Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Arts Leisure & Culture Select Committee Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 24th July, 2013
Time:
1.30pm
Place:
Jim Cooke Suite, Stockton Central Library, Church Road, Stockton-on-Tees TS18 1TU
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell (Chair); Cllr Carol Clark, Cllr Nigel Cooke, Cllr Gillian Corr, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Alan Lewis, Cllr Andrew Sherris and Cllr Mick Womphrey.
Officers:
J Trainer, M Jones, P K Bell (LD); S Bowman (PH); K Fulton (R).
In Attendance:
S Crossley (Child Poverty Commission).
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Ray McCall.
Item Description Decision
Public
ALC
17/13
COMMITTEE BRIEFING
Members prepared their approach to the meeting.
ALC
18/13
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
The evacuation procedure was noted.
ALC
19/13
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no interests declared.
ALC
20/13
MINUTES FROM THE MEETING WHICH WAS HELD ON THE 1ST MAY 2013.
The minutes of the meeting held on 1st May 2013 were signed by the Chair as correct record.
ALC
21/13
DRAFT MINUTES FROM THE MEETING WHICH WAS HELD ON THE 5TH JUNE 2013
AGREED that the minutes be approved.
ALC
22/13
SCRUTINY REVIEW OF CHILD POVERTY
AGREED that the presentations be received.
ALC
23/13
WORK PROGRAMME
Agreed that the Scope and Project Plan for the Review of Child Poverty be approved.
ALC
24/13
CHAIR'S UPDATE
There was no Chairs update.
1.30 pm - 3.30 pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
ALC
21/13
Consideration was given to the draft minutes of the meeting held on 5th June 2013.
ALC
22/13
Sarah Bowman (Consultant in Public Health) was in attendance at the meeting and gave Members an introductory presentation on Child Poverty. The presentation covered the following key areas:-

* Levels of Child Poverty in the North East
* Marmot Review findings regarding the effects of inequality on School Readiness and obesity
* Stockton Child Health Profile 2013, showing Stockton had higher levels of child poverty, childhood obesity, and hospital admissions than the national average
* Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy and Delivery Plan
* Early Intervention Strategy
* Big Lottery Fund bid for an initiative, Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start, to improve cognitive devvelopment, speech and language, and nutrition over 8-10 years
* Children and Young People Health and Wellbeing Group
* Work being carried out to address inequalities across the Tees Valley

Members were then given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments on the presentation as follows:-

*It was questioned whether there had been any outcomes from the Early Intervention Strategy. It was noted that feedback showed this was an effective package of support, however work needed to be done to ensure a cohesive package of support was in place. Services needed to be better co-ordinated and Stockton needed to look at where families needed suppprt most.
*The number of differing partners working with families was raised, and members asked how it was ensured that professionals identified those suffering or at risk of poverty. It was advised that staff training was needed, as well as holistic assessment when working with families.
* Tracking of the progress of children and families that had received help or intervention was discussed. Officers noted the package of support given to families needed to be flexible, giving more or less support depending upon need at different times. Once the support was no longer needed there was no procedure for tracking children any further. It was noted that this could be something that the voluntary & community sector could lead on, and a study of a group by Durham University was included as part of the Big Lottery Fund bid, and included in a cohort.

The Business Support and Improvement Manager reported that the Family Poverty Framework signposted to other relevant strategies and work that was on-going and further information on this subject would be brought to the next meeting of the Committee.

Members then received a presentation from Stephen Crossley (Child Poverty Commission) on Child Poverty. The presentation covered the following key areas:-

* Poverty and the Effect it had on Public Health
* The Causes of Povert
* The Consequences of Child Poverty
* Summary of North East Local Authorities Priorities and Approaches
* Maximising Household Income
* Giving Children the Best Start in Life-Healthier Wealthier Children Project in Glasgow

Members were then given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments on the presentation as follows:-

* The low benefit take up rate was discussed and it was noted that not only does the complexity of claiming benefits act as a barrier, but also that there was a stigma attached to claiming that may prevent people taking benefits they were entitled to;
* There were sevveral myths about the causes of poverty but the evidence has been consistent over the years - that the main cause was low income rather than behavioural causes;
* The minimum wage and living wage was discussed. Stephen Crossley reported that while the Government hadn't implemented a national living wage for its employees, it may be possible for Councils to achieve it within their budgets;
* It was suggested that school dinners and breakfast clubs should be free for everyone, but budget constraints did not allow for this. The pupil premium might make schools more pro-activve in ensuring pupils receive free school meals (fsm). Poverty proofing the school day was discussed and it was noted how this could be difficult to implement as many schools were now academies, outside of Local Authority control;
* The Committee asked if there were any examples of best practice to be acquired from any other Councils? The Early Intervention in Neighbourhoods approach at Sunderland Council and an 'opt-out' of fsm, the Healthier Wealthier Children Project in Glasgow, Newcastle's Childrens Rights scheme, and Thrive in Thornaby, were all examples of good practice to be drawn upon.

ALC
23/13
Consideration was given to the Scope and Project Plan for the Review of Child Poverty.

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