|Consideration was given to a report that presented the Children & Young People Select Committee findings following the Scrutiny Review of Quality and Sufficiency of Childcare. |
It was outlined that childcare played a crucial role in the lives of most families, enabling parents to go out to work to contribute to a decent family income when they had very young children. The review examined the Ofsted framework and work to engage with providers to improve quality, the view of providers in Stockton borough, and the changes to free childcare entitlement. The Committee's recommendations aimed to tackle the barriers to engagement by using peer support and networking, as well as improving the information available to parents and supporting the officer project teams work in overseeing the introduction of the two year old offer.
|Consideration was given to a report that presented the Regeneration and Transport Select Committee findings following the Scrutiny Review of Empty / Abandoned Properties.|
The Regeneration and Transport (R&T) Select Committee had concluded a review of empty and abandoned residential properties as part of the Scrutiny Work Programme during 2012/13. The scope of the review included consideration of increased powers to bring non-decent properties back into use; increased Council Tax income and production of savings on temporary accommodation expenditure; and an increase in New Homes Bonus to the Council.
|In accordance with the procedure for the appointment of school governors, approved as Minute 84 of the Cabinet (11th May 2000), Cabinet was requested to approve the nomination to school Governing Body as detailed within the report.|
|Members received a report that provided an update on the pressures relating to significant and continuing increases in children's social care workload, which could potentially impact on the Council's ability to effectively safeguard children.|
Members were provided with data relating to referrals and assessments, child protection, the looked after system, plus details of staffing and budgetary issues.
It was explained that Ofsted undertook an unannounced child protection inspection between 7 and 16 January 2013. This was the first inspection in the North East region, under the new framework, which was generally acknowledged to be a harder test.
In the course of the inspection the inspectors looked at over 100 cases and were satisfied that appropriate action had been taken to protect all children at risk of immediate harm. There were a number of areas for further development identified, particularly in relation to the referral and assessment team, which reflected the Council's own self assessment of the service. The overall judgement was adequate.
The report, which was published on the Ofsted website on 15 February 2013, contained a number of recommendations for immediate action which had all been addressed and work was underway to respond to the recommendations to be completed within 3 and 6 months respectively.
A full Action Plan would be brought to Cabinet for consideration in June 2013 and the Children and Young People Select Committee would be presented with regular reports and updates regarding the action plan.
|Cabinet considered a report that provided an update on the development of provision in the Borough for youngsters currently placed in social and education placements outside the Borough and requested Cabinet approval to progress a joint venture partnership and to agree the acquisition of properties for care facilities and the renovation of King Edwin School |
Members were reminded of the increasing numbers of children with complex needs, who needed 52 weeks care and education provision. It was noted that as the Council did not own the type of facility these children needed many of them were placed in facilities outside of the Borough.
It was explained that the Council had 37 children costing approximately £4.6m per annum for residential social care. This had increased significantly in recent years from 20 children costing £1.8m in 2009/10. In addition to this, the cost of the education element to the placement was met from Dedicated Schools Grant.
This area had been considered as part of the work around the Children's Social Care Big Ticket' workstrand and, in February 2012, Cabinet had agreed to defer the demolition of the former King Edwin site, whilst opportunities were explored.
It was explained that an extensive procurement exercise had been undertaken, which sought innovative solutions, including the potential use of the building to generate financial savings and improved outcomes for the children.
A number of proposals were received and assessed for:
* Financial savings
* Improved outcomes
The proposal was a joint venture partnership arrangement which would effectively mean:
* A joint venture would be established between SBC and Spark of Genius with 50:50 share.
* SBC would purchase and own a number of childrens' homes within/close to the Borough.
* SBC would renovate and own the former King Edwin site which would be used for education provision.
* SBC would receive market rent for the King Edwin site and Children's homes from the joint venture.
* Spark of Genius would provide care and education services, manage and operate the school and be paid a management fee.
* SBC would be charged a market rate for placements but would benefit from 50% profit' from the partnership.
* Surplus places would be sold' to other local authorities.
The business case had been prepared based on 20 children who could be located in such facilities but were currently out of the Borough. The current cost of these children was approximately £3.5m including both the social care and education provision.
The cost of acquiring properties and bringing King Edwin into use was estimated at £2m and this would result in a saving of approx £400,000 per annum, if it was indeed four homes that were required. This was an excellent example of an invest to save initiative and the capital costs would be met from the transformation reserve which was established to support such initiatives.
Spark of Genius was committed to the partnership and in the first instance wished to establish the facilities and provide excellent services to Stockton. They were, however, ambitious and would, in future, be looking to expand to open more facilities for care and maximise the use of the school site. There would be opportunities for Stockton to be part of that expansion as part of the partnership which would generate further revenue for the Council.
The initiative would also create local employment with approximately 100 jobs expected once the homes and schools were operational.
Members noted the required next steps in this venture:
Acquire properties and develop King Edwin School. It was envisaged that the school would be operational by 1 January 2014.
Develop detailed plans for each child with a view to moving to the aforementioned facilities in partnership with Spark of Genius.
Develop plans for staffing, registration for homes, etc., in partnership with Spark of Genius.
|Cabinet considered a report that outlined the admission arrangements the Council was proposing for primary and secondary schools in September 2014.|
The report included the full Co-ordinated Admission Arrangements and Admission numbers for community, voluntary controlled primary and secondary schools in Stockton on Tees for the school year 2014/15.
Members were provided with details of changes made to the School Admissions and Appeals Code, published February 2012.
Members were also provided with details of the Admissions Policy for September 2014 and the priority it would give to applications for admission to a school if that school was oversubscribed.
It was explained that the Council was responsible for administering a co -ordinated scheme for the area in relation to all maintained community, voluntary controlled, voluntary aided schools and Academies. A copy of the Council's Admissions Scheme, which included the relevant timetable was provided.
Members noted that with regard to admission numbers pupil projections showed a rise in the number of pupils within the primary sector, as set out in the School Organisation Plan, presented to Cabinet in October 2011. This was resulting in pressure for places in areas of the Borough, particularly in lower primary.
These pressures had been reflected in the School Capital Strategy Report. It was explained that there were currently a number of refurbishment works taking place across the borough which would see primary places for September 2014 total 2,582, an increase of a further 209 places based on the original 2012 Published Admission Numbers. As a result of this the Council had been able to agree with a number of schools increased admission numbers.
Members received proposed admission numbers for September 2014 in Community, VA and Academies and showed the proposed increase in primary school admission numbers across the Borough.
|Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on the academies construction and ICT Procurement. |
Stockton Borough Council was approached in 2010, by Partnerships for Schools (PfS) as part of the Government's National Academies programme to provide developments for and on behalf of Academies sponsors, NHS Stockton (now Northern Education Trust) and University of Teesside. The proposed three project programme comprised of North Shore Health Academy (now North Shore Academy), Thornaby Academy and Freebrough Academy, (the latter being in Redcar and Cleveland BC).
The programme also required the procurement of an ICT Provider (or providers) that would have the opportunity to provide ICT hardware for each of the Academies. In September 2011 Members approved a Cabinet Report giving delegated powers to the Head of Technical Services in conjunction with the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People to procure a Design & Build Framework Contractor for the construction of a batched Academy programme. Similar powers were approved for the procurement of an ICT Hardware provider for each Academy.
The report updated Members regarding the significant progress that had been made with the procurement of each of these facilities.
Several months after the stoppage of BSF, which occurred on 5th July 2010, Department for Education (DfE) advised the main sponsors of North Shore Academy NSA, (at the time NHS Stockton now Northern Education Trust) and Thornaby Academy (TA), (Teesside University), that funding had been allocated to enable their buildings to be developed. At this time the Sponsor of Thornaby Academy (Teesside University) were also advised that one of their other joint ventures, Freebrough Academy Enterprise Facility, which they were developing in partnership with Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, had also been allocated funding.
Funding for these projects were allocated through PfS (now renamed EFA; Education Funding Agency) to NSA £13.4m, to Thornaby £5.5m and to Freebrough £2.8m.
After a successful appeal made to the DfE an additional strand of funding was made available through the myplace' project to be developed on the same site as that proposed for the NSA. This project was initially planned to be located in a stand alone building on the south west corner of the Tilery site. Big Lottery and the DfE agreed for the funding streams to be conjoined and for the buildings to be integrated. The joined up approach has enabled the NSA and myplace to occupy spaces in one multi use building. The financial advantage of these economies of scale enhances the overall project by drawing in a further £4.4m for myplace bringing the total for NSA myplace to £17.8m.
Stockton Borough Council was advised by PfS that procurement of a Design and Build contractor must be through the National PfS contractor's framework for Academies.
The funding at NSA will provide a new build Academy facility on the former Tilery Sports Centre site. The development of Thornaby Academy will be through a re-modelling of the existing buildings currently occupied by that Academy.
PfS suggested that the two projects that were sponsored by Teesside University (Thornaby Academy and Freebrough Academy) should be delivered as a batched project and they and the sponsor expressed their preference for that batched project to be delivered through one Authority. Stockton-on-Tees was the Authority preferred by both PfS and Teesside University to carry out that procurement. Discussions took place with senior officers at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council who endorsed the intended lead role by Stockton Borough Council. Their Members were in turn briefed by those officers.
Included within each Academy funding envelope was an allocation for ICT hardware and software which was also being procured through Stockton Borough Council.
|Consideration was given to a report on rail devolution in the North of England. |
In March 2012 the Government published a consultation document on potential options for devolving decision-making on passenger rail services in England. This followed the review of value for money within the rail industry that had been undertaken by Sir Roy McNulty in 2011 and was in line with the Government's wider localism agenda. In response to the consultation, the concept of devolution was broadly welcomed by the Tees Valley authorities, and their partners across the North East, who recognised the potential benefits it could deliver. The Northern Rail and Transpennine franchises, both of particular interest to the Tees Valley, had been identified as two of the franchises that the Government may look to devolve.
The development of a North East Business Unit within a wider franchise, to give the authorities the required input to the specification and operation of local rail services, had emerged as the preferred option. The business case for such a unit was being worked up by the NE local authorities to ensure that all the costs and benefits of this option were fully quantified. A consortium of Integrated Transport Authorities in Manchester, West and South Yorkshire, collectively known as the Rail in the North Executive (RiNE) had been actively pursuing the devolution of Northern and Transpennine services into their control for some time and the NE had recognised the importance of working with RiNE to ensure that NE priorities were fully incorporated into a new franchise.
It was anticipated that RiNE would consult more widely on its long term rail strategy and it would be important for them to get the necessary strategic buy in' across the North of England. It was likely that the NE view would be that the strategy provided an adequate overview of the key rail issues from their perspective. Further consultation on the RiNE governance prospectus was also anticipated, following the recent Leaders' event in Leeds, and it was important that the key challenges from the NE to some of the assumptions made by RiNE in the document were addressed in future drafts.
It was important for the NE authorities to maintain an active dialogue with RiNE, had the necessary input to on-going RiNE workstreams and generally keep apace with all the work that RiNE were leading. However, as a result of the Brown Review, it was anticipated that there would be an inevitable delay in the progression of some of the key franchises. For example, prior to the review, new East Coast franchise was due to start in December 2013 meaning that the bidding and consultation process should have been well under way. The Northern and Transpennine franchises were due to follow shortly after in spring 2014 but again the review had dictated that this would not now be achievable given the lead in times for the bidding process. It had been suggested that each franchise could be delayed by a year but the Brown Review recommends that the Government confirmed revised franchise timescales and sequencing by March 2013. It was noted that a delay in the renewal of the Northern and Transpennine franchises could actually be advantageous to the NE as it would give sufficient time to develop the required business case for a separate business unit.
The development of this business case to fully evaluate all the costs, risks and benefits associated with a separate operational unit for the NE was the key short-term priority. Until this work was complete, the NE lacked the necessary evidence to make an informed decision on whether such a business unit was a feasible option that would be in the best future interests of both the local authorities and crucially rail passengers across the area. Along side the business unit work, it was critical that the NE developed a detailed future rail specification for the area and ensured that this was fully reflected in the on-going specification work that RiNE was leading.
|Cabinet considered a monthly update report providing members with an overview of the current economic climate, outlining the effects that this was having on Stockton Borough, and the mitigations already in place and those being developed.|
Members noted some of the positive and negative developments since the last report. Details of the support on offer to people and businesses was also provided.
|Members considered a report relating to the establishment of the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) as a Committee of the Council and the associated governance arrangements. The report also proposed governance arrangements relating to the Health and Wellbeing Partnership (HWP).|
Members were reminded that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 required the Council to establish a Health and Wellbeing Board as a Committee of the Council.
Cabinet was provided with proposed governance arrangements for the operation of the HWB and HWP, including the following:
Terms of Reference
Rules of Procedure
It was suggested that arrangements be reviewed after 12 months operation.
Members noted that the HWB would be responsible for preparing and publishing the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy (JHWS). The JSNA would be reviewed constantly by the Board and Partnership and, given this, it was suggested that authority be delegated to the Board to make any necessary amendments to the document, that may be necessary from time to time. The JHWS and the JSNA would continue to be presented to Cabinet and Council on an annual basis.
Cabinet was provided with details of the Director of Public Health's statutory responsibilities.
|Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of various bodies.|
|Consideration was given to a report that provided further information regarding the legislative changes which were outlined in the report to Cabinet on 6th September 2012 and sought Cabinet's confirmation of the related revisions to the Council's RIPA Corporate Policy and Procedures Document.|
Significant changes were proposed to RIPA and the way in which local authorities could use RIPA powers for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 had introduced independent judicial oversight of all local authority use of RIPA.
Amendments to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Directed Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Sources) Order 2010 ("the 2010 Order") restricted the use of directed surveillance by local authorities to the investigation of certain types of criminal offences.
These changes had been introduced with effect from 1st November 2012.
The judicial approval process applied to all situations where a local authority proposed to use a RIPA authorised covert investigatory technique.
It was therefore relevant to authorisations or renewals for directed surveillance, the use or conduct of a Covert Human Intelligence Source, or an application or notice for communications data.
The internal application and authorisation process, in each case, would continue in principally the same way as before. The additional stage, subsequent to this process, was that after initial internal authorisation, judicial approval was required to be sought. The Justice of the Peace ("JP"), who would either be a district judge or lay magistrate, would decide whether a local authority grant or renewal of an authorisation or notice to use RIPA should be approved, and it would not come into effect unless and until it was approved by a JP.
An outline of the procedure to be followed was attached to the report.
The hearing would not be held in open Court, and no press, public, the subject of the investigation or their representatives would be present. The local authority would show the original RIPA authorisation or notice to the JP, and provide a copy. A partially completed judicial application or order form would also be provided by the local authority. This would be the official record of the JP's decision.
Whilst there would be legal oversight of the Council's judicial approval applications, relevant investigative officers (who would need to be formally designated to appear on behalf of the Council) would be the applicants / attendees at Court. This accorded with Home Office guidance.
The amendments to the 2010 Order would have the following effect:-
Local authorities could only authorise use of directed surveillance under RIPA to prevent or detect criminal offences that were either punishable, whether on summary conviction or indictment, by a maximum term of at least 6 months' imprisonment or were related to the underage sale of alcohol and tobacco. The offences relating to the latter were as follows:-
* Section 146 of the Licensing Act 2003 (sale of alcohol to Children)
* Section 147 of the Licensing Act 2003 (allowing the sale of alcohol to Children)
* Section 147A of the Licensing Act 2003 (persistently selling alcohol to children
* Section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (Sale of tobacco etc to persons under the age of eighteen)
Local authorities could not authorise directed surveillance for the purpose of preventing disorder unless this involved a criminal offence(s) punishable (whether on summary conviction or indictment) by a maximum term of at least 6 months' imprisonment.
Local authorities could therefore continue to authorise use of directed surveillance in more serious cases as long as other tests were met - i.e. that it was necessary and proportionate and where prior approval from a JP had been granted. Examples of cases where the offence being investigated attracted a maximum custodial sentence of six months or more could include more serious criminal damage, dangerous waste dumping and serious or serial benefit fraud.
Local authorities could also continue to authorise the use of directed surveillance for the purpose of preventing or detecting specified criminal offences relating to the underage sale of alcohol and tobacco where the necessity and proportionality test was met and prior approval from a JP has been granted.
A local authority could not authorise the use of directed surveillance under RIPA to investigate disorder that did not involve criminal offences or to investigate low-level offences which might include, for example, littering, dog control and fly-posting.
The Council's policy and procedures document had been reviewed and revised to reflect these legislative changes. The revisions had been highlighted for ease of reference and were available on the SBC Website.