support from both Members and senior officers, and that he would keep the Committee updated as the work progressed.
Resolved – That the Chair’s statement be noted and that the report of the Centre for Governance & Scrutiny be received at the next meeting of the Committee.