Agenda item

Proposed changes for health scrutiny



Update on proposals for scrutiny of issues at a BOB-wide level (Bucks, Oxon, Berks West).



The Chairman summarised the report.  The process had taken much longer than expected but he felt that the concerns raised had now been allayed.  The Centre for Public Scrutiny’s advice was sought on best practice.  The individual councils retained the right of referral on an issue even if BOB HOSC decided not to refer it.


It was proposed to develop a toolkit to decide what issues might go to BOB level.  Meeting dates would be in set in diaries in advance but if no issues met the test then there would be no meeting.


The membership split was proposed to be 7 Oxfordshire and 6 for Bucks and 6 for the Berkshire authorities.  The Terms of Reference were to go before Full Council on 8 December and to Bucks’ full council on 9 December.  The Berkshire authorities will also go through that process.


Councillor Jane Hanna stated that she was particularly concerned about the 80:20 expected division of issues.  She felt that there was still a lot unknown as to how this was going to work.  She believed that once you gave away power it was very difficult to get it back.  She was opposed to passing this proposal while the toolkit was still unknown and when the voice of residents had still not been heard.


Councillor Alison Rooke thanked the Chairman and officers for their work on this.  Some problems had been addressed in part but she noted that 22 questions asked by the Committee in the original engagement exercise had not been answered and there had been no feedback on the public consultation.  She did not find it acceptable that the toolkit, which was key, would simply be presented to the Committee without any input from it.


Dr Alan Cohen expressed concern that a single Healthwatch representative was not sufficient and asked if there was some way of providing them with more influence.


The Chairman responded that he did not see this as giving power away but providing an opportunity for scrutiny of BOB-wide issues.  Full Council could withdraw this delegation of powers to BOB HOSC at any time.  He clarified that the toolkit needed to be approved by the local HOSCs but did not need to go before the Full Councils and that nothing could go to BOB HOSC until the toolkit had been approved.


The Chairman proposed an amendment to paragraph 17 on the question of a representative for Healthwatch.  The first sentence would be amended to “The JHOSC shall appoint two co-opted members to the committee.”  A footnote would be added to explain how this will work:


“There is provision for two co-opted members on the BOB HOSC. One of these places will be offered to Healthwatch to represent patients and the public; it will be for Healthwatch across the BOB geography to discuss and determine whether this is the most effective way to have patient and public views feeding into the committee. If co-opted membership is deemed not

to be the most appropriate role for Healthwatch; a standing item on BOB HOSC agendas will be created to allow for Healthwatch to report patient and public views across the ICS.  Vacant co-opted seats on the committee will be advertised and appointed to by the BOB HOSC committee as necessary.”


Glenn Watson, Principal Governance Officer, clarified that the question of host authority would be a matter for negotiation.  Some authorities may not want to host due to the resources that would need to be committed.  This will be for an initial period of two years and the host role would then rotate to another authority.


It was AGREED to use the terms “Chair” and “Vice-Chair” throughout in place of “Chairman” and “Vice-Chairman”.


It was AGREED that the Committee would be happy for Oxfordshire to host the joint HOSC for the initial period.


The proposed amendment to the Terms of Reference was passed by 9 votes to 2 against.


The recommendations as amended were passed by 7 votes to 4 against.




a)           SUPPORT the draft Terms of Reference for a health scrutiny committee for health system-wide issues across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB).


b)           RECOMMEND that the Terms of Reference be discussed and ratified at Full Council.


Supporting documents: