Scrutiny is the process by which the council’s decisions and work are held to account and has three main functions:

  • To act as a check and balance on the cabinet, holding them to account for the decisions taken
  • To review and help to develop council policies to ensure that they have a positive impact on the people of Waltham Forest
  • To review council services to ensure they are achieving customer satisfaction and value for money and ensuring standards are met.

Who carries out scrutiny?

Scrutiny is carried out by committees of councillors who are not member of the cabinet or non-executive members.

Scrutiny committees

In Waltham Forest, this work is carried out by themed scrutiny committees, along with the joint Outer North East London (ONEL) joint health scrutiny committee. Non-executive councillors have been appointed to each of these committees. The committees hold a series of meetings each year, where they examine a range of issues related to the committee’s thematic area. Each committee publishes at least one report each year which outlines key findings in a particular policy area and makes recommendations for consideration by cabinet (and in some cases other stakeholders).

Scrutiny committees may invite people with particular expertise or local knowledge to sit on the committee as non-voting members or advisers. These are known as co-opted members.

Scrutiny witnesses

Scrutiny committees can ask for a witness to attend meetings to give evidence to the committee on specific issues. Witnesses are people or representatives from organisations whose expertise, experience or opinion is relevant to a particular issue being scrutinised.

Scrutiny committee meetings and reports

The list contains membership, contact details, meeting agenda for current and future committee meetings, decisions and minutes from previous meetings, attendance statistics and declarations of interest for each councillor involved for each committee. 

Cabinet decisions on overview and scrutiny recommendations are reported in the cabinet minutes


How to get involved in scrutiny

All scrutiny committee meetings are open to the public.

As a member of the public you can:

  • speak for up to three minutes on an agenda item
  • suggest matters for scrutiny 
  • give oral or written evidence to the scrutiny committee

From this process reports and recommendations may be made to a cabinet member (portfolio holder), the cabinet or to the full council.

These recommendations aren’t binding but must be formally considered by the cabinet member, cabinet or council and the decision recorded.

Completed themed review reports

Growth Scrutiny Communities Scrutiny Committee Themed Review 2021 to 2022: Council Support for Job Growth

Health Scrutiny Communities Scrutiny Committee Themed Review 2021 to 2022: Primary Care

Housing Scrutiny Communities Scrutiny Committee Themed Review 2021 to 2022: Residents Engagement

Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Communities Scrutiny Committee Themed Review 2021 to 2022: Climate Emergency Response

Communities Scrutiny Committee Themed Review 2018/19: Public health approach to reducing violent crime

Growth Scrutiny Committee Themed Review 2018/19: Smart Cities 

Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee Themed Review 2018/19: Waltham Forest’s Emergency Planning Arrangements

Children and Families Scrutiny Committee Themed Review 2018/19: Parenting Support

Contact Democratic Services


Waltham Forest Town Hall

Forest Road
E17 4JF