Borough Based Community Safety Scrutiny

 

Local Authority CSP Scrutiny Powers

Every local authority in London has a duty to ensure that it has a committee (the “crime and disorder committee”) with power to review or scrutinise decisions made, or other action taken, in connection with the discharge by the responsible authorities of their crime and disorder functions and make reports or recommendations to the local authority with respect to the discharge of those functions. This statutory power was granted in 2009, when Sections 19 and 20 of the Police and Justice Act 2006 were implemented.

This work is often undertaken by borough councils through their Community Safety Scrutiny Committee (CSSC). The role of the CSSC is to be as “critical friend” of the responsible authorities, with the aim of providing them with "constructive challenge" at a strategic level.

To support the implementation of the Police and Justice Act, a guidance entitled National Support Framework: Delivering Safer and Confident Communities, was issued by the Home Office at the end of May 2009. This guidance is intended to both provide advice for councillors and co-opted members of scrutiny panels and for the responsible authorities and communities concerned with the work
undertaken by CSPs.

CSP's Visible and Constructive Accountability

The aim of the Community Safety Scrutiny committee is to ensure that CSPs accountability is visible and and that they are accountable for the decisions and actions that they take. This is intended to result in local people feeling more engaged with, and confident in, the decision-making processes and with the performance of public sector service providers.

The guidance advises that "When this hallmark is being implemented effectively, partnerships will demonstrate that they are:

Background Information

 Link to copy of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Regulations 2009
2009 No. 942
accountable at each of three levels: to the local public, between partner organisations and to central government.
  • ensuring particular clarity of accountability within two-tier authorities between districts and county levels.

  • providing an audit trail of how agreements about decisions have been reached.

  • working within the local authority overview and scrutiny process to flag up areas for improvement and hold staff to account.

  • providing evidence and appropriate action following any crime and disorder Councillor Call for Action or recommendations from crime and disorder overview and scrutiny committees.

Conduct of CSP Scrutiny committee meetings

A crime and disorder committee should meet to review or scrutinise decisions made, or other action taken, in connection with the discharge by the responsible authorities of their crime and disorder functions as the committee considers appropriate but no less than once in every twelve month period.

Where a crime and disorder committee makes a request in writing for information to the responsible authorities (police, local authority etc), the information must be provided no later than the date indicated in the request. The information should be depersonalised information, and should not include information that would be reasonably likely to prejudice legal proceedings or current or future operations of the responsible authorities.Crime and Disorder committees can require the attendance, before it, of an officer or employee of a responsible authority or of a co-operating person or body in order to answer questions; providing resoable notice is given.

Reports and recommendations

Where a crime and disorder committee makes a report or recommendations to a responsible
authority or to a co-operating person etc, the responses to such report or recommendations must be in writing and
submitted to the crime and disorder committee must normally be within a period of 28 days from the date of the report or recommendations.