Agenda item

Development of OSC Work Programmes for 2021-2022

Report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance (attached)


The Committee received a report setting out the current position in relation to this OSC’s work programme for 2020-21 and the proposed indicative approach to developing the OSC work programmes for 2021-22.


OSC Work Programme 2020-21


In light of the ongoing uncertainties arising in relation to the Covid -19 pandemic, along with the pressures on services that has brought and taking account of the   Council’s approach to the development of a new performance framework, consultation had taken place with the OSC Chairs and  a more flexible approach to scrutiny had been adopted for this municipal year.


This approach has recognised the demands on services and the Council as a whole but, at the same time, ensured that we are meeting our statutory obligations to provide an effective scrutiny function and scrutiny concentrates on delivering work that is of genuine value and relevance to the work of the wider Council.


It was noted that since the start of the restrictions introduced in response to the pandemic, Gateshead’s four main OSCs had met once during September 2020 to receive a progress update on the impact of the Covid -19 pandemic and an update on end of year performance for 2019-20 and it was anticipated that, given the ongoing position in relation to the pandemic, the main focus of OSC meetings for the remainder of this municipal year would be on the Covid-19 pandemic and the impacts of that.


As a result, it was proposed that outstanding issues from the 2019-20 work programmes should not be progressed at this time and the work of this OSC was refocused on the current Covid-19 related priorities and the impacts of that alongside a couple of other  priority issues for the Council / partners which are already being progressed elsewhere so should not place any additional burdens on service areas (

This in turn has meant a reduced programme of meetings with the four main OSCs meeting next in March 2021 as per the dates set out in the calendar of meetings.


Development of 2021-22 Work Programme


At this stage, given all of the issues outlined above; the potential timing of any government settlements for local authorities impacting the Council’s budget process and the strong possibility that OSC meetings will continue to need to be held remotely for some time to come, it was considered that the approach to developing the OSC work programmes for 2021-22 was likely to have to be similarly flexible and any proposals would need to be indicative.


With this in mind, it was provisionally proposed that initial consultation with OSC Chairs and other elected members and officers on the proposed priority issues for the new work programmes for 2021-22 commences in February 2021.


This would align with the Council’s budget process. It was also hoped that by then the situation in relation to the Covid 19 pandemic would have moved on sufficiently to allow for greater clarity on the potential nature and extent of scrutiny during 2021-22 ( ie number of meetings/ issues to be scrutinised) and the potential priority issues scrutiny could progress on behalf of the Council and add value. Clearly, however, a continued focus on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in some form or another would be likely to be a major area of focus for the OSCs going forwards.


It was then proposed that discussions take place with members of OSCs at their meetings in March 2021 on emerging issues for the work programmes and relevant linkages with the new performance management framework.


Consultation would then take place with key partners on the emerging themes with a view to feedback being shared with the OSCs’ at the OSCs’ first meeting of the new 2021 -2022 municipal year and the OSCs new work programmes being agreed.




That the information be noted



The Committee noted the position in relation to the OSC’s

work programme for 2020-21



The Committee supported the indicative approach to

delivering the OSC work programme for 2021-22


Supporting documents: