Health organisations considering reconfiguration will often have to engage with the local health overview and scrutiny committee. There is already specific guidance on the health scrutiny function, but new more general guidance aimed at local and combined authorities includes a number of policies and practices authorities should adopt or should consider adopting when deciding how to carry out their overview and scrutiny functions - including around ensuring an effective scrutiny 'culture', making best use of scrutiny time and resources, and also powers to access information. As regards health, the guidance envisages that rather than the NHS simply being on the receiving-end of scrutiny committee oversight, the NHS should also be treated as a stakeholder that can help to inform the committee's work:
- Relationships with other partners should not be limited to evidence-gathering to support individual reviews or agenda items. A range of partners are likely to have insights that will prove useful [including] public sector partners (like the NHS and community safety partners, over which scrutiny has specific legal powers);.
Health organisations may want to consider this guidance to understand best practice in scrutiny functions, and for ideas to work collaboratively with local government on scrutiny issues.
Overview and scrutiny: statutory guidance for councils and combined authorities