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Scrutiny function

The scrutiny function is delivered through four overview and scrutiny committees:

  • Growth and Infrastructure
  • Education and Children's Social Care
  • Health and Adult Social Care
  • Performance, Finance and Customer Focus

The main aim of scrutiny is to act as a 'critical friend' to the Cabinet and other decision makers in order to promote better services, policies and decisions. Working in a similar way to parliamentary select committees, scrutiny involves councillors who are not in the cabinet.

Scrutiny makes a difference by ensuring that local decision making is better, that local services are improved and that local democracy is strengthened.

Its roles include: 

  • advising the Council's Executive on decisions it is due to take,
  • holding the Executive to account by reviewing its decisions before they are implemented (this is called the 'call in process'),
  • investigating and reviewing public services where Councillors have concerns about the way services are being delivered,
  • ensuring decisions are being implemented in a way which meets residents' different needs,
  • commenting on the work of other public services, individually and in partnership.

Scrutiny committees are not restricted to looking at council services, in fact they can look at almost any issue that has an impact on the quality of life of Plymouth residents. 

To share information about the scrutiny process in Plymouth on social media use #scrutinyplymouth

How to make a request for scrutiny?

Request for scrutiny should be emailed to

The request should cover the following:

  • What is the problem or nature of concern?
  • Which areas or community groups are affected?
  • What other avenues have you already explored?
  • Why you think the issue should be looked at by scrutiny/what would you like scrutiny to do? 

A request may be rejected on the following grounds:

  • It is frivolous, defamatory, discriminatory, vexatious, inappropriate or unreasonable
  • It relates to a quasi-judicial matter (for example specific planning, licensing application) or decision that has its own statutory appeals process
  • The matter has already been considered by scrutiny or is being addressed
  • The matter is or has recently been the subject of legal action or being examined by a formal complaints process
  • The person making the request has a clear and substantial personal interest in the matter
  • Requests will be discussed by the committee chair and lead officer who will consider the request and how best it can be dealt with.
  • The chair of the Scrutiny Programme Committee may invite the person making the request or other relevant persons to attend the committee to present their views.
  • The committee will provide full feedback as to its decision to the person who submitted the original request, together with a rationale for the course of action adopted.

Scrutiny Reviews: Calls for evidence

Please read our general guide for submitting evidence.

All written evidence should be emailed to