Agenda item

O&S Draft 2023/24 Work Programme


Executive Summary

This reports aims to assist the Committee in setting its draft Work Programme for the 2023-24 municipal year.


Options considered


Multiple options are presented for consideration by the Committee, as well as allowing options to be raised for consideration during the meeting.



The report seeks to consult Members of the Committee for their input prior to approval.




To review and agree which items should be added to the Overview & Scrutiny Work Programme for the 2023-24 municipal year.


Reasons for recommendations


To make best use of Committee time by agreeing appropriate items of business.

Background papers


O&S Work Programme 2022-23


Wards affected


Cabinet member(s)


Contact Officer

Matt Stembrowicz – Scrutiny Officer


Tel: 01263 516047


Links to key documents:


Corporate Plan:          

The O&S Committee’s Work Programme will seek to scrutinise all relevant aspects of the Corporate Plan & Delivery Plan as and when appropriate.

Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS)        

The Committee will directly scrutinise the MTFS at the appropriate meeting as outlined in the Work Programme.

Council Policies & Strategies

All applicable policies and strategies will be scrutinsed by the Committee as and when they arise or are renewed.


Corporate Governance:


Is this a key decision 


Has the public interest test been applied


Details of any previous decision(s) on this matter




The DSGOS introduced the report and informed Members that whilst the draft work programme contained a number of items, the Corporate Plan was yet to be published and it was expected that further proposals would form additional work for the Committee, to be added in due course. He added that the Committee were required to approve the draft work programme, though noted that it would remain flexible as new projects or decisions appeared and others slipped. It was noted that there were several suggested items that could be added, subject to the Committee’s approval. These included reviewing sewage outflow incidents with Anglian Water, monitoring the Council’s progress to achieving Net Zero, reviewing the implementation of the Planning Service Improvement Plan, ongoing coastal adaption, and a follow-up on the public convenience recommendations. The DSGOS noted that the Committee did have a provision under item 8 of meeting agendas for matters to be raised by Members, as well as other means of launching Scrutiny investigations such as the Councillor Call for Action.


Questions and Discussion


      i.        The Chairman stated that the work transacted by the Committee fell into either regulatory matters, which the Committee was required to undertake, and non-statutory work which was formed of matters relating to the Corporate Plan or other matters of concern to residents. He added that the TOPIC selection criteria was outlined in the report and should be closely adhered to when selecting items for the work programme. It was noted that Members of the public were also entitled to petition the Committee, though a certain number of signatures would be required for the Committee to debate the issue.


     ii.        The Chairman noted that if a point was reached where the Work Programme was at capacity, then Task & Finish Groups or other Sub-Committees could be established to undertake specific tasks in more detail than would be possible at the Committee level.


    iii.        Cllr L Vickers stated that she was surprised that accounts had not been signed-off over the past two years, and suggested that without verified accounts it would be difficult to review finance reports in good faith. She added that she would like some assurance from officers that the accounts would be brought up to date as soon as possible so that Councillors could be confident that they were making recommendations or taking decisions on a secure financial footing. The DFR replied that the matter had been discussed at GRAC, with the reasons for the delays both internal and external explained. She added that there was now consensus on when the accounts would be signed-off and a timeline would be prepared for consideration by Members. It was noted that there was only one outstanding item on the 2020-21 accounts, and it was expected that the would be signed-off by the end of the week. The DFR stated that the 2021-22 accounts would be audited in August, or sooner if possible, whilst the 2022-23 accounts would be completed once the previous year’s accounts were complete, hopefully by December. She added that she shared Members’ concerns regarding the accounts and she was confident that they would be caught up within the 23-24 financial year.


   iv.        The Chairman asked whether it was correct to say that unaudited accounts had been published. The CE replied that unaudited accounts had been completed for 20-21 and 21-22, though the 22-23 accounts were yet to be completed as the deadline had recently returned to May from July, which had presented challenges for many Councils following delays with the external audit process. He added that since their appointment in November 22, the new S151 had reviewed capacity of the Finance Team and was in the process of recruiting to additional posts.


     v.        Cllr J Toye noted that during the GRAC meeting, officers had promised to provide a chart that would outline the timeline and process for catching-up with the Council’s audited accounts by the end of the year.


   vi.        Cllr T Adams stated that most journals had discussed delays with the auditing of local government accounts and the various measures that may be required to clear the current backlog, and encouraged Members to review this information.


  vii.        Cllr V Holliday asked whether approving the work programme would include the additional items listed, as she felt they were particularly important. The DSGOS replied that if there was no dissent amongst the Committee, then he would look to add the additional items, once approved. Cllr V Holliday suggested that access to dental treatment may be a further topic of concern for the Committee, given the issues in securing NHS treatment. Cllr L Vickers seconded the proposal to add access to NHS dentistry to the work programme. The DSGOS suggested that initially this matter may be debated and referred to NHOSC in the first instance, as was the case with monitoring ambulance response times.


 viii.        The draft work programme was proposed by Cllr P Fisher and seconded by Cllr S Penfold.




1.    To agree the draft Work Programme with the addition of dental service provision in North Norfolk.


Supporting documents: