Scrutiny Annual Report – 2011/12

You don’t need a magnifying glass to carry out effective scrutiny, but it helps.

We’ve just published our “Scrutiny Annual Report” for 2011-12, which will be discussed at our next full Council meeting on 15th May (more about this next week). Thought you would like a read, and also to find out more about Scrutiny at Warwickshire.

The report brings together all the pieces of scrutiny we’ve done over the past year, including in-depth reviews of Council and local health services, the performance of individual departments and the wider transformation of services. Hopefully, it gives an overall picture of the puzzle.

Sorry, what’s scrutiny again…?

Rather than me re-inventing the wheel, social media bloggers podnosh explain scrutiny nicely. The Centre for Public Scrutiny also do a good job (well, they would).

But in summary, scrutiny is one of the building blocks of local democracy. It holds local leaders to account for the decisions they make, challenges performance and makes suggestions for improvement.

Councillors are currently considering what they want to scrutinise over the next 12 months, and we’ve recently blogged  about how you can get involved. Click the link or leave us a comment below.

County Council Meeting – 27th March 2012

Council

The County Council will be meeting next Tuesday 27th March to debate and discuss the County’s finances; including how we can plan our spending over the next two years and how we can help grow the Coventry and Warwickshire economy and reduce unemployment. The Warwickshire Observatory have today released the latest unemployment figures on their blog, which can be found here.

Here’s what is on the agenda for the meeting next Tuesday:

  • Medium Term Financial Plan
  • Treasury Management Strategy 2012/13
  • Coventry and Warwickshire Growing Places Fund
  • Notice of Motion – Internet Access for Young People in Libraries
  • Allocation of Capital Receipts from Surplus Property Disposals ( this is an exempt report, and won’t be open to the public)

The vast majority meeting is open to the public, and will start at 10.00am at Shire Hall, Warwick.

The papers for the meeting can be downloaded here: Council 27th March 2012

For more information, or if you have any questions, contact martynharris@warwickshire.gov.uk

Improving the health of people in Warwickshire

On the 21st February this year, we held a public debate on the topic of “improving the health of people in Warwickshire”.

Rather than looking at the changes to the NHS nationally, the debate focused on what could be done locally to help people lead healthy lives, and how the County Council could work better with GPs, the NHS, voluntary groups and other local councils to improve the health of residents.

Around 90 people attended the debate, including members of the public, elected councillors, GPs and other health professionals. And there was consensus from all present that promoting the health and wellbeing of residents should be central to everything the County Council does.

At the debate, we heard that the team responsible for promoting better public health in Warwickshire has moved across from the NHS to the County Council. This team works on a number of proactive campaigns – covering issues such as smoking, obesity, flu vaccinations and sexual health – with a view that “prevention is better than cure”.

Those present welcomed the move, recognising the opportunities for better working in a number of areas ranging from social care to school meals, and country parks to children’s centres. This also applies to the district and borough councils, where housing officers already work with the Public Health team when visiting properties.

Dr John Linnane, Director of Public Health for Warwickshire, highlighted that the average life expectancy across the county varies by up to 8 years depending on which council ward you live in*. Noting the significance of this problem, it was agreed that all health agencies in Warwickshire should work together to address it.

A full list of the agreed actions from the debate can be found here

*(Source – Joint Director of Public Health Annual Report 2011 http://www.warwickshire.nhs.uk/CmsDocuments/40b11b63-656b-4147-914b-f17890e9bdd9.pdf)

Further info

Warwickshire County Council news article

Health and Wellbeing services

Council set to agree budget and Council Tax for 2012/2013

The County Council will be meeting this Tuesday 7th February to debate the Council’s ‘strategic delivery framework’ and agree the budget and council tax for the coming financial year.

The whole meeting is open to the public, and will start at 10.00am at Shire Hall, Warwick.

The proposed budget and papers for the meeting can be found here: Council Agenda and Reports – 7th February 2012 (pdf)

The Council’s Cabinet has recommended that the County Council freeze council tax this year. If this is agreed, the Council will be eligible for a central government grant of up to £5.859million to help fund services, without increasing Council Tax.

All Councillors will be debating this proposal and will be able to suggest changes before the budget is agreed by the Council.

You can find out more about the process the Council goes through to set the budget and how the Council spends its money here: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/budget

For more information, or if you have any questions, contact martynharris@warwickshire.gov.uk

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