The Scrutiny Committee supports the work of the Cabinet and the Council as a whole. Scrutiny at Sunderland City Council provides a service that supports the Council and its partners in enhancing the quality of life of all who live and work in the city by ensuring services are delivered effectively at a city-wide level and supporting improvement in council services, policies and performance.

The Committee works closely with council officers, external partners, voluntary and community groups and local people to ensure strong and consistent links are made between city-wide plans and the overarching commitments to improve accountability. It informs the development and delivery of improved public services at a city-wide level and undertakes reviews or investigations, making recommendations for development within the Council and also to partner organisations. Scrutiny is also key consultee on forthcoming Cabinet or Council decisions.

The Scrutiny function operates by way of a commissioning model, with one overarching Scrutiny Committee and six supporting Scrutiny Panels. This structure allows scrutiny in Sunderland to remain responsive in a time of significant change to Council services.

pdf icon Scrutiny in Sunderland [658kb]

The membership of the Scrutiny Committee comprises the Chair, Vice Chair and six Scrutiny Lead Members.

Cllr David Tate

Cllr David Tate

Cllr N Wright

Cllr Norma Wright
Vice Chair

The Scrutiny Lead Members are each supported by a Scrutiny Panel, with specific remits as follows:

The Scrutiny Panels are commissioned to undertake policy reviews each municipal year and to examine those items of scrutiny business, as directed by the Scrutiny Committee, falling within the respective remits.

The remits of the Scrutiny Panels are aligned with the Cabinet Portfolios to ensure both the City Council and named external partners responsible for delivery are held to account.

Watch a short video about Scrutiny in Sunderland.
Scrutiny in Sunderland (video) This link opens in a new browser window

The key roles of Scrutiny Committees are:

  • Scrutiny of Cabinet decisions
    Scrutiny has a vital role to play in ensuring that Cabinet is publicly held to account for its actions and promote open and transparent decision making and democratic accountability. Cabinet, Council and service areas have the opportunity to consult with the Scrutiny Committee and take advice before taking a decision. In that way the Scrutiny Committee acts as the final check that decisions are made correctly
  • Policy review and development
    At the start of each council year, members of the Scrutiny Committee choose two topics per panel to look at in detail, taking up to three months per topic to evaluate a particular area of service delivery and make recommendations. This in-depth investigation includes talking to service users and has been central to the role of members involved in scrutiny in Sunderland
  • Performance Management, Improvement and Value for Money
    Scrutiny has an important role in holding partners to account and thereby assisting the Council in achieving a positive impact. The Scrutiny Committee is actively involved in performance management and takes responsibility for assessing the Council's performance in relation to their particular service area 
  • External Scrutiny
    The Scrutiny Committee assists the Council in promoting the well-being of communities by carrying out external scrutiny of local organisations, working with partners and monitoring the implementation of council policy through the Sunderland Partnership, working with local partners for the benefit of communities

Work Programme
As well as agreeing the respective Policy Review topics at the first meeting of the municipal year, the Scrutiny Committee agrees an annual pdf icon work programme [23kb] showing the work it intends to carry out as well as allowing for new and emerging issues to be included.

What have Scrutiny Committees achieved?
Outcomes from policy reviews show key achievements of the former seven Scrutiny Committees. Previous policy reviews undertaken can be found in the Policy Review Archive.

Annual reports also highlight the key achievements of the Scrutiny Committees. To view these, please see the 'Related downloads'.

Get involved
Scrutiny Committee meetings are open to the public and we welcome attendance from members of the public, so please just turn up!

The Scrutiny Committee meetings are held every month, usually held in Committee Room 1 at the Civic Centre.

For full details of meetings, please visit our Scrutiny Committee (Committee Management System) webpage.

The Scrutiny and Area Arrangements Function would like to hear your views on what is important to you so that we can be sure the Committee focuses on the right issues, so feel free to contact us.