Practice Guide 5: Responsibilities of statutory officers
In England, the Local Democracy, Economic Development andConstruction Act 2009 introduced a new statutory position of “scrutiny officer” –an officer of the council with responsibility for promoting the role of overview and scrutiny, supporting overview and scrutiny committees, and providing advice to officers and members about overview and scrutiny committees.
The law relating to this officer post now sits at s9FB of the Local Government Act 2000 (having been incorporated into that Act by the Localism Act 2011). In Wales, the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 obliges councils to appoint a Head of Democratic Services, with a broadly similar role. Councils in both England and Wales are also required to designate a person as a Monitoring Officer. This person is responsible for ensuring that the council operates within the law.
This guide explores the role of each of these officers and explains how they should work together to support the scrutiny function.