Here’s the story – http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Scrutiny-group-scrutinised/story-25469775-detail/story.html

EAST Devon District Council’s independent contingent is calling for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to be “genuinely” independent.

Overview and Scrutiny Committees were set up under the Local Government Act 2000. They hold the function of developing and reviewing policy, making recommendations to council and, in effect, holding the executive or cabinet to account.

Ottery St Mary ward member, Councillor Roger Giles, has proposed a motion to be considered at the next full council meeting on Wednesday, December 17.

The motion reads:

“An effective and independent scrutiny function is important for achieving a transparent and an effective council.

“Scrutiny should be a completely open and impartial process, not subject to interference or pressure.

“This Council believes the Overview and Scrutiny Committee alone should determine what matters it considers, who it calls as witnesses and who forms part of its considerations.

“The chairman and vice chairman must be non-majority party councillors in order for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to be fully effective”.

The motion was seconded by Cllr Ben Ingham and supported by councillors Susie Bond, Trevor Cope and Claire Wright.

Cllr Giles, said: “An effective scrutiny function makes for an effective council.

“What we want is a genuinely independent scrutiny committee which can do its job properly without fear or favour of political influence.

“One way of ensuring this is to have a non-majority party councillor in the positions of chair and vice chair, like Devon County Council.”