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Reviewing Council Decisions and Performance

The role of scrutiny in monitoring and examining decisions and performance.

What is scrutiny?

Scrutiny is a process of examining the decisions that are made in the council, and also examining how we deliver our services.

We're committed to making sure that the decisions we make are fair and transparent, and that our services are delivered in the best way possible for those that need to access them.

To check that this is happening, we undertake scrutiny of our activities.

What does scrutiny do?

Scrutiny holds the council's Executive Committee to account.

By doing this, we aim to ensure that services respond to the needs of the local community and are efficient, cost effective and easy-to-use.


  • aims to improve services by monitoring the council and other agencies, and making recommendations on the way services are provided
  • allows local councillors to examine decisions made by the council's leadership
  • has the power to 'call-in' decisions (see below) and ask for them to be reconsidered
  • monitors the performance of the council
  • informs and influences the actions of the council and its partners by documenting the views of agencies, local people and service users, making recommendations based on this evidence
    (approved recommendations are monitored and a report is sent to the Scrutiny Commission for review every six months)

How does scrutiny work at West Berkshire Council? 

Scrutiny of our activities is led by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission. The role of the Commission, and the way that it operates, are defined within part 6.9 of the constitution.

Calling-in decisions

If a decision made by the Executive or an Individual Portfolio Holder is disputed then it can be 'called-in' for review.

Call-in has the effect of stopping the decision going ahead until the Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission have looked at the matter and decided whether it should be reconsidered.

Members of the public are not able to ask for a decision to be called-in, but can contact their local councillor to request that they do so.

How call-in works

When a report on a decision is published, it will state whether or not it can be called-in - not all items will be eligible. Reports that are marked as 'not subject to call-in' include an explanation as to why this is.

Call-in requires five members, who were not involved in making the decision in the first place, to request that a decision is reviewed. The council constitution requires that a call-in request should be made within five working days of the decision being published. 

Current called-in items can be viewed on the decisions search page.

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