Overview and scrutiny

Last Updated: 1 August 2022

In many councils in England and Wales, the decisions about how the council operates and spends its money are often made by a group of councillors known as the cabinet or executive.

Any council which uses a cabinet or executive decision making structure also has to set up an overview and scrutiny committee. This committee provides challenge to the cabinet by holding it to account for its decisions. An overview and scrutiny committee also plays a key role in the development of new policies and the review of existing policies.

How scrutiny works in South Lakeland

We have 51 district councillors. Our Cabinet is made up of seven of those councillors. Each Cabinet member has their own area of responsibility known as a portfolio.

We have a single Overview and Scrutiny Committee of 12 councillors who:

  • scrutinise decisions made by the Cabinet, committees and/or officers
  • help to develop new policies and review the Council’s existing policies
  • review the performance of the Council and Cabinet in relation to its policies and targets. The committee receive a report on the performance of the Council roughly every three months
  • consider the financial performance of the Council and are involved in the development of the annual budget
  • also review the performance of other public bodies in the area and invite reports from them about their activities and performance

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee should not shy away from the need to challenge and question the decisions made, and the need to make constructive criticism.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting dates, reports and minutes

Members of the public are welcome to attend meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Details of how you can participate in a meeting can be found in the Council’s General Public Participation Scheme.

Councillor Call for Action

Councillor Call for Action provides local councillors with an opportunity to request that the local overview and scrutiny committee considers any local problem or issue of concerns. However, this should be a last resort and only used when all other means of resolving an issue have been tried.

The Councillor Call for Action Scheme can be found in Part 4 of the Constitution (PDF 2.6MB / 331 pages)


Each year the Overview and Scrutiny Committee arranges in-depth reviews of selected topics. The recommendations from these reviews are presented to Cabinet or Council.

Overview and scrutiny committee annual reports

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee produces an annual report detailing their progress over the course of the year.

Overview and scrutiny committee annual report 2018 to 2019 (PDF 183KB / 6 pages)

If you would like a copy of previous annual reports, please contact us.