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■■■ Sandwell 

Metropolitan Borough Council 

Minutes of the Budget and Corporate 
Scrutiny Management Board 

2 nd October, 2019 at 5.45pm 
at Sandwell Council House, Oldbury 

Present: Councillor L Giles (Chair); 

Councillors E M Giles, Moore and Singh. 

Apology: Councillor Rollins. 

In attendance: D Stevens (Interim Chief Executive); 

S Tour (Director - Law and Governance and 
Monitoring Officer); 

S Suthi-Nagra (Democratic Services Manager); 

I Parry (Centre for Public Scrutiny). 

18/19 Minutes 

Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 11 th 
September 2019 be approved as a correct record. 

19/19 Scrutiny Review 

Further to Minute No. 11/19, the Scrutiny Management Board 
received the report of the Scrutiny Review Working Group, which had 
been endorsed at its meeting on 24 September 2019. 

The Working Group was established to examine how the Council’s 
overview and scrutiny arrangements, including scrutiny outcomes, 
could be improved so as to reflect recognised good practice. 

The Working Group considered the insight and evidence gathered 
through a series of engagement sessions, desktop studies, one-to- 
one interviews, member surveys, analysis against statutory guidance 
and explored good practice to make evidence-based 


Budget and Corporate Scrutiny Management Board - 2 nd October, 2019 

The Working Group had been supported in its work by the Centre for 
Public Scrutiny (CfPS) and the Local Government Association (LGA). 

It was reported that six key themes emerged from the engagement 

• Culture; 

• Relationships; 

• Work Programme; 

• Structure; 

• Support; 

• Agile Working. 

These were also borne out by the findings of the work undertaken by 
CfPS during the review. 

The Board acknowledged the excellent work that had been 
undertaken in respect of the review. Particular thanks were given to 
officers who had supported the Working Group and the Review, along 
with the Centre for Public Scrutiny and the Local Government 
Association. The Board praised the approach taken to engage 
Members which had proven to be an excellent piece of work. 

The Board further acknowledged the hard work undertaken to prepare 
the Review Report and the pace within which the Review had been 
undertaken, which ensured a strong focus was maintained 

The Review demonstrated that the single most important determinant 
of whether the Council delivered an excellent overview and scrutiny 
function that was nationally recognised, was the need for embedding 
a positive, passionate culture and approach amongst councillors to 
undertaking scrutiny, that was underpinned by a strong commitment 
to maximising the opportunities effective scrutiny provided. 

A number of recommendations were proposed by the Working Group 
to strengthen the Council’s overview and scrutiny function which 
included a focussed Scrutiny Work Programme to align with the 
ambitions within Vision 2030. These included a revised structure for 
the overview and scrutiny function, terms of reference for the panels 
and sub-panels and refreshed role descriptions for scrutiny chairs, 
vice-chairs, panel members and co-opted members. 


Budget and Corporate Scrutiny Management Board - 2 nd October, 2019 

Ian Parry, CfPS, attended the meeting and commended the thorough 
and inclusive work that had been done in Sandwell on the Review. 
The engagement programme with councillors that had taken place 
was highlighted as a strength, demonstrating the enthusiasm and 
commitment elected members had to improve scrutiny. The CfPS 
had been particularly impressed by the pace of the Review and 
agreed that the proposed model for overview and scrutiny in Sandwell 
would be an innovative and bold step to modernise the function. 

The Scrutiny Management Board recognised that the Review outlined 
many positive and worthwhile proposals; however also felt that more 
time was needed to reflect upon the following:- 

The proposed structure included a 2030 Scrutiny Panel with a 
membership of 24. This would have three sub-panels reporting 
to it and concerns were raised as to the practicality of such an 

More clarity was needed around the roles of Vice-Chairs in 
leading the sub-panels of the 2030 Scrutiny Panel and how this 
differed to the role of Scrutiny Panel Chairs. 

Greater analysis required on how the proposals met the 
Statutory Guidance on Overview and Scrutiny in Local and 
Combined Authorities, published by the Ministry of Housing, 
Communities and Local Government. In particular, public 
engagement principles and mechanisms needed to be more 

It was recognised that protocols were a tool to creating a 
change in culture and the Scrutiny Management Board 
requested that further work be done by the Working Group to 
develop the protocols before any new proposals were 
presented to Full Council. 

Greater emphasis was needed in relation to the how scrutiny of 
the West Midlands Combined Authority would be undertaken. 

The Scrutiny Management Board highlighted the need to 
conduct further engagement with elected members on the 
proposals, to maintain the momentum that had been gained 
from the previous engagement sessions which had been well 
attended by councillors. 


Budget and Corporate Scrutiny Management Board - 2 nd October, 2019 

It was felt that further information on the proposed methods of 

resourcing the support for scrutiny needed to be made clearer. 

Resolved that:- 

(1) the Budget and Corporate Scrutiny Management Board:- 

(a) note the excellent work undertaken in relation to the 
Scrutiny Review so far; 

(b) place on record its thanks to the Centre for Public 
Scrutiny, Local Government Association for their 
support to the Scrutiny Review and Officers for all 
their hard work; 

(2) the comments of the Budget and Corporate Scrutiny 
Management Board set out in these Minutes be referred 
back to Scrutiny Review Working Group for consideration 
and action; 

(3) the Scrutiny Review Working Group co-ordinates and 
undertakes further engagement work with Elected 
Members and the Executive (as necessary) on the 
proposals detailed in the Scrutiny Review before 
preparing final proposals; 

(4) a revised Scrutiny Review Report of the Working Group 
detailing the final proposals be submitted to a future 
meeting of the Budget and Corporate Scrutiny 
Management Board; 

(5) in order to keep the pace of the Scrutiny Review, an 
extraordinary meeting of the Council be arranged (if 
necessary), with the Mayor’s consent, prior to 14 January 
2020 to consider the recommendations of the Budget and 
Corporate Scrutiny Management Board in relation to the 
Scrutiny Review. 

(Meeting ended at 7.56 pm) 

Contact Officer: Alex Goddard 
Democratic Services Unit 
0121 569 3178