Scrutiny and decision-making

The Council takes lots of decisions every day about how to provide public services and spend money. These decisions are taken by the cabinet, made up of the Mayor, cabinet members and 2 mayoral advisors.

To make sure these decisions are taken fairly, that local people get a say on how policies are produced, and that services are provided in the best possible way, many of the councillors sit on scrutiny commissions. In Hackney we have 4 scrutiny commissions and an overarching scrutiny panel.


Scrutiny commissions and scrutiny panel

Look at each commission’s page to see what they are working on at the moment or see previous reviews to see reviews that have been completed. You can also view our latest annual report which summarises the work of all the different commissions in the last year.

Disbanded scrutiny commissions

Following a review of Hackney’s scrutiny function, the 2 commissions below were disbanded at the end of 2016/17. Issues falling within their remits have transferred to other commissions and the scrutiny panel. You can use the links below to explore the historical work completed by the commissions.

How do the reviews work?

Every year around June, each commission picks one or two topics they want to carry out review. They then decide who they want to talk to, what sort of information is needed and the timelines to get it all done.

The commissions talk to the people who use the services they are reviewing, and the organisations that represent them. This is how we get the most honest picture of how the council and our partners is doing.

The commission councillors and support officers then look at that service’s performance, find out who in the country does it better and looks for improvements that can be made in Hackney.

Occasionally the commissions complete one-off investigations in addition to those planned at the beginning of the year. Details of these can be found towards the bottom of the web pages for the individual commissions.

Scrutiny Commissions actively welcome involvement of the public and seek the views of members of the public on topics that are under review.

Submit evidence to a review

Scrutiny reviews rely on contributions from residents and local organisations as much as the evidence we receive from council services. If you are involved in an organisation or service that you think relates to a current review, you can suggest that the commission visit and see how you operate. Most scrutiny reviews involve site visits.

Suggest future topics

Each year we encourage local residents to submit suggestions for the scrutiny work programme. This helps to guide decision making about what to include on our work programme and we encourage you to get involved.

However, we are happy to take suggestions throughout the year – we’ll make sure they’re raised when the discussion are held about the next round of reviews (usually in May). You can contact us or complete the form below:

Attend a meeting

Please feel free to attend one of the 8 meetings commissions hold each year. These usually take place at 7pm in Hackney Town Hall, but occasionally these are held in locations which relate to the topics on discussion. Members of the public are often able to ask questions during these meetings, but this is at the discretion of the chair and depends on the agenda.

Cabinet question time sessions

Cabinet question time sessions offer an opportunity for cross-party groups of councillors to question the Mayor and cabinet about the Council services which they hold responsibility for.

Question time sessions for the Mayor are held at the scrutiny panel. The commission at which each cabinet member appears is determined by their areas of responsibility and which commission’s remit these are relevant to. Sometimes the responsibilities of a cabinet member are relevant to more than one commission. In these cases commissions decide on whether to hold the sessions as joint items or – depending on which issues are topical – which commission the cabinet member will attend for single sessions.

Please refer to the work programmes on commissions’ agendas for the dates of sessions.

Overview and Scrutiny and the law

Information about the law relating to overview and scrutiny can be found in the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny’s publication pulling it all together, and also on Wikipedia.

Other powers to influence decision making

Overview and Scrutiny has other powers that councillors can use to influence decision-making locally – call-ins, councillor call for action and calling to account.

Page updated on: 3 April 2023

Overview and Scrutiny


2nd Floor
Hackney Town Hall
Mare Street
E8 1EA


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