Scrutineers in the north east have joined forces across seven local authorities to help improve the region’s economy by monitoring and reviewing strategic decisions across local authority boundaries in the areas of economic growth, skills and transport.
The aim of the North East Combined Authority (NECA) (Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, and South Tyneside) is to create the best possible conditions for growth in jobs, investment and living standards. The NECA Scrutiny Committee exists to achieve greater public accountability over decisions made and services delivered for the seven authorities in the North East.
Cllr Norma Wright, Chair of the NECA Scrutiny Committee said, “Scrutiny is the mechanism by which public accountability is exercised, as the leadership board makes decisions on behalf of their communities, the powers of scrutiny allow non-executive members to hold them to account for decisions taken on behalf of public interest”.
The Scrutiny Committee will monitor the decisions of the Leadership Board and investigate matters of strategic importance to residents of the Constituent Councils.
Through the use of scrutiny powers decisions of the Leadership Board, which could have significant effects on the residents within the sub-regional administrative area, will be reviewed by scrutiny members.
Through regular monitoring of developing policies and strategies of the Combined Authority, the Scrutiny Committee will ask challenging yet constructive questions such as “What is being done?”, “Is this the best way?” and “Can it be improved?”
Cllr John Eagle, Vice-Chair of the Scrutiny Committee said, “Through the checks and balances made by scrutiny members, the public are able to influence the strategic direction of decision makers and policies. They are able to assess performance, service delivery and challenge local councils and external public sector organisations to make improvements.”
Strategic reviews will aim to investigate matters of significance for the NE Combined Authority area. This work will complement and not duplicate that of the individual local authorities, but review sub-regional issues that are directly linked to the work of the Leadership Board.
Cllr Wright continued, “The Scrutiny Committee will review the Delivery Plans for the NECA Strategy on a regular basis to ensure that the indicators are travelling in the desired direction.”