Scrutiny and the public

In addition to attending commission meetings as observers, there are various ways for local people to get involved with overview and scrutiny in the Harrogate district. Some are more 'formal' than others and have different amounts of time allocated to them at meetings.

Although such formality can seem daunting, don't let this put you off! The Scrutiny Officer is available to give advice beforehand and the Chair and Members of the commissions will put you at ease at their meetings.

The various way to get involved are:

  • speaking at meetings
  • being invited to attend a meeting
  • asking questions at meetings
  • submitting your own request for a review to be undertaken
  • co-option as a non-voting member

Right to speak and ask questions at scrutiny meetings

Speaking at the meetings

As well as being able to attend commission meetings you are allowed to speak at meetings if you want to as long as it is about an item on the agenda. However it is advisable that you contact the Scrutiny Officer before hand to let him know.

Although there is some formality at the meetings the Chair will greet you and make you feel welcome. There is also less formality for you, as a general observer, compared to someone who has been invited to speak at the meeting.

For more information please contact the Scrutiny Officer at [email protected].

Invitation to attend a meeting

In the course of its investigations, the commission may want to consult local people.

People are often invited to address the commission on specific issues, discuss issues of local concern or to answer questions. This is normally because they are expert witnesses, local residents, stakeholders (interested parties) or members and officers in other parts of the public sector.

Asking questions at the meetings

There is a standard item on the overview and scrutiny commission agenda, which allows members of the public to ask questions and we warmly welcome anyone who wishes to.

Shortly after the meeting has started, the chair will invite you to read out your question. Please note that the wording of the question must be sent to the Head of Legal and Governance at least 48 hours before the meeting.

For more information please contact [email protected].

Submit request for scrutiny review:

You can submit a request for a scrutiny review to be looked at by the overview and scrutiny commission. The issue you believe should be investigated must affect the residents of this district. However, as the commission is able to undertake external scrutiny reviews, the matter does not necessarily have to relate to this council's responsibilities and functions.

Each year we hold a workshop where Members of the Commission discuss the areas of concern they think overview and scrutiny should review. If you would like to submit an idea to be considered by the Commission and potentially taken forward as an item of work for the year ahead, please contact the Scrutiny Officer by emailing [email protected].

Co-option as a non-voting member

Commissions are allowed to co-opt two people per year who have not been elected to the council. They are usually experts or spokespersons in a particular field and can be appointed for a whole council year or for the duration of a particular review. Co-opted members can participate fully in debates at meetings but cannot vote.

Enquiries and requests form