MOVERS and shakers came together to discuss how to improve services across Wearside.
The fifth annual Scrutiny Conference, hosted by Sunderland City Council, invited businesses, community organisations and councillors to the event to discuss key issues faced by the city.
These included how to get the public more involved in shaping the future of the area.
Those attending also looked back at the year gone by and issues they have faced such as the problem of illegal money lending, the high cost credit in Sunderland and the potential use of low carbon vehicles.
Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Councillor David Tate said: “The review was a direct result of the national illegal money lending team beginning to work and gather information about activities taking place in the area.
“This can only help to remove unlicensed credit operators from our local communities.”
The keynote speech was given by Mark Edgell, the regional representative of the national Local Government Improvement and Development Agency.
It comes on the back of Sunderland City Council changing the way in which scrutiny operates in the city.
Instead of seven separate Committees, there is now a single Scrutiny Committee supported in its work by six panels of councillors and independent experts.
Coun Tate said: “The new system of Scrutiny that we have introduced will help us all to focus on issues of greatest concern in the city, and look at how to make the most of available resources to address them.
“The annual Scrutiny Conference provides a valuable opportunity to share experiences with others and discuss new approaches to ensure accountability, transparency and involvement processes are focused on delivering more for less.
“The local government landscape is changing fast and this annual event is a useful opportunity for councillors to share experiences of working with partners over the past twelve months and for partners to help identify key issues to review in the next year.”