Scrutiny at Devon County Council

Scrutiny is a part of the Council’s democratic structure led by non-executive councillors. It works to the common aim of improving services for the local community and is involved in:

  • policy review and development – helping to shape the way public services are delivered
  • scrutinising decisions – is the right action being taken? Are services working effectively?
  • external scrutiny – examining services that impact upon the local community

Scrutiny does not make decisions; it uses evidence to make recommendations to the Cabinet to request change.

Scrutiny committees

We have three scrutiny committees that independently monitor how the Council goes about its business and the decisions it makes.

As well as scrutinising the Council’s own services, scrutiny committees have the power to look into the provision of health services and issues which affect the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of the county.

Devon County Council also hosts the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership Joint Scrutiny Committee for the HotSW area.

How scrutiny works

Read our guide to scrutiny.

Or watch one of our short films:

‘Scrutiny: An Introduction’ has been produced to provide new councillors, staff, partners and members of the public alike with a three-minute overview of the Council’s scrutiny function.

‘Good Scrutiny – What does it look like?’ is a brief ‘best practice’ guide for scrutiny councillors and stakeholders.

How to get involved

Members of the public can attend any scrutiny committee meeting or watch the live webcast.

Any resident (of the administrative county) of Devon may speak on any substantive matter listed on the agenda of any scrutiny committee (other than matters for information or administrative business). You can find out what will be on the agenda of a scrutiny committee and details of whom to contact to register to speak on our Committees page.

You can make a suggestion that scrutiny looks at a particular issue (bear in mind that scrutiny looks at policy and has no power to resolve individual complaints) or contribute evidence, either written or in person, to one of our task groups or spotlight reviews. For more information about how Scrutiny works and what it means to be a witness, please see our Overview and Scrutiny Guide for witnesses.

Please email

Creating Impact: Scrutiny Symposium 2018

In September 2018, Devon’s Scrutiny Team held an event to celebrate 20 years of Scrutiny activity at Devon County Council. The Symposium welcomed over 70 Scrutiny Councillors, officers and NHS colleagues from across the South West and further afield to discuss how to create a greater impact through Scrutiny.  Delegates heard from a range of high profile speakers and contributors including Dr Sarah Wollaston MP and representatives from the Centre for Public Scrutiny, UK Parliament and INLOGOV.

The key messages from the Symposium have been summarised into a short report and accompanying film, available below:

You can also watch the key addresses from the event:

Our publications and further details