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Scrutiny and partners

Many services that local people receive are provided by the council in partnership with a wide range of organisations operating across Merton to improve the lives of local people.

Scrutiny engages partners and residents to ensure there is a dialogue between both parties and that local communities have a say in the design and delivery of services they receive from the Council and other public service providers working in partnership.


External scrutiny protocol

To recognise the full benefits of this role, councillors, officers and partners must be sure to understand where each other is coming from, and what each can expect from one another.

To support councillors to take full advantage of this role and to facilitate and encourage the engagement of partner organisations in scrutiny, Merton has an External Scrutiny Protocol. The protocol was developed in consultation with councillors, senior officers and both statutory and non-statutory partner organisations to ensure that all partners have a common understanding of the aims of scrutiny. Specifically, it outlines:

  • the requirements for partner organisations to provide information to scrutiny,
  • notice of required attendance and submission of written reports,
  • the style and conduct of meetings,
  • how partners will respond and 'have regard to' scrutiny recommendations and,
  • a process to resolve conflict, if needed.

The protocol forms part of the councils constitution or you can download the external scrutiny protocol separately.


Working with partners to improve Merton

Effective scrutiny relies on the involvement of residents and local partners to ensure the best outcomes for the residents of Merton. As such partner organisations can be involved in scrutiny in the following ways:

  • Requests for Information: Sometimes members will ask for information to be presented by partners to support their work. As outlined in the protocol partners will be provided with sufficient notice and guidance in advance of the meeting of the relevant panel or task group.
  • Co-option onto scrutiny panels or task groups: Members may feel it is of benefit to their work-programme co-opt a non-voting member from a partner organisation onto a panel or task-group to offer their views and bring their expertise and experience to inform the members discussions.
  • Consultation:  Scrutiny at Merton has made a commitment to consult with partners on issues and topics that are being considered as part of the panels work programme.
  • Work programme: Partners will be invited to contribute to the development of the scrutiny panel work programmes to highlight topics and issues of local concern.


Improving scrutiny

Partners will be provided with an opportunity to comment on their experience of engaging with scrutiny and how the process may be improved. This will contribute to our continued evaluation of the function to enable us to adapt the support we provide to councillors and partners.

If you have been involved in the work of scrutiny you can download and complete the external witness questionnaire to provide us with your views on how the scrutiny team can improve its support to partners throughout the process.