Recommendation 149

Support for scrutiny committees

Scrutiny committees should be provided with appropriate support to enable them to carry out their scrutiny role, including easily accessible guidance and benchmarks.

The Department of Health has worked with partners to develop guidance that will support local authorities to carry out effective scrutiny of the commissioning and delivery of local services, helping to ensure they are effective and safe.

The guidance will help Local Authorities (along with local partners including NHS commissioners and providers, health and wellbeing boards and Healthwatch) to understand the new powers and duties provided by the Local Authorities (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013.

The Department of Health is also delivering a range of programmes to increase the availability and transparency of data for local authorities, to support local democratic accountability including scrutiny processes.

The guidance is due to be published in November 2013.


In June 2014, the Department issued guidance to local authorities on how to scrutinise local health systems. The guidance supports local government, the NHS and other local partners to understand and develop their roles in relation to health scrutiny, and ensure that it adds value for local communities. The publication of the guidance was put back in order to ensure consistency with related policy around local consultation on proposals for service reconfiguration, and to allow additional engagement with local authorities and other system partners.

The Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England have jointly commissioned a programme of support for 2014/15 for local authorities in exercising their health scrutiny powers.