Getting involved in decision-making

You can raise issues and get involved in local decision-making in a variety of ways, not just by voting in elections.


Scrutiny is a way of holding public service providers in Lambeth to account and of improving public services in the area.

Working with residents and Council staff, scrutiny Councillors have the following duties:

  • monitoring, questioning and investigating the performance of the Council's Cabinet, senior officers and council services;
  • developing, reviewing and making recommendations for the improvement of policy and services;
  • holding the Cabinet and officers to account in public; and,
  • scrutinising other public service providers’ work and its impact on the local community.

Effective scrutiny increases accountability, ensures transparency of decision-making, contributes to service improvement and acts as a 'check and balance' on decision-makers.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Overview and Scrutiny Committee is the Council’s single overarching scrutiny committee. The committee is responsible for scrutinising the whole range of the Council’s functions and responsibilities, as well as other public service providers’ work and its impact on the local community. The committee holds the statutory responsibilities for health scrutiny and for crime and disorder scrutiny.

Scrutiny commissions

Throughout the year the Overview and Scrutiny Committee manages areas for in-depth scrutiny investigation and review. For each of these topics an individual 'commission' with between three and five non-Cabinet Councillors is set up.

Commissions are a very useful part of the scrutiny process allowing for in-depth investigation of a particular issue and allowing improvements to be identified and, ultimately, real changes to be made in the way that services are run.

How a commission works

A commission will start by identifying its terms of reference and planning a programme of meetings, and will seek to hear from as wide a range of people as possible. This will often include representatives of interest groups, voluntary organisations, other Councils, experts in the field and, most importantly, service users.

When the commission feels that they have gathered sufficient evidence they will put together a report of their findings and make recommendations for improvements in the area they have investigated.

This report will be considered by the Cabinet together with an action plan prepared by the relevant department detailing how recommendations of the commission will be implemented. The relevant scrutiny committee will then monitor the implementation of the agreed recommendations.

If there is an issue, policy, or service area which you believe needs reviewing in this way, please bring this to the attention of the Scrutiny Team at:

Democratic Services
Legal and Governance
London Borough of Lambeth

Lambeth Town Hall
Brixton Hill
Telephone: 020 7926 2170