New statutory scrutiny arrangements have been launched to oversee the new responsibilities of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Mayor.
Under new legislation, the Tees Valley’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee has enhanced powers to oversee decision-making and call-in decisions for scrutiny and review.
The Committee brings together three councillors from each of the five local authorities, with a political balance to reflect the parties’ representation within each council.
Councillor Norma Stephenson OBE (Labour) was elected as Scrutiny Chair, with Councillor Ian Haszeldine (Labour) as Vice-Chair. Under the legislation these roles have to be carried out by councillors from a different political party from the Mayor, Ben Houchen (Conservative). Mrs Stephenson takes over from Councillor Phil Dennis (Conservative) who chaired the Scrutiny Committee in its first year, up to the point the new powers took effect.
Commenting on her appointment, Norma Stephenson said: “I am pleased to have been appointed as Chair of the Tees Valley’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee. It’s vital that the new devolved responsibilities and the Tees Valley Mayor are held to account through open and democratic checks and balances. The Committee now has important legal powers to oversee and challenge decisions. As Chair I will ensure the new powers are used to deliver the best outcomes for the people of the Tees Valley.”
At its meeting in Middlesbrough, the Committee reviewed housing policies across the Tees Valley focusing on the benefits of enhanced cooperation to secure more high quality housing and strengthen communities across the area. They also agreed to work together to coordinate Scrutiny work across the Tees Valley on the implications of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.