Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Cabinet Minutes

Date:
Thursday, 20th December, 2007
Time:
04.30 p.m.
Place:
Lecture Hall, Stockton Central Library, The Square, Stockton on Tees
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Mrs Jennie Beaumont, Cllr Robert Cook, Cllr Alex Cunningham, Cllr Terry Laing, Cllr Ken Lupton, Cllr Steve Nelson, Cllr Mrs Mary Womphrey
Officers:
G. Garlick (CE); J. Danks (R); N. Schneider, C. Straughan, R. Poundford (DNS); A. Baxter,R. Hill, S. McEneany (CESC);H. Dean, E. Chesworth (ACE); M. Waggott, S. Johnson, G. Birtle, D. Ladd, M. Henderson (LD)
In Attendance:
Cllr Mrs Ann Cains, Cllr Dick Cains, Cllr Eileen Craggs, Cllr Tina Large, Cllr Mrs Alison Trainer, Cllr Mrs Maureen Rigg and Cllr Steve Walmsley
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Ann McCoy
Item Description Decision
Public
CAB
100/07
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
CAB
101/07
MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS HELD ON 25TH OCTOBER 2007 AND 22ND NOVEMBER 2007 - FOR SIGNATURE
 
CAB
102/07
REVIEW OF PARKVIEW RESIDENTIAL CARE HOME
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070128
RESOLVED that

1. a period of consultation commence about the future service provision at Parkview with service users, families, carers, staff and other relevant stakeholders reporting back with recommendations to Cabinet meeting in March 2008.

2. the Adult Services and Health Select Committee be requested to take forward a time limited review to determine:-

• The national and local policy framework around services for older people;

• The factual issues around Parkview Care Home focusing particularly on the building, occupancy, care standards, financial information and staffing.

the review to seek information, to analyse the received information and to feedback the results of its findings to Cabinet in March 2008 to inform future decision-making.
CAB
103/07
REPORT OF REGENERATION AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE - REVIEW OF EMPLOYABILITY
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070129
RESOLVED that

1. the Council write to Frank Cook and Dari Taylor, as Members of Parliament representing Stockton-on-Tees, who would be able to highlight problems examined during this review surrounding the benefits and the tax credits systems and funding for employability related initiatives with the relevant Ministers.

2. the Learning and Skills Council include a focus on retention and engagement within the new strategy for 14-19 year olds.

3. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and the Learning and Skills Council continue to promote and develop youth employment and apprenticeships in Stockton Borough.

4. the Chair of the Regeneration and Transport Select Committee offer to present the findings and recommendations of this report to the Tees Valley Unlimited Employment and Skills Board and Stockton Employability Consortium.

5. work with existing Incapacity Benefit claimants be considered by the Council and its partners as a priority for inclusion in any future employability related funding.

6. the Council sign a Jobs Pledge and enter a Local Employment Partnership, and continue to support the Corporate Alliance strategy for ex-offenders.

7. the Council market itself more specifically as an employer of choice to disadvantaged and under-represented groups in Stockton. This should be informed by an investigation into practice in other local authorities, including practice considered by the Select Committee in this review.

8. the Council, in consultation with the Trade Unions, explore implementing the ‘Slivers of Time' initiative while funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government is available.

9. Targeted Recruitment and Training be embedded in Council corporate policy on public sector contracts, planning and development agreements wherever possible and practicable.

10. the Council and its partners continue to seek to maximise funding for employability initiatives.

11. the Council consider an investigation of the introduction of the new Supplementary Business Rate in Stockton as this may offer opportunities for employability related activity to be included as part of it.

12. the Committee recommends that Stockton Employability Consortium promote itself and its work to all relevant stakeholders as soon as is practicable.

13. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Human Resources and service groups such as Direct Services be invited to attend meetings of Stockton Employability Consortium as necessary and appropriate.

14. Stockton Employability Consortium be encouraged to consider the enhancement of in-work support for people considered the ‘hardest to help' and increase the awareness amongst employers of the organisations who currently offer this support.

15. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council give consideration to job carving as a potential way to assist more people with disabilities into employment. This should also be promoted through Renaissance.

16. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and its partners consider strengthening support for social enterprise through its procurement practices.
CAB
104/07
LOCAL AUTHORITY REPRESENTATIVES ON SCHOOL GOVERNING BODIES
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070130
RESOLVED that the following appointment be made to the vacant Governorships, subject to successful List 99 check and Personal Disclosure:-

All Saints CE Secondary School - Cllr K Dixon

Conyers School - Mr P. Addison
CAB
105/07
2007 ANNUAL PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT OF SERVICES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070131
RESOLVED that:-

1. the report and letter be received and the excellent outcome of the 2007 annual performance assessment be noted.

2. Cabinet formally congratulate the Corporate Director of Children, Education and Social Care and her staff for what was an outstanding result.
CAB
106/07
STRATEGY FOR OLDER PEOPLE
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070132
RESOLVED that the Older People Strategy be approved.
CAB
107/07
REPORT OF 2006-07 ANNUAL PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT OF ADULT SOCIAL CARE SERVICES
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070133
RESOLVED that the letter and report be received and the outcome of the 2007 annual performance assessment be noted.
CAB
108/07
THE INTEGRATION OF ADULT SERVICES ACROSS SBC AND NTPCT
PHASE 1 CONSULTATION FEEDBACK

 
Cabinet Decision Record D070134
RESOLVED that the project for Adult Integrated Service Areas proceeds as proposed in recruiting 5 ISA managers through a ring fence process and creating 4 Integrated Service Areas and 1 Specialist Service Area (borough wide) across Stockton.
CAB
109/07
MINUTES OF VARIOUS BODIES
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070135
RESOLVED that the minutes of the following meetings, as appended, be received/approved, as appropriate:-

Tees Valley Unlimited Leadership Board 12 September 2007
Tees Valley Living 16 October 2007
Western Area Partnership 22 October 2007
Eastern Area Partnership 29 October 2007
The Billingham Partnership 5 November 2007
CAB
110/07
ALTERATIONS TO THE SCHEME OF DELEGATION AND PLANNING COMMITTEE SITE VISITS
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070136
RECOMMENDED to Council that

1. the revised scheme of delegation, signing off procedure and site visits protocol be approved subject to the following amendments, that take into consideration comments of the Planning Committee:-

a) The number of objections which trigger an application to committee for consideration to remain at 5.

b) The requirement in the current scheme for there to be a matter of ‘fundamental principle or precedent' to be identified to allow an application to be referred to Planning Committee be amended to include "an issue of fundamental principle shall be taken to involve the interpretation of a matter of policy which could undermine the purpose and objectives of the Local Plan or Local Development Framework, and where a member can demonstrate that the proposal would have such a prejudicial impact or effect on the area or Borough or its residents as to warrant determination by Planning Committee"

2. The Executive Scrutiny Committee and appropriate Select Committee be requested to consider the inclusion of a review of the new scheme of delegation, one year after its implementation, within the Scrutiny Work Programme.
CAB
111/07
PLANNING OBLIGATIONS SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING DOCUMENT
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070137
RECOMMENDED to Council that:-

1. the report be noted.

2. the Corporate Director of Development and Neighborhood Services be delegated to make minor amendments to the contents of the document prior to its adoption.

3. the Planning Obligations SPD and its associated sustainability appraisal be adopted, subject to any amendments from internal consultees.
Confidential
CAB
112/07
SOUTHERN GATEWAY - CHANDLERS WHARF SITE ASSEMBLY
 
Cabinet Decision Record D070138
  • Report
RECOMMENDED to Council that

1. the utilisation of funds from revenue reserves, as detailed in the report, in 2007/2008 to fund site and property acquisitions as part of 2007/2008 Capital Programme be approved.

2. the Corporate Director of Development and Neighbourhood Services and the Corporate Director of Resources in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport be authorised to agree appropriate detailed terms in respect of the transaction outlined in this report and to approve all necessary action, including the entering into of all necessary agreements, to achieve the desired outcome.
4.30pm/5.50pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
CAB
100/07
Councillor Cunningham declared a personal non-prejudicial interest in item 5 entitled Review of Employability and Item 14 entitled 'Southern Gateway - Chandlers Wharf Site Assembly' as he was a member of the Regional Development Agency Board.
CAB
101/07
The minutes of the meetings held on 25th October 2007 and 22nd November 2007 were signed by the Chairnman as a correct record.
CAB
102/07
Cabinet considered a report that set out the proposal to commence a consultation exercise on the future service provision of Parkview Residential Care Home in Thornaby, given National Guidance and the Council's local policy.

Members noted that national policy highlighted that, for older people's care, the emphasis was to extend choice and offer opportunities, where possible, for people to remain in their own home rather than enter permanent residential care. This had led to the development of new service models which aimed to enable older people to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. These included specialist domiciliary care, respite care, extra care housing schemes and work on supported tenancies under the Supporting People programme. In addition, the focus on long term conditions aimed to ensure care was provided closer to home with the necessary health and social care support.

In Stockton the Council had reviewed its services for older people in 1999 under "Homes for Life" - a strategy to promote the independence of older people in Stockton on Tees which set out a vision for developing a range of community based resources to maintain people in their own homes. A copy of the relevant Cabinet report was provided to Members.

Within this strategy a review of residential provision was undertaken and resulted in four Council run residential homes being closed throughout 2000 and 2002. A range of alternative services, to enable people to live in their own homes and communities for as long as possible, had since been developed e.g. intermediate home care and telecare. Extra care housing had also been established for people who required care but wanted to maintain their independence.

Two Council establishments remained, Rosedale House and Parkview. Rosedale House had been reviewed and subsequently developed respite care, rehabilitation and recuperation services in partnership with the North Tees Primary Care Trust (PCT). It no longer offered admissions to permanent 24hour residential care. Further developments in respect of intermediate care beds were subject to discussion with NHS colleagues.

Cabinet was provided with details of current provision across the Borough and noted that where individual older people required permanent residential or nursing care, the development of the local market had meant the expansion of the independent sector.

Members were reminded that Stockton had an ageing population and by 2025 the number of people aged 65+ was projected to increase by 46% compared to 2008. The greatest increase would be in the 85+ age group where the numbers were projected to increase over the same time period by 82% . This would result in increased demand for all forms of care, particularly services in the community and nursing care rather than residential care. The greatest pressure would be on nursing care as people with less complex needs should be supported to live at home for as long as possible.

Provision in Thornaby had increased significantly since 2002, with Mandale House and Ingleby changing registration to all residential places, plus Parkside Court (extra care). This had resulted in 107 additional residential beds and 50 units of extra care. In addition a range of new services were now available to help support people in the community, eg
• Domiciliary care provision
• Development of Direct Payments and Individual Budgets
• Expansion of Extra Care
• Respite services
• Supporting People services providing housing based support
• Community Alarm services
• Telecare developments
• Community services such as rapid response and intermediate care

Members were informed that Parkview was the remaining Council owned Older People's establishment that offered admissions into permanent 24hour residential care. It provided a total of 32 places set out across 3 independent units: -

• Littleboy First floor (11 beds). This unit provided short break respite services to older people and their carers. Average stay was two weeks. Clients living in the Thornaby area were also offered discharge support on this unit.

• Westbury First floor (10 beds). This unit provided permanent care to elderly frail clients.

• Bonlea Ground floor (11 beds). This unit provided permanent care to older people who had mental health problems.

Cabinet noted that the building was over 50 years old and required significant investment to bring it up to modern standards.

National minimum standards for permanent residential care establishments specified minimum room sizes and private facilities to promote and ensure peoples dignity. Significant capital funding would be required to bring Parkview up to standard and one likely impact would be to reduce the capacity in the current building by a projected one-third of current beds. This would have a significant impact on the unit costs of the service unless the overall size of the building was increased to maintain or increase the bed numbers.

Demand for the services provided by each of these units had proved to be below planned levels and there had been no new permanent admissions to Parkview since 21 April 2007, due to the prolonged failure to attract new permanent residents and the subsequent need to review the service provision.

Due to the low occupancy, one of the units was developed as a respite facility in an attempt to promote Parkview and increase the overall occupancy. In the first 6 months of 2007/08, average usage in terms of the percentage of maximum bed days taken up for each unit was 78% for residential care (15 residents) and 34.3% for respite care services

The unit cost of the service at Parkview was approximately 970 per resident per week based on current levels of occupancy. Details of unit costs across a range of occupancy levels were provided to Members.

Members noted that placements in the independent sector ranged in cost from 353 to 428 per week, depending on the grading of the home and type of care.

It was explained that the building required investment to ensure that it remained suitable for purpose in the short term. The works required included lift/boiler replacement and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) works. These, together with annual maintenance costs, were projected to cost 412,000 within the next five years. In the longer term, the Asset Management Plan projected that substantial additional investment would be required over the following ten years. Estimates, to bring the home up to modern standards would require capital funding of approximately 1.2m, which increased to approximately 2m with maintenance costs over a 15-year projection. Members were provided with further building related costs at an appendix to the report.

It was considered that two options existed for the Council namely:-

• Identify resources to upgrade facilities at Parkview.

• SBC closes the home and resettles the current residents into alternative homes in the locality and reinvest in preventative community based services.

Cabinet considered the report and heard representations from Members of the Council and Members of the public present.

Cabinet received a petition relating to any future plans for Parkview Care Home.
CAB
103/07
Cabinet considered a report of the Regeneration and Transport Select Committee following its review of employability. The review had focussed on three main issues:

Firstly, the Committee was tasked with examining how to improve the overall employment rate, especially for those living in wards with the worst labour market position, and reduce the number of people claiming key government benefits.

The Committee identified problems of the benefits and tax credits system that may discourage people from entering employment. Although these were considered outside the Committee's direct sphere of influence, the Committee wished to highlight them at the appropriate level. The Committee also identified that assisting more people currently claiming Incapacity Benefit into employment should be a priority in measures to reduce the overall number of claimants.

Those with no or low qualifications were also identified as a priority in efforts to improve employment rates. People with no or low qualifications also tended to be concentrated in the wards with the worst labour market position. The Committee, therefore, considered that Stockton's young people should continue to be encouraged and assisted to develop skills and gain qualifications, especially as the Council would soon become one of the bodies responsible for the new 14-19 learning strategy.

The Committee identified that the Council, as one of the largest employers in Stockton, could develop its employment practices in order to target more residents from under-represented groups or from wards with the worst labour market position, and / or claiming key government benefits. The Committee was pleased to note that a great deal of work was currently undertaken by the Council in relation to this, and other developments were currently being made. A series of initiatives from central government and examples of other local authorities' strategies informed the review which could potentially be utilised in Stockton to complement and develop current work.

The Committee also received information on the economic development currently taking place under the Tees Valley City Region initiative. The Committee was pleased to note that employability was considered a key element of the initiative, and the review highlighted the programmes currently available in the Tees Valley and coordinated by its local authorities. The Committee considered that there may be scope to develop this work.

The second key issue of the review was consideration of long term funding post-March 2008. Members noted that the current situation of many of the funding streams, utilised for employability related activity in Stockton, remained unknown. The Committee received information from a range of Voluntary and Community Sector bodies and other groups involved in delivering initiatives through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, the Deprived Area Fund, the European Social Fund, and Single Programme funding and were pleased to note the range of initiatives available and the many beneficial outcomes for Stockton residents. The Committee subsequently considered that the Council should continue to maximise funding for employability wherever possible and highlighted the Supplementary Business Rate as a possibility for future funding or a potential source of other employability related activity.

Finally, the Committee considered how to support those considered the ‘hardest to help' into employment. The new Stockton Employability Consortium (responsible for formulating an Employability Strategy for the Borough) was identified by the Committee as a strategic body that could facilitate greater holistic working amongst the various service groups who are involved in employability. Those considered the ‘hardest to help' often experience multiple barriers to employment, which made work to develop their employability increasingly complex. There was a range of expertise available within the Borough and examples of joined-up working amongst many of the groups in Stockton, which the Committee felt should be developed further.

The Committee also considered that the Council, as a major employer was well placed to inform the work of the Employability Consortium and the development of activity within the Borough designed to assist the ‘hardest to help'. Equally, the Employability Consortium could provide greater information and assistance to Human Resources and service groups within the Council in relation to extending the use of employability initiatives, which were currently available and designed to assist the ‘hardest to help'.

The Committee also identified potential scope for the Council to act not only in terms of its own employment practices, but also influence the employment practices of its partners. For example, where existing or potential good practice had been identified, the Committee considered that there was scope to share this with partners, especially those who comprised Stockton Renaissance, and as part of the Tees Valley City Region initiative. The Council's influence could also be utilised through its contracts, planning and development agreements, and procurement practices. This could all serve to improve the employability of many Stockton residents.

Following consideration by Cabinet an action plan would be submitted to the Select Committee setting out how the approved recommendations would be implemented, detailing officers responsible for action and timescales.
CAB
104/07
Members considered a report relating to Local Authority representatives on School Governing Bodies. It was explained that as a result of the expiry of some Governors' Terms of Office and the Resignation of others, vacancies existed on some Governing Bodies. A list of the Governing Bodies and nominations was presented to Members.

In accordance with the procedure for the appointment of school governors, approved as Minute 84 of the cabinet (11th May 2000), Cabinet was invited to consider the nominations to school Governing Bodies.
CAB
105/07
Cabinet noted that the Annual Performance Assessment (APA) of children's services had been carried out by Ofsted. It was based on a range of evidence, including the review of the Children and Young People's Plan (CYPP), performance indicators, other related service inspections, and briefings from other inspectorates and relevant bodies.

Members were provided with a letter that confirmed the outcome of the assessment for the 2006-07 period.

The graded judgements, detailed as follows, were made on a 4 point scale with Grade 3 being Good and Grade 4 being Outstanding.

Overall effectiveness of children's services: Grade 4
Being Healthy: Grade 3
Staying Safe: Grade 4
Enjoying & Achieving: Grade 3
Making A Positive Contribution: Grade 4
Achieving Economic Wellbeing: Grade 4
Capacity to improve: Grade 4

The top graded scores of 4 for overall effectiveness and for capacity to improve had sustained the same grades achieved in these areas in the 2006 APA. Due to some changes in the performance assessment framework, the 2007 APA included for the first time separate scores for each of the Every Child Matters Outcomes. Members noted that three of the scores had been graded 4, and the other two graded 3. The APA scores contributed to the Comprehensive Performance Assessment of the Council.

The APA report identified many key strengths as well as a small number of areas for development. The report was helpful in supporting the Council's own assessment of its performance and in contributing to the review of strategic plans and service improvement plans, to ensure the necessary actions were in place to build on strengths and respond to the areas for development. The CYPP provided the strategic framework for improvement in services, and included a range of actions already in place to address the areas for development.

The Council's progress in delivery and improvement of services would continue to be monitored through a range of meetings over the year with regional and national agencies. Progress in addressing performance would be reported also through Improvement Clinics.

Members of Cabinet were delighted with the result and formally congratulated the Corporate Director of Children, Education and Social Care and her staff for what was an outstanding result.
CAB
106/07
Cabinet considered a report relating to the development of a strategy for older people.

It was explained that the strategy covered the period from 2007 to 2025, to ensure that longer term changes affecting the population of Stockton, and its older people in particular, were taken into account by those designing and providing services. It was an important document as it set out how the Council wanted to make Stockton one of the best places in the country to live as an older person.

Members noted that the Older People Strategy had focused on 4 key areas of priority:
• Older people would be at the heart of community leadership and community development
• Older people would be an important part of local, welcoming communities that provide a safe, positive environment for people of all ages
• Older people would have real choice about the services they use, and control over how they use them, and services will be accessible equitably by all
• Older people would have opportunities, all the time, to improve their personal well-being.

These issues had been identified from extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders and service users as well as the distillation of national and local work from a range of sources.

As part of the strategy development there had been an opportunity to review the current and future population issues and consider how this would impact upon how services would be delivered. This work had been structured around the Audit Commission's seven dimensions of independence which include:

• Housing and the home,
• Neighbourhoods,
• Social Activities, social networks and keeping busy,
• Getting out and about,
• Income,
• Information, and
• Health and healthy living

Within the Strategy a three year action plan had been developed that would enable Stockton to address the priority areas outlined.
CAB
107/07
Members noted that the Annual Performance Assessment (APA) of social care services for adults was carried out by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI). It was based on a range of evidence, including a self-assessment by the authority, performance indicators, other related service inspections, and routine business meetings between CSCI and the Council.

Members were provided with a letter and report that confirmed the outcome of the annual assessment of performance for the 2006-07 period. The performance ratings of the Council was:

Delivering outcomes: Good
Capacity for improvement: Promising
Performance rating: 2 stars

Due to some changes in the performance assessment framework for 2006-07, the areas of judgement which were graded did not all match with the previous performance framework, although the overall star rating system had been maintained (with 0 stars being the poorest and 3 stars the best). The 2 star performance rating was the same as achieved in 2006. The judgement on delivering outcomes contributed to the Comprehensive Performance Assessment of the Council.

Members noted that the summary of the judgements indicated that services were judged to be good across all of the outcome areas, with the exception of an ‘adequate' rating for ‘Improved quality of life'. Capacity to improve was promising, based on assessment of the two strands of Leadership and Commissioning.

The APA report identified many key strengths as well as key areas for improvement. The report was helpful in supporting the Council's own assessment of its performance and in contributing to the review of strategic plans and service improvement plans, to ensure the necessary actions were in place to build on strengths and respond to areas for improvement. A number of initiatives were already in place aimed at securing further improvements in performance, particularly related to improved quality of life measures.

CSCI would continue to monitor the Council's progress through a programme of meetings between their Business Relationship Manager and senior managers from Adult Social Care Services. Progress in addressing performance would be reported also through quarterly joint Improvement Clinics.
CAB
108/07
Members noted that the aim of the Council and the North Tees Primary Care Trust was the integration of community nursing and adult social care services in Stockton. It was planned to create easily accessed, multi skilled teams to respond quickly and appropriately to a persons needs. The consultation period proposed to staff and stakeholders 4 key themes to integration, and during the consultation events staff & stakeholders were encouraged to express their opinions around these proposals. Members noted the key themes and was provided with a summary of staff and stakeholder comments:-

1. Restructure adult services to develop 4 integrated Service Areas across Stockton

• In general, the proposal for Integrated Adult Services is a positive move because of the potential to improve services for patients/clients and communication between staff. This in turn could lead to a clearer path for a patient / client to follow, improving the quality of that persons journey through the service.
• Concerns that the proposed, continued practice attachment of community nursing (felt to be vital) might not survive in geographical Integrated SAs.

2. That each ISA served by an integrated team of community nursing staff and social care staff

• ISAs could lead to an improved professional skill mix and a great sharing of knowledge, which would be of great benefit to all.
• This must be supported by clearly defined governance arrangements, clear supervision and appraisal arrangements and the appointment of ISA managers that understand the issues of managing across two organisations.

3. That there be a suite of specialist services that would work across all 4 ISAs
4. Each ISA and suite of specialist services be managed by an integrated Services Area manager

• ISAs would lead to an improved skill mix and a great sharing of knowledge that would be of great benefit to all
• Although the creation of ISAs had merit, there was concern that the suitability and availability of buildings / IT systems to support joint working may prove to be a weakness.

Members noted that, in general, the feedback had been positive towards integration though concerns were voiced over the practicalities of co location.
CAB
109/07
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of Area Partnership Boards, Tees Valley Living and Tees Valley Unlimited Leadership Board.
CAB
110/07
Cabinet considered a report relating to the Council's scheme of delegation for planning applications and the Planning Committee's site visits procedure.

Members noted that the scheme of delegation had been amended in January 2004 along with improvements to the operation of the Planning Committee. A copy of the current scheme was provided to Members.

It was explained that performance had improved, however there was no room for complacency and a peer review of the Planning Service had specifically highlighted areas of concern around delegation and the signing off procedure.

Subsequently the delegation scheme had been fully reviewed as part of the Planning Service's Service Improvement Plan. Also, the Local Government Association and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published advice on providing a simpler delegation scheme, based on the ‘by exception' approach.

Members noted that the suggested revised scheme was simpler than the current scheme and made it clear what applications could not be determined by Officers. It also provided a procedure allowing any Member to call in a delegated application, given certain circumstances. A flowchart describing this procedure was provided to Members.

Cabinet noted the proposed revised scheme that delegated authority be granted to Officers to process and make decisions on all applications subject to the following:-

a.) those cases which appeared to the Director of Development and Neighbourhood Services or the Head of Planning to be extraordinary when viewed against established policy guidelines, or warranted consideration by Planning Committee;

b.) development proposed by the Council itself except those of a minor nature as detailed in Appendix 3 of the report - definitions associated with the operation of the scheme of delegation;

c.) those cases where the Officer recommendation was for approval but it constitutes a departure from the Development Plan;

d.) those cases where there were more than 10 letters/emails by way of response which were contrary to the recommendation of the case officer, with the exception of mobile phone mast applications where they would remain delegated regardless of the number of objections received;

e.) where a Member requests in writing or by email within 21 days of publication of details of the application that Committee determine the application on the grounds of a matter of fundamental principle or precedent;

f.) those cases which involved development on land owned, or in which an interest was held, by a Council Member (or their spouse/partner) or by any member of the Council staff (or their spouse/partner) as far as was reasonably practicable.

It was suggested that Mobile Phone Masts applications be delegated to officers regardless of the number of objectors. This would be a departure from the ‘10 objections' rule which was being recommended as triggering a referral to committee. Should there be more than 10 objections to such an application, the Case officers would liaise directly with Ward Councillors to make them aware of the issues which were being raised, as often clarification could be given on the siting and design due to local knowledge.

Members were provided with information relating to the current procedure for signing off decisions and were informed that the peer review team had commented on how onerous and time consuming it was. In view of this a proposed streamlined process had been identified and details were provided to Members.

Cabinet was provided with details of the protocol relating to requesting site visits and how they were conducted.

It was explained that that the Planning Committee had considered the proposed scheme and site visits procedures and had suggested a number of amendments. Details of these suggested amendments were provided to Cabinet.

Cabinet considered the proposed revised scheme and, taking account of comments made by Planning Committee, agreed certain amendments.
CAB
111/07
Cabinet was informed that the Council's Local Development Scheme (LDS) required the production of a Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

Members were reminded that the draft SPD and its associated documents were approved for consultation by Planning Committee and Cabinet earlier this year. This consultation took place between the 30th July and the 10th September 2007.

A number of comments had been received from interested parties including amongst others, public bodies (Natural England, Sport England etc), representatives of developers (Home Builders Federation, Consultants). The consultation statement was provided to Members and detailed a list of comments received, the Council's response and notes on any changes made to the document.

Since the end of the consultation period Council officers had been preparing changes to the document. The majority involved minor wording changes with the most significant change involving the removal of the ‘two strand approach' from the Highways and Transportation section and the inclusion of an appendix relating to public realm contributions. One further change to the document which required confirmation related to paragraph 8.9 where the percentages quoted may be subject to change.
CAB
112/07
Members considered a report relating to the Southern Gateway riverside regeneration proposals in Stockton Town Centre.

Members were reminded that at Cabinet on 30th November 2006 a draft Stockton town centre Action Plan was approved for consultation purposes. This plan was heavily influenced by Gillespies' Riverside Sites Masterplan, setting out the vision for the regeneration of Stockton Town Centre and its adjoining riverside sites. Amendments to the draft plan, following consultation were subsequently approved at Cabinet 30th August 2007.

The creation of vibrant town centres linked to an outstanding city scale riverside environment was one of the key priorities for the Council through the Stockton Middlesbrough Initiative. This aim was further reinforced in the Regional Economic Strategy (RES) as the scheme would contribute to the objective of implementing strategic transformational regeneration in the region.

A key component of the regeneration proposals, as set out in the Action Plan, was the development of the prominent Chandlers Wharf site and Cabinet were asked to approve property acquisitions at that site.

Members were provided with financial and other information relating to the proposed acquisitions.

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