Magazine article Public Finance

Scrutiny Committees' Powers May Be Extended

Magazine article Public Finance

Scrutiny Committees' Powers May Be Extended

Article excerpt

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is considering proposals to expand the powers of local authority overview and scrutiny committees, so they would be able to hold government departments and private sector providers to account.

At present, the committees have the power to compel only local authority officers and NHS bodies to give evidence to their inquiries.

However, responding to complaints that the ODPM's new Local Area Agreements do not promote real cooperation between all public service providers and fundholders, local government minister Phil Woolas said that one solution could be to broaden the committees' powers.

'I don't see why we can't expand [their role] to oversee scrutiny of other partners on behalf of other citizens,' Woolas told an audience of local authority officers and members at the New Local Government Network seminar. …

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