Scrutiny in Calderdale
The monthly Scrutiny Bulletin can be accessed via the link below:-
April 2016: .
From time to time each Scrutiny Panel may decide that it wishes to look at a certain topic in greater detail.
These detailed reviews may be undertaken by all members of the scrutiny panel, or the Panel may choose to appoint a smaller number of members to meet and then report back to the main panel.
Occasionally when a subject is cross cutting, joint reviews including members from more than one Scrutiny Panel have been undertaken. A good example is the Obesity Review that was undertaken jointly by the Adults, Health and Social Care and the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panels.
Detailed reviews allow Members the flexibility to undertake more in-depth research and information gathering into a topic, normally over several meetings and, as always, we take evidence from a variety of sources.
The Scrutiny Panel usually prepares a report setting out the recommendations arising from the review. This may be presented to the Council, the Council's Cabinet or external bodies for them to consider whether they wish to implement the scrutiny recommendations.
Completed Scrutiny Reviews are:
Attendance Management Scrutiny Review (Supporting our workforce and improving attendance)
The Use of Resources Scrutiny Panel undertook a detailed scrutiny review on attendance management at Calderdale Council.
A review group looked at the matter of attendance management and how the Council as an employer, needed to ensure an effective balance between its duty of care for its employees and ensuring attendance and productivity at work.
The review heard from key stakeholders, in particular our staff and managers, from the Director of Public Health and from the Director of Communities and Service (who had overall responsibility for the Council’s Human Resources service) and from the recognised Trades Unions at the Council.
The Use of Resources Scrutiny Panel accepted and endorsed the review group’s findings and recommendations and these have been submitted to the Council’s Cabinet (April, 2016) and Corporate Leadership Team for consideration and responses to.
Attendance Management scrutiny review [PDF file 368KB]| – March, 2016 – report of the Use of Resources Scrutiny Panel
Wildflower Planting and Weed Control Policies – Detailed Review
Following representation from a number of constituents, a member of the Council’s Communities Scrutiny Panel raised the issues of both wildflower planting and the council’s methods of weed control and a detailed review was set up to look at both issues.
The Review Objectives were: to examine the Council’s current policy and practices regarding the planting of wildflowers on verges and in open spaces; to consider the economic and social impacts of wildflower planting, including community engagement; to examine the Council’s current policy and practices, and those of key partners, regarding the control of weeds, taking into account recent reports from WHO IARC, APSE and TUC amongst others; and to consider the economic, social and health implications of alternative options..
The review group’s findings in respect of wild flowers and weed control can be found in Appendices 1 and 2 to the attached scrutiny report below.
The Council’s Cabinet considered the Scrutiny Panel’s recommendations at its November, 2015 meeting and agreed that the planting of appropriate wildflowers wherever possible and appropriate should be encouraged; for members of the Council’s Safer, Cleaner, Greener Team to be asked to harvest wildflower seeds for wider use across the Council’s estate; and for the potential for the setting up of a fund for the purchase of wildflower seeds, which “Friends of” groups and other community organisations could bid for to be further investigated.
wild flower and weed control scrutiny review [PDF file 122KB]| – October, 2015 – report of the Communities Scrutiny Panel.
App 1 - wildflower planting scheme and alternative grass maintenance [PDF file 2268KB]| - October, 2015 – report of the Communities Scrutiny Panel.
Weed control in calderdale [PDF file 1315KB]| - October, 2015 – report of the Communities Scrutiny Panel.
Review - Local Environment and Public Health in Calderdale
A Local Environment and Public Health in Calderdale detailed scrutiny review group was established by the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel to look in-depth at the subject of the relationships between the local environment and public health in the Borough.
The review group focused its work on the three key objectives identified within the group’s terms of reference:- developing policies that promoted active and sustainable travel across the Borough; developing policies that would reduce the negative impacts of living in cold homes upon public health and developing policies that sought to mitigate the public health effects of environmental pollution.
As part of its research, the review group also considered much background documentation and received a number of pieces of external evidence, including a presentation by the West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy Manager at one of its meetings.
Arising from this work, a report was prepared in April, 2015 containing its findings and nine key recommendations. The report will now be submitted to an early Cabinet meeting in the next (2015/16) Municipal Year for consideration and responses thereto.
Local Environment and Public Health Scrutiny Review [PDF file 671KB]| - April, 2015 - report of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel.
Review - Economic Regeneration in Calderdale
An Economic Regeneration in Calderdale review group was established by the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel to look in-depth at the subject of Economic Regeneration in the Borough.
The review group, as part of its research, looked into the findings of key reports such as the Calderdale District Employer survey 2013 and the Portas Review. It also received evidence from a variety of sources, included the Director and the Portfolio Holder for Economy and Environment; examined and commented on the Business and Economy Strategy 2014-20 and proposals to restructure the Council’s Business and Economy team to help drive forward the strategy.
Arising from this work, a report was prepared in February, 2014 containing five key recommendations. Cabinet, in subsequently considering the report accepted the first three recommendations (relating to apprenticeships) for implementation, and noted the two further recommendations (relating to parking and funding for targeted regeneration initiatives.
Economic regeneration in Calderdale Scrutiny review [PDF file 240KB]| - February, 2014 – report of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel.
Review – Green Economy in Calderdale
In June, 2013, the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel decided to undertake a scrutiny review on the Green economy, primarily on green economy activities and initiatives being undertaken in the Borough and also looking at aspects of the regional and sub-regional context, such as our relationship with the Leeds City Region (LCR).
Witness evidence to the review was gathered from a variety of sources, including formal meetings; drop-in sessions, written submissions and telephone interviews.
Arising from this work, a final report was prepared in March, 2014 containing ten key recommendations. Cabinet, in subsequently considering the report accepted all these recommendations for implementation.
Green Economy in Calderdale scrutiny review [PDF file 657KB]| - March, 2014 – report of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel.
"Aiming Higher" - a scrutiny review of School Effectiveness
This is the first report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel review of School Effectiveness. Members who undertook this review were unanimous in their ambition that all schools within Calderdale should be good or better. Anything less was letting down our children and young people. The review also focused on the role of the School Effectiveness Service and the important role it has to play in this and strongly encouraged that the Service should be supported to act with speed and rigour when it identified any concerns about school performance.
School Effectiveness - First Report [PDF file 404KB]| March, 2013 - report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel
"Children Count" - a scrutiny review of performance and data
This is the final report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel review of Performance and Data. The review arose following on from an Ofsted inspection and a Peer Review commissioned by the Council which had made comments on the use of performance data relating to children and young people by Council members and within the officer structures. This report concentrates on the use of performance data by members of council.
Performance and Data Scrutiny Review [PDF file 219KB]| - May, 2013 - report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel
Review - Social Care for Children
A Social Care for Children Review Group was established by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel in response to serious concerns about social care services for children. The report focuses on areas for service improvement and, in particular, the contribution that Members of Council can make to that improvement. The Review Group saw strong evidence that the Children and Young People Directorate recognised those issues that need addressing and has taken good and rapid steps to bring about improvement
The Review Group’s work has led to:
A greater understanding by the members about the problems that were faced by social care services for children and the nature of the Directorate’s work; A strong commitment by the members to support efforts to improve the lives of looked after children and other children in need. This will sometimes be achieved by robust scrutiny; A clear message being given that Members must be supplied with full, accurate and timely information, which is essential for effective scrutiny; and recommendations that will improve the ability of the Council to support improvement and to recognise quickly when there are problems.
Review of Social Care for Children [PDF file 321KB]| - April, 2012 - report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel,
A Bold Approach - Review of services for People with Dementia - Full Report
This is the full report of the Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel review of services for people with dementia. Members of the scrutiny panel visited services, talked to managers and professional staff in the Council and the NHS, and, most importantly, listened to what people with dementia and their carers have said.
Review of services to people with dementia (full report) [PDF file 432KB]| - April, 2012 - report of the Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel
Summary report - A Bold Approach - Review of services for people with Dementia
This is the summary report of the Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel review of services for people with dementia. Members of the scrutiny panel visited services, talked to managers and professional staff in the Council and the NHS, and, most importantly, listened to what people with dementia and their carers have said.
Dementia - summary report [PDF file 1480KB]| - April, 2012 - report of the Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel
Review - Cabinet’s Draft Budget Proposals 2012/13
The five Scrutiny Panels undertook detailed scrutiny of Calderdale’s Cabinet’s draft budget proposals for 2012/13 at meetings held during the first two weeks in February, 2012.
This was a major piece of review work, with the cross-party Panels scrutinising in detail and providing a commentary to the Cabinet on its budget proposals for 2012/13, both on suggested areas of growth and on those services where savings were proposed.
All the Scrutiny Panel Chairs had prepared a number of advance questions they wished to raise on the proposals, seeking clarity, confirmation or further information from the Cabinet Members on their proposals. These questions were sent to Cabinet Members and Chief Officers in advance of the meetings to enable them to prepare a response for the Scrutiny Panels.
The report below contains a summary of the matters discussed and commentary raised by each Scrutiny Panel on the budget proposals. The report was considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 13 February, 2012, prior to Cabinet agreeing final budget proposals for submission to the Budget Council meeting to be held on 27 February, 2012.
Budget Proposals Review [PDF file 201KB]| February 2012 – report of the Head of Democratic and Partnership Services.
Young People’s Service
This detailed review involved four Councillors and a Co-opted Member from the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel examining the work of the Young People’s Service for Calderdale with the primary purposes to (a) help the Council set priorities for the Young People’s Service; and (b) ensure that the budget savings for 2011/12 and 2012/13 are to be achieved.
The Review group met on six occasions and undertook a number of site visits, some individually, some collectively, to view Young People’s Service buildings and facilities. They met with service users, along with Young People’s Service staff and management at several locations in Calderdale, including at the Mixenden Activity Centre, Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre, Raven Street Youth and Community Centre, Youth Works and Luddenden Youth centre.
This report details the research and evidence gathering undertaken throughout this detailed scrutiny review, including a summary of its findings and outlines recommendations in this matter.
Young People's Service Scrutiny Review [PDF file 803KB]| November 2011 – report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel.
Academies Scrutiny Review
The primary purpose of this detailed review was to support the work of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel by ensuring Councillors and co-opted members were fully informed of the implications of the Academies Bill (subsequently Act).
The remit of the review sought to ensure the highest quality of education possible for students of Calderdale schools; to make sure that good two way dialogue took place between the Children and Young People Directorate and all schools on the issue of Academies; to make sure up-to-date and accurate information was made available to all schools and others who were involved in decisions about Academy status; to examine any issues concerning the quality of support services provided by schools to the Council and information received by the Review Group from key stakeholders.
The Review involved three Councillors and two Co-opted Members from the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel, along with a primary head teacher; secondary head teacher and a representative from the Schools Forum.
This report details the research and evidence gathering undertaken throughout this detailed scrutiny review, including a summary of its findings and outlines recommendations in this matter.
Academies Scrutiny Review [PDF file 226KB]| November 2011 – report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel.
Care Homes for Older People
The review involved all members from the Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel examining the quality of Care Homes for Older People in the Borough, with a particular focus on the poorer care homes.
The Working Party met on seven occasions and held discussions with various individuals, professional bodies and Care Home owners/managers to ascertain their views. In addition, the Working Party commissioned two “lay” people to undertake site visits to some Care Homes on their behalf and provide an independent report back on their findings.
This report details the research and evidence gathering undertaken by the Working Party throughout this detailed scrutiny review, including a summary of its findings and outlines recommendations in this matter.
Care Homes Review for Older People [PDF file 339KB]| January 2011 – report of the Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel.
Post 16 Education Review
These interim (June, 2010) and final (September, 2011) reports presents the findings of a Working Party of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel which undertook a detailed scrutiny review on the topic of Post-16 Education. The primary role of the Working Party, was to support the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel by ensuring Councillors and co-opted members were fully informed of changes to learning opportunities and funding for 14-19 year olds (up to 25 year olds for children with learning difficulties and disabilities) and the implication of those changes for Calderdale.
Post 16 Education Scrutiny Review [PDF file 459KB]| June, 2010 – report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel.
Post 16 Education Review - final report [PDF file 462KB]| September, 2011 – final report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel.
Review of the May 2010 Elections
The Use of Resources Scrutiny Panel held a detailed review on the Elections held in Calderdale on 6 May, 2010
Problems arose at the elections in a number of different parts of the country. In particular a number of people were not able to vote because of queues at polling stations at 10.00pm as the polls closed. Although we did not experience those problems in Calderdale, the Panel wanted to make sure that everything was in place to minimise the likelihood of such events taking place here in the future.
The Panel felt it important the review of Elections was conducted in public. Elections are the most direct way of the people holding government – national or local – to account and it is important that they have the opportunity to observe and contribute to that report. The three political groupings on the Council came and gave their views to the Scrutiny Panel and that the meeting was attended by other members of the public and press.
As a result of the Review, the Panel was satisfied that the elections had been administered efficiently, effectively and fairly.
Review of the May 2010 Elections [PDF file 205KB]| December, 2010 – final report of the Use of Resources Scrutiny Panel.
The future of the Ridings School Site
The Ridings School was formed in the 1990's following the amalgamation of two schools, Holmfield High School and Ovenden High School, on a school site dating back to 1937. The school struggled following the merger, went into special measures a number of times and was the subject of much negative media attention, finally closing as a school in July 2009.
Cabinet asked the (former) Regeneration and Development Scrutiny Panel (now Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel) to consider options for the future use of the former Ridings School and prepare fully costed proposals for recommendation to Cabinet by the end of March 2010.
The Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel took evidence from a variety of sources during the course of this scrutiny review and published its report on the Future of the Ridings School Site in March, 2010
March, 2010 – report of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel.
Most of the money that the Council spends goes on paying staff to provide services throughout Calderdale and it is important to make sure that the Council is employing the right people with the necessary skills to provide those vital services.
The Scrutiny Panel was able to step outside management-staff relationships and negotiations with trade unions to take an independent look at staff issues.
The review took a close look at how the Council undertook performance appraisals and found that not enough staff were benefiting from a regular appraisal. The recommendations produced arising from the Scrutiny review have already led to improvements.
The review also found that some Council departments had more staff training provision than others and Council managers have been asked to address this issue.
Workforce Planning Review [PDF file 180KB]| April, 2010 – Report of the Use of Resources Scrutiny Panel
The Fly Tipping Working Party investigated the extent of this unpleasant and illegal activity.
Members questioned witnesses from the Environment Agency’s environmental crimes division, Pennine Housing 2000 as well as officers from Calderdale's Waste Management and Environmental Health departments.
Discussions focussed on, amongst other areas, fly tipping 'hot spots', the type of materials being dumped and possible solutions to the problem.
Overcoming the Blight of Fly Tipping [PDF file 1095KB]| May, 2009 – report of the Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel.
A major scrutiny review of obesity in Calderdale. The review involved members from the (Adults) Health and Social Care; Children and Young People and (former) Regeneration and Development Scrutiny Panels.
This topic was an extremely complex issue, and Members heard from a wide range of witnesses to get a clear understanding of all the factors involved, including:
- officers from across all Council Directorates;
- officers from NHS Calderdale;
- representatives from Calderdale’s schools;
- representatives from regional bodies, and
- experts from Leeds Metropolitan and Sheffield Universities.
Obesity Scrutiny Review [PDF file 572KB]| May 2009 – joint report of the Adults, Health and Social Care and Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel.
The parking review was a major piece of work undertaken by the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel.
Members looked at a host of issues, including availability and cost of town-centre parking, winter parking provision, enforcement, loading bays and taxi ranks and made 31 recommendations to Cabinet, including looking at a review of base budgets and income targets.
Parking Review [PDF file 1844KB]| July, 2009 – report of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel
Supporting Vulnerable Young People
A report of a Working Party of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel looked specifically at the work of the Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale (GALYIC); the work of the Safer Schools Partnerships in Calderdale; and plans for the next six-twelve months regarding arrangements for responding to children who experience bullying.
As part of their research and evidence gathering in this matter, the Working Party met and received the views of some of the Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale, along with the Council’s Anti-Bullying Co-Ordinator and a Chief Inspector of Police.
Supporting Vulnerable Young people Review [PDF file 144KB]| November, 2009 - report of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel.
Winter Service Review
The winter of 2008-09 was one of the worst in recent memory, and of course, 2009-10 was even worse still!
Scrutiny had already conducted a review of winter services and made recommendations about gritting patterns, storage, grit bins etc. In view of the severe weather, Councillors decided to revisit this piece of work to see if suggestions had been implemented successfully, and if anything more could be done.
One of the many things that became clear in undertaking this review was that Calderdale has to work as part of a bigger team in these unusual times. Indeed, it was found that Officers were demonstrating that they were developing co-operative and fruitful relationships with other authorities to ensure that the maximum resources were available to keep things moving.
Winter Service Review [PDF file 1855KB]| October, 2009 - report of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel.