What is scrutiny?

Councillors use scrutiny to evaluate matters that affect East Sussex residents. It ensures the Council is delivering services efficiently and effectively. It responds to the needs and opinions of residents and organisations.

The role of scrutiny includes:

  • holding the executive to account - it checks that Cabinet decisions are fair and appropriate
  • reviewing current policy - it carries out detailed reviews and makes recommendations to Cabinet before changes are made
  • developing new policy - scrutiny members can get involved with developing new policy, the Cabinet can also ask them to help
  • external scrutiny - scrutiny members can investigate matters that are outside the direct control of the Council - the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) looks at the health service

Scrutiny committees can:

  • question Cabinet members and senior council officers at committee meetings
  • assess service performance against standards
  • recommend improvements

Each scrutiny committee sets its own work programme and carries out reviews throughout the year.


Scrutiny members can call-in a decision made by Cabinet if they think it has been made incorrectly. If called in, the decision will be reconsidered.

How to get involved

Scrutiny allows local people to have a say on matters that affect them:

Committee meetings

Some scrutiny committees have co-opted members who represent parents, denominational schools and health services. You can find details of each committee membership:

The committee can ask Cabinet members to attend their meetings. The Cabinet can be asked to justify their decisions and how they are being implemented.

They can also invite outside organisations and representative groups to offer views on service or policy issues. This can be to a meeting of the full committee or a task group. A task group is a smaller group of councillors who are looking at a particular subject.

Equality and diversity

When we carry out scrutiny reviews we always try to make sure that minority and under-represented groups are included. Equality Impact Assessment reports are used as important evidence that equalities considerations are taken into account.