How decisions are made in Worcester
The Cabinet is the part of the Council which is responsible for most day-to-day decisions. The Cabinet is made up of the Leader and up to nine Councillors appointed by the Leader. When major decisions are to be discussed or made, these are published in the Notification of Public and Private Key Decisions in so far as they can be anticipated. If these major decisions are to be discussed with Council Officers at a meeting of the Cabinet, this will generally be open for the public to attend except where personal or confidential matters are being discussed. The Cabinet has to make decisions which are in line with the Council's overall policies and budget. If it wishes to make a decision which is outside the budget or policy framework, this must be referred to the Council as a whole to decide.
Overview and Scrutiny Committee
There are three Overview and Scrutiny Committees who support the work of the Cabinet and the Council as a whole. These are:
- Scrutiny Committee
- Performance Management and Budget Scrutiny Committee
- Audit Committee
These Committees produce reports and recommendations which advise the Cabinet and the Council as a whole on its policies, budget and service delivery. The Overview and Scrutiny Committees also monitor the decisions of the Cabinet.
How does Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work?
Any two members of the Council can ‘call-in' a proposal coming before the Cabinet to the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Chairman of the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee may also notify the Service Manager for Performance, Improvement, Efficiency & Democratic Services that they wish a particular forthcoming decision to be considered. Both avenues enable the Committee to consider whether a proposal is appropriate before it is considered by Cabinet.
Overview and Scrutiny Committees may be consulted by the Cabinet or the Council on forthcoming decisions and the development of policy.
What is Scrutiny Committee?
Scrutiny Committee acts as a ‘critical friend', challenging and influencing the development of policies and plans, and helps to drive the performance of Worcester City Council services.
Its role is to:
- Review and scrutinise the decisions made by the Cabinet and Council officers both in relation to individual decisions and over time
- Exercise the right to call in decisions made by the Cabinet
- Review and scrutinise the performance of the Council in relation to its policy objectives in no more than four services areas in any one year
- Question Members of the Cabinet and Senior Officers about their decisions and performance in relation to particular decisions, initiatives or projects
- Make recommendations to the Cabinet and the Council arising from the outcome of the scrutiny process
- Review and scrutinise the performance of other public bodies in the local area, invite reports from them or request that they address the Scrutiny Committee or scrutiny panels and local people about their activities and performance
The Chair of Scrutiny Committee is Councillor Marc Bayliss.
What is Performance Management Budget Scrutiny Committee?
This committee specifically looks at the performance of the Council in relation to specific projects, service delivery and initiatives and overall financial performance.
Its role is to:
- Review and scrutinise the performance of the Council in relation to performance targets
- Review and scrutinise the performance of the Council in relation to the Corporate Plan and Service Plans
- Monitor and review the Council's detailed financial performance
- Scrutinise and review proposals from the Cabinet for the annual budget
The Chair of PMBS Committee is Councillor Joy Squires.
What is Audit Committee?
This committee plays a critical role in providing oversight and serving as a check and balance on the Council's risk management, governance and financial arrangements.
Its role is to:
- Ensure good governance principles are embedded throughout the Council and that the Council's governance arrangements meet with best practice (except for those matters which fall within the role and function of the Standards Committee)
- Consider the effectiveness of the Council's risk management arrangement, its control environment and associated measures to prevent fraud and corruption
- Ensure action is taken on the above matters where recommended by the Council's internal and external auditors and other inspectors
- Satisfy itself that the Council's assurance statements, in particular the Annual Governance Statement, properly reflects the risk environment and appropriately disclose actions to deal with significant problems in terms of materiality and/or the Council's core priorities and aims
- Monitor the work of internal and external audit
- Review the Council's annual statement of accounts, the annual report of the Chief Internal Auditor, the external auditor's opinion and reports to Members and monitor responses to issues raised in them
- Consider and develop proposals which would increase the Council's efficiency whether by way of reducing costs or increasing income.
The Chair of Audit Committee is Councillor Andy Roberts.