|Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 16th July 2015.|
|Consideration was given to a report presented a headline, summary analysis of performance in the academic year 2014 - 2015 against all the key stages for all providers in the Borough.|
With regard to Primary Phase - early Years and Foundation Stage the headline outcome was 59% of children in Stockton achieved a Good Level of Development.
At the end of Year 1 children were tested on their ability to use phonic skills to read a list containing words and non-words. There had been a rise in Year 1 Phonics passes in 2015 making a total rise of 23% in the 3 years since the tests began. The 2015 Y1 result was above the National Outcome 2014 (74%) by 4%.
End of KS1 2015 outcomes showed increases in all elements (2b+ and 3+) from 2014 outcomes except in Maths where there was a 1% decrease at both level 2b+ and level 3+. In 2014, the LA did not achieve any results above the national average. Compared to 2014 national averages, 2015 LA outcomes were above in 3 outcomes (2b+ in reading and writing and also in writing at Level 3+). Other LA 2015 outcomes (maths L2b+, reading L3+ and Maths L3+ were below the 2014 national average.
Ensuring children achieved higher levels in Maths at the end of Key Stage 1 would be a focus for the 0-11 team in 2015-16.
With regard to Key Stage 2 these results presented a challenging picture. Results in CRWM, in reading and in writing at Level 4+ had declined slightly since 2014. Results in CRWM, in reading and in Maths at Level 5+ were also lower than in 2014, especially in reading which had declined by 3.4% since 2014.
The SPAG test results were particularly pleasing as they continued the upward trajectory which had been seen in Stockton-on-Tees since this measure was put in place in 2013. The 2015 Stockton-on Tees SPAG test results were likely to be amongst the highest in the North East. There had also been a slight increase in the Level 4+ Maths outcome.
Improving pupils attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 and particularly in reading would be a focus for the 0-11 team in 2015-16.
With regard to Secondary Phase - Key Stage 4 8 schools on the key measure of 5 + A* - C including English and maths had increased their results from 2014, some significantly so. For example:-
- Grangefield has gone up 12.3%;
- Bishopsgarth by 15% (Bishopsgarth are requesting remarks on some scripts and are hopeful of being above the 40% floor standard threshold);
- St Michaels by 15.1%;
- OLSB has increased by 17.6%, this will be by far its best result in over 5 years;
- St Patricks by 20.9%.
Egglescliffe, Conyers, All Saints and Northfield have maintained their strong performance.
Two schools had seen a fall: Ian Ramsey had dropped 10.2% and Thornaby Academy had dropped by 20.2% although this academy report concern about the marking of their iGCSE English papers and would be challenging (there was some evidence emerging that iGCSEs had been hit regionally and nationally).
Stockton overall was 5.2% up on 2014 and would, therefore, hopefully be above national average for this measure.
Levels of progress in English and Maths were also very key indicators. The expected level of progress from KS2 to KS4 was three levels. Schools also calculated those exceeding three levels of progress and achieving four levels.
Levels of progress remained a concern for Stockton secondary schools, particularly in English. The Moving Forward Transition Guarantee for Stockton focused on driving improvement in this area.
The outcomes for the two school sixth forms in A Levels were very positive; Egglescliffe had a 10% increase in the highest grades (A*- B) to 61.3% and Conyers had had a 7.4% increase to 60.3%. This was a very positive result and will place the schools well above the national average. Stockton Riverside College had also enjoyed an increased rate of the highest grades at A Level and was up 4%.
Stockton Sixth Form Centre had performed less well at A Level with only 34% achieving the highest grades. The percentage achieving an A*-E grade had fallen to 94% which was below previous local and national averages. Their performance at BTEC, however, was strong with 88% achieving the highest grades and 97% achieving an A*-E grade.
The picture for Stockton would be improved for the attainment of high grades but would drop slightly for those achieving a grade A*-E.
With regard to the impact of local authority monitoring, support and challenge the performance of the primary schools in Stockton had been very strong. All maintained schools were presently judged by Ofsted to be good or better. Two academies in Stockton had been judged to be Requiring Improvement in their recent inspection. As more primary schools convert to academy, more schools had no current Ofsted judgement (10 schools - 16% - from September 2015). The challenge was, therefore, to ensure that the monitoring, challenge and support mechanisms of the Local Authority extend to academies to sustain effectively the high quality of performance and maintain the strong Ofsted outcomes.
Of our 16 secondary schools, 6 did not currently have an Ofsted judgement due to their conversion to academy status, and one as a Free School. Of the 10 remaining, 2 were judged outstanding, 2 good, 6 requiring improvement and none inadequate. The percentage rated good or better, was therefore 40% which was significantly below the North East and national average.
The performance of the secondary schools against National and North East averages continued to rise.
In 2012, against the key indicator of 5 x A*-C including English and maths, Stockton secondary schools were 10th out of the 12 North East authorities. In 2013 Stockton was ranked 8th and 6th in 2014. This year Stockton was ranked second.
Stocktons performance in 3 levels of progress for maths ranks 3rd but the performance in 3 levels of progress for English was weak. This was an area of intense focus for 2015 and the appointment of two secondary colleagues to the team with English expertise would respond to this underperformance.
Stockton was also engaging with a Tees wide collaboration to improve standards. The Transforming Tees; Education and Skills Challenge will be launched in September 2015 and would offer strategies, seminars and the opportunity to share progress towards improving performance across the Tees authorities.
The School Improvement Framework, 2015, provided a series of indicators to judge all schools and academies against, and any school falling short of these indicators, was subject to a range of support and intervention measures, starting with a challenge meeting with the Corporate Director.
As part of the School Improvement Framework, from September 2015, every school or academy would be invited to present the outcomes of their own Ofsted inspection to a Local Authority members scrutiny subcommittee. This was an opportunity to celebrate successes as well as providing assurance of improvement in reports where anything less than good was highlighted.
The Transforming Governance Group would also evaluate all inspection reports to inform planning around support and challenge for governance.
The support and challenge to secondary schools through the enhanced School Improvement Adviser programme using successful school leaders from Stockton would continue into 2015/2016. The robust meetings with the Corporate Director and the ensuing Intervention Plans have seen to have impact in the improved performance of the schools involved.
The support and challenge to those identified as not performing, against the challenge criteria of the School Improvement Framework 2015, would continue. These criteria had been further strengthened to reflect the school improvement priorities for Stockton, particularly around the Transition Guarantee.
The schools that had been subject to an Ofsted inspection in 2014/2015 were detailed within the report. The comments on the effectiveness of the support from the Local Authority were also included. Where there was no comment, the inspection report was of an academy and had referenced the academy providers support, not that of the Local Authority.
The Education and Adoption Bill 2015-2016 sought to amend the Education and Inspections Act 2006 by creating a category of schools considered coasting which were eligible for intervention. A coasting primary school would be one that:
had less than 85 per cent of children achieving level 4, in each year between 2014, 2015 and 2016,
had below average proportions of pupils making expected progress in reading and writing and maths between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
Whilst there was no future shift in measures defined for primary schools, new regulations could be laid before Parliament to change the percentage achieving at least level 4 to an equivalent score as primary schools move to new national curriculum tests. Below average was based on median levels of expected progress for both primary and secondary schools. This category of schools would not come in till 2016 but it was a further challenge and one that was reflected in the revised School Improvement Framework for Stockton 2015.
The new definition of coasting schools would mean more schools were eligible for intervention. Outcomes data over a three year period would be used and schools would not be classed as coasting until 2016 when data from 2014, 2015 and 2016 would be used to define them.
A coasting secondary schools would be one that:-
In 2014 and 2015 had a five A*-C GCSE pass rate (including English and Maths) of below 60%;
In 2014 and 2015 had a below average proportion of pupils making expected progress in English and maths between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4;
In 2016 receives a below-standard score on the new Progress 8 measure. (This standard will be set after the 2016 results to ensure it is at a suitable level).
The Progress 8 measure would then gradually replace the 5 A*-C based measures until by 2018, coasting schools would be selected on the basis of three years of Progress 8 scores.
Progress 8 aimed to capture the progress a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of secondary school. It was a type of value added measure, which meant that pupils results were compared to the actual achievements of other pupils with the same prior attainment.
The new performance measures were designed to encourage schools to offer a broad and balanced curriculum at key stage 4, and reward schools for the teaching of all their pupils, measuring performance across 8 qualifications. Every increase in every grade a pupil achieves would attract additional points in the performance tables.
Progress 8 would be calculated for individual pupils solely in order to calculate a schools Progress 8 score, and there would be no need for schools to share individual Progress 8 scores with their pupils. Schools should continue to focus on which qualifications were most suitable for individual pupils, as the grades pupils achieve will help them reach their goals for the next stage of their education or training.
Attainment 8 would measure the average grade of a pupil across 8 subjects including mathematics (double weighted) and English (double weighted), 3 further qualifications that count in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) measure and 3 further qualifications that can be GCSE qualifications (including EBacc subjects) or any other non-GCSE qualifications on the DfE approved list.
A Progress 8 score would be calculated for each pupil by comparing their average grade (their Attainment 8 score) with the average grade of all pupils nationally who had a similar starting point, or prior attainment, calculated using assessment results from the end of primary school. The greater the Progress 8 score, the greater the progress made by the pupil compared to the average of pupils with similar prior attainment.
A schools Progress 8 score would be calculated as the average of its pupils Progress 8 scores. It would give an indication of whether, as a group, pupils in the school made above or below average progress compared to similar pupils in other schools.
|Consideration was given to a report that sought approval to amend the Councils scheme of delegation to enable the relevant provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to be enforced.|
The report also sought approval of the fixed penalty fees for non-compliance with a Community Protection Notice and a Public Spaces Protection Order including a maximum fee and discounted fee for early payment.
|Consideration was given to a report that presented a Volunteering Strategy Framework for the Borough. It detailed the research and findings to produce the strategy and details plans for implementation. A copy of the Volunteering Strategy had been circulated to Members.|
Following a number of questions from the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector (VCSE), members of the public and officers across the local authority in relation to arrangements around volunteering some research was undertaken to determine the issues and need.
The research found that:-
Currently there isnt a single route or co-ordinated approach in relation to the opportunities available for anybody who wants to start volunteering. An internet search using volunteering in Stockton-on-Tees returns over 70,000 results and no obvious pathway through them all. The first non-sponsored result directs people to the Stockton Borough Council website which only provides details of how to find out about volunteering opportunities in the Council.
Its not always clear who is offering volunteering opportunities or who to approach
There is no single, common or legal definition of Volunteering
Its not easy to identify whether the opportunities on offer are suitable for the individual wanting to volunteer.
organisations who are approached by willing volunteers who dont currently have any opportunities are often turning people away without being able to identify and signpost them to other services or organisations.
Whilst most organisations have things in place to continue to support and develop volunteers this is varied. Some have a great deal of skill and expertise in volunteer recruitment, management, development and support and others dont have the resources to do it on a large scale
there isnt an obvious place for people to contact if they are simply thinking about volunteering and wondering if it is right for them and what sort of volunteer opportunity would they be best suited to
Estimates brought together from local and national surveys suggest across the Borough there are 58,000 people who have undertaken some voluntary activity with around 23,000 people who are regular volunteers and 10,000 core volunteers of which only 3,000 are known to the VCSE
One hour of a volunteers time equates to £11.09
We also know that volunteering adds an immense amount of social value to our area and we believe it has a huge impact on both those who volunteer and those who they volunteer for but we havent got any comprehensive or systematic way of capturing that and promoting it.
Whilst the commissioned research identified models of practice elsewhere, many included resource intensive traditional models of face-to-face brokerage services which were unsustainable without a clear long term funding strategy or business development model in place. The strategy was therefore based on an initial delivery plan formulated around a more sustainable framework model. The framework picked up all of the elements identified in the research with actions culminating in a month long programme of activity during June each year, as a local extension of the national Volunteers Week (first week in June). Should the need for face-to-face brokerage continue an element of the delivery plan for the Steering Group could include the development and delivery of a funding strategy or establishment of separate VCSE enterprise, backed by a sustainable business model.
Oversight of delivery of the plan would be led by a Volunteering Steering Group managed by Catalyst as the VCSE infrastructure organisation for the borough. The Steering Group would be supported by a wider group of stakeholders and contributors operating as task and finish groups as needed around the elements of the framework. The Council would have a place on the Steering Group.
It was also proposed that a small element of the Market Development Fund be ring-fenced as match funding to implement the model.
|Consideration was given to a report on Stocktons Fuel Poverty Partnership and Affordable Warmth Strategy and Action Plan. A copy of the Affordable Warmth Strategy was attached to the report.|
Stocktons Fuel Poverty Partnership had been operational since September 2013 as a stand-alone thematic partnership within the LSP structure. Fuel Poverty was a cross cutting issue which directly impacted on an estimated 8911 households across Stockton Borough. The report outlined the ambitions of the partnership, highlighted the achievements made so far and presented a revised Affordable Warmth Strategy and Action Plan aimed at bringing affordable warmth to many more households.
The Fuel Poverty Partnership had set a number of objectives targets and developed an action plan to reflect these with an aim of reducing the incidences of fuel poverty. The priorities were detailed within the report.
Some examples of the important delivery that had taken place under the first Affordable Warmth Strategy in the last 12 months to tackle the Partnerships objectives were detailed within the report.
The Fuel Poverty Partnership was to be commended for developing and delivering an effective strategy back in 2014 and for following its action plan through to deliver good outcomes, and it had successfully developed a revised strategy to continually improve the collective approach to delivering affordable warmth. There were 29 projects and actions contained within the strategy, partners continued to invest resources to see improvement in peoples properties and lives, and continually seek external funding to progress on this issue.
The Council would continue to monitor progress against the governments fuel poverty Low Income High Cost indicator, how many households in Stockton-on-Tees were suffering without affordable warmth and the performance of domestic housing stock, in assessing how the Council was performing on fuel poverty. The strategy was presented to Cabinet for endorsement with a report to be provided in 12 months time detailing performance against the action plan.
|Consideration was given to a report presented the Local Account, which provided an overview of progress and achievements in Adult Social Care during 2014~15.|
The production of a Local Account by Councils had been promoted as part of the approach to sector led improvement. Although it was not a statutory requirement, there had been an expectation that Councils would produce a Local Account and the large majority of Councils did so. There was a commitment also through the North East Regional ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) Group to support the production of Local Accounts.
The aim of the Local Account was to support greater accountability by reporting to residents, in an accessible format, on how the Council had addressed priorities and improved outcomes for those in need of social care and what the priorities were for the future.
Attached to the report was the proposed final draft of the Local Account 2014~15. This was the fourth Local Account and, whilst the format was similar to previous years, the emphasis had been on producing a briefer document, written and presented in a more user friendly format. The attached draft was the plain text version of the document; once approved, arrangements would be made to produce a version formatted in line with the corporate branding, and including appropriate photographs and pictures. It was intended that the document would be made available via the Councils website.
The Local Account is scheduled for approval and publication in September, earlier than previous years. Previously, final publication of the Local Account had been in the December / January period, to allow for inclusion of final published national performance and benchmarking data. The intention was to issue the Local Account in September, once approved by Cabinet, then to produce a brief follow-up article in Stockton News (in Spring 2016) giving an overview of the published national performance data for 2014-15.
|Consideration was given to a report on the financial position of the Council as at 30 June 2015.|
A table within the report summarised the MTFP position for each service.
The reasons for any significant projected variances were detailed within the report. It was noted that where financial pressures had been identified these would be considered alongside any savings proposals from the Savings Review Programme presented to Cabinet in July 2015.
The projections showed that overall the Big Ticket Reviews were delivering within the allocated growth provision in the MTFP. The MTFP (Big Ticket) would be reviewed and updated in the next report to Members which would review the position at the six month point of the financial year.
The updated capital programme was summarised in a table within the report, with further detail attached to the report.
A new scheme for strategic maintenance improvements at the interchange access to Teesside Park had been added to the capital programme (£2.357m). This scheme was funded by LGF grant, third party contributions and a contribution from 15/16 LTP grant (£0.339m).
A new S278 Access to Free School (Little Maltby / Low Lane) had been added to the capital programme (£1.250m), fully funded via developer contribution.
|The report provides Cabinet with details of the Ombudsmans annual review letter for the Council for 2014/15.|
The Ombudsman had published the annual summary of statistics on the complaints received about the Council for the year ended 31 March 2015.
Copies of the review letter and statistics tables were attached to the report.
Also attached to the report, as a comparison, was a copy of the 2013/14 Ombudsmans annual report for the Council.
When comparing the two statistics tables, it could be seen that:-
Complaints/enquiries received in 2014/15 increased by 25%
Complaints/enquiries about adult care services increased three fold.
Complaints/enquiries about education/childrens services doubled.
Complaints/enquiries about benefits and tax halved; and
Complaints/enquiries about planning and development reduced by two thirds.
The significant increase in Ombudsman complaints / enquiries for Stockton in the last two years were reflected nationally and the Ombudsman had highlighted how Council complaints systems were coming under increasing pressure, with more complaints and more complaints that were complex and time consuming, at a time when the resources available to manage them were reducing.
As regards the 47 decisions made by the Ombudsman in relation to Stocktons complaints in 2014/15, four were upheld. However, the Ombudsman was satisfied in each case by the Councils response to the complaints and no formal reports were issued during the year.
|In accordance with the Councils Constitution or previous practice the minutes of the meeting of the bodies indicated below were submitted to members for consideration:-|
Teeswide Safeguarding Adults Board - 14th July 2015
SLSCB - 21st May 2015
SLSCB - 18th June 2015
Safer Stockton Partnership - 23rd June 2015
|Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on Shaping a Brighter Future.|
The Shaping a Brighter Future (SBF) programme had been developed to increase capabilities, build capacity and resilience, and support succession planning in the workforce. The SBF programme proposal was approved by Cabinet in January 2014 followed, in April 2014, by approval of the more detailed individual work streams that would make up the programme. Significant progress had been made since then, and there had been a number of early successes.
The 16 January 2014 Cabinet report set the context for the SBF programme. The challenges remained valid and were:-
Serious financial pressures - the Medium Term Financial Plan position was reported to Cabinet on 16 July 2015 and indicated an estimated budget gap of £17m in 2018/2019. The Big Picture Programme to reduce the gap is expected to result in a period of significant organisational change;
The increasing demands on services as a consequence of an ageing population;
Fundamental changes due to welfare reforms;
Changes in the delivery structures for social care services and the NHS and integrations between the two as required by the Better Care Fund;
Changes to the delivery of strategic economic development linked to the LEP, Combined Authority and City Deal;
An ageing workforce and associated loss of extremely experienced and knowledgeable staff through retirement;
Similar to other local authorities, increased signs of stress and fatigue in the workforce.
These challenges were however only part of the context and the Council also recognised that:-
Huge potential and talent in the organisation as evidenced by APSE awards, positive feedback from residents and businesses and a host of nationally recognised accreditations and awards across our services.
A strong track record and culture of employee development.
A dedicated, high performing and committed workforce who care about their work and enjoy being part of the Council.
An ongoing commitment to maintaining our Investors in People and Customer Service Excellence accreditations
The SBF programme reflected these realities and accepted that the Council had a responsibility and duty to support and develop employees through these challenging times. It was an essential element of the ongoing commitment to long term planning and investment in the organisation and was arguably the most important invest-to-save project the Council embarked on. It underpinned the Big Picture programme.
The Council investment in the workforce was critical to meeting the future challenges and the SBF programme was another example of how the long term and planned approach to development was serving the organisation well. It was reflected in the positive results from the 2014 Employee Survey, with employees expressing strong feelings of being valued, engaged and empowered and, significantly for SBF, expressing a readiness to take responsibility for helping make the organisation be more innovative.
The programme was envisaged as a long term (5 year) programme and whilst some benefits had been realised in the shorter term, it was important to recognise that other outputs and outcomes would take longer to come to fruition.
The principle of the SBF programme was that the Council build more capacity in the organisation by investing in its people and grow its own talent to increase capability through personal and team development.
The SBF Programme was being delivered through eight work stream teams and this was detailed within the report.
In addition there were two teams ensuring that the whole programme remained on track and keeps all employees and stakeholders informed. These teams were:-
Programme Management & Resource Network
The latter parts of 2014 and early 2015 were taken up with establishing the Resource Network and setting up the work stream teams. All the teams were operational and meeting regularly. SBF was set up to be a long-term programme, described as a marathon, rather than a sprint, but already there were several early successes to report and these were detailed within the report.
There were also a number of other pieces of work in progress and expected to start producing benefits before the end of the financial year and these were also detailed within the report.
The teams were still working up the detail of their longer term work programmes, but plans included:-
A new apprenticeship/traineeship programme designed to help with hard to recruit areas and to fill skills gaps.
Development of a system that identifies the talents, potential and aspirations of all employees, defines the talents that will be of benefit to the organisation and a process that enables us to use this information to meet the objectives of the SBF programme.
Development of a range of tools and interventions that will support more effective team work.
Development of new models for partnership working in the future.
Members were reminded that Mel Nixon, an experienced specialist in organisational change, worked with the Chief Executive to shape the initial concept of SBF into its present delivery format. In recognition of the good progress made in establishing the Resource Network and setting up the work stream teams and reflecting his confidence in the ability to deliver successful outcomes, Mel stepped down from his advisory role at the end of January. This update presented an opportunity to record the Council thanks to Mel for his valuable contribution.
There had been national interest in the SBF programme:
APSE were following progress and were keen to explore the links between SBF and the APSE model of the Ensuring Council, which endorsed the role of local authorities as stewards of local wellbeing and supported the maintenance of core in-house service provision. The Chief Executive addressed this subject when he spoke at the APSE annual seminar at the beginning of the month.
The Chief Executive had been invited to talk about SBF at a conference in Northern Ireland. The Local Government Staff Commission for Northern Ireland provided HR support and oversight for councils in Northern Ireland and was interested in using SBF as a case study of innovative practice to help them develop a regional approach to promoting good practice in HR and organisation development activity.
The LGA had also asked to be kept informed as the programme progresses.
|Consideration was given to a report on a managed transition toward a new senior management structure for the Council.|
A report was presented to Cabinet on 16 July 2015 which updated Members on the Councils financial position and this was summarised within the report.
The July report outlined a planned approach to deliver the required savings over the next MTFP period. The approach, which builds on the planned approach adopted to date, combined a number of specific proposals, transformation and efficiency reviews, utilisation of new technology and detailed service reviews which would be reported to Cabinet.
There was a recognition in the July report that there would need to be a review of the organisational and senior management structure to release capacity to drive the transformational change necessary to meet the savings challenge. This proposed structural change would not only deliver annual savings of £800,000 but was vital to retain capacity to deliver the scale of change required over the next 3 years. The report set out a proposed approach to the senior management changes.
A twin tracked approach to organisational development was proposed. A managed transition towards a new senior managerial structure which more accurately reflected the future needs of the Council would be implemented between September 2015 and April 2018 and a temporary transformation and change team would be established immediately to drive change and development over the same period to ensure that the organisation was in the right place to operate fully under the new structure by 2018.
The proposed permanent establishment structure and Director responsibilities were attached to the report. The new structure deleted the Corporate Director tier and would reduce the Senior Management Structure further from 31 posts in 2008 and the current level of 22 posts, to 16 posts and would save £800,000 per year.
Implementation of the new structure would be phased over the next few years, and it was expected that this would be fully operational by April 2018. However employee and union consultation on the new structure would happen as soon as is possible following Cabinet and Council approval. Appointments would be made to the new positions immediately following the consultation in order to avoid uncertainty for staff across the organisation and to free capacity for the transformation team. However the timing of transfer to new posts would be determined by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader / Deputy Leader taking into account such issues as progress of review implementation and also external changes such as the speed of health integration. An indicative view of the leave dates of the seven departing senior managers and directors is set out below, however these timings may be subject to change as operational needs dictated and as the work in the transformation team progresses:
Corporate Director CESC - August 2017
Corporate Director DNS - March 2018
Director Law & Democratic Services - June 2017 (following PCC elections, possible Euro elections and Metro Mayor)
Head of Customer Services and Taxation - March 2017
Head of Policy, Improvement and Engagement - March 2018
Head of Adult Operations - August 2017 (formalising end of EIT temporary arrangements)
Head of Housing and Community Protection - July 2017
It was felt essential to establish a small dedicated temporary team of experienced, qualified officers to drive these challenges forward to deliver savings, change and major projects. Utilising the skills, experience and knowledge of the people who would be leaving the organisation over the next three years allows the Council to manage an orderly transition to the new permanent structure and frees up capacity to deliver major change using people who understand the organisation and were more able to bring about change than external consultants. The in-house approach was also more cost efficient.
It was proposed that the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive would oversee the delivery of the programme and ensure that the transition team links effectively with the proposed permanent organisation.
|Consideration was given to a report on the Review of 2015 May Elections and Update on 2015 Canvass, Community Governance Reviews, Police and Crime Commissioner Elections and Parliamentary Boundary Review.|
The Parliamentary, District and Parish elections were held on 7 May 2015. The report highlighted what went well, what could be done better and the next steps needed to allow SBC to undertake a successful PCC election programme in 2016.
The combined nature of the election programme in 2015 would create inevitable pressures within key areas of the project. This was the first time since 1979 that the Parliamentary, Borough and Parish Elections had taken place at the same time resulting in 33 separate polls to administer; this was also the first time that an election was being delivered under the new Individual Electoral Registration (IER) regime. As a result the workload for the elections increased significantly. By way of illustrating the scale of the task:-
339 nomination papers were checked (most of which required further follow up and multiple checks)
2,254 assenter details had to be checked against the electoral register
196 agents were appointed
100 polling stations were booked
505 staff were appointed to 1,372 jobs
70,002 postal ballot packs were issued and 64,162 were receipted and opened representing an unprecedented turnout of postal voters
A staggering 2,592 postal votes were returned on polling day which all had to be opened and processed for verification as soon as possible after 10pm
The interest in the election also resulted in a surge of registration and postal vote applications which put additional pressures on the Electoral Team working to new IER processes and at a time when work on administering the elections was gathering pace. During the statutory elections period:-
16,127 registration applications were received
2,140 postal vote applications were received
The report highlighted the regional, sub regional and local feedback and any subsequent recommendations.
The 2015 canvass would be the first full canvass of all properties in the Borough since the move to Individual Electoral Registration. The canvass would differ from other previous canvasses under the old system because the form sent to properties, the Household Enquiry Form (HEF), was used purely to elicit information about who lives in the property and cannot be used to register them. Following receipt of a Household Enquiry Form, any new resident who had moved into a particular property would need to be sent an invitation to register individually and this could be completed on the Invitation to Register form provided, online, or over the telephone (provided that national insurance number and date of birth are provided).
The 2015 Canvass would also be last that was undertaken before the transition to individual electoral registration was complete. Any existing elector that had not registered individually by 1 December 2015 would be removed from the register. A large number of existing electors were transferred automatically to the IER register last summer following matching against central government records and those unconfirmed or red electors, who could not be confirmed automatically, had already received repeated communications from electoral services and personal visits. These red electors, along with any new elector, needed to provide national insurance number and date of birth to complete their registration.
Key dates in the 2015 Canvass were detailed within the report.
Invitations to register individually would be sent out to anyone added to the HEF form throughout all stages of the canvass.
A comprehensive engagement plan had been developed identifying a range of activities to raise awareness of the canvass across the Borough. This would include press releases, social media messages on Twitter and Facebook, Stockton News, KYIT, advertising on 180,000 SBC car park tickets, library book receipts and information sent out via partners in the Democratic Information Network.
A valid petition had been received calling for a Community Governance Review to be undertaken with a view to the abolition of Billingham Town Council. The key dates were listed within the report.
In 2011 legislation was passed to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, but the review of constituency boundaries that would have made the recommendations necessary to implement these changes was halted because of disagreements within the previous Government over constitutional reform.
Under the law, a new review by the Boundary Commission must be conducted after the 2015 General Election and completed by October 2018. It must again divide the UK into 600 constituencies.
Given the time required to complete boundary reviews, any changes to the Rules would have to be a priority for the new Government if the October 2018 deadline is to be met.
The election programme for next year would see Stockton lead on the PCC election for the Cleveland Force area. Preparation commenced on 4 August and would continue with regular updates to Lead Members throughout. In addition it was likely that there would be requested to undertake a Referendum on Europe. In addition, if greater devolution was given to the Sub Region, a Mayor may need to be elected.
The next steps were as follows:-
- Complete election accounts.
- Maintain momentum with suppliers especially Adare and Royal Mail.
- Continue planning for the 2016 PCC Elections with immediate effect, drafting the detailed management plans and scheduling Cleveland Force Planning Meetings.
- Consult with the necessary stakeholders re the PCC election Arrangements
- Implement 2015 and Canvass Plans
- Implement Community Governance reviews
- Undertake preparation for any Boundary Review.
- Implement recommendations as agreed.
|Consideration was given to a report on the community governance review for Billingham Town Council|
Following receipt of a community governance petition which called for the abolition of Billingham Town Council, the report invited consideration of the proposed approach to a community governance review in response to the petition and a review in relation to Elton Parish Council.
All principal councils had a legal duty to carry out a community governance review if they receive a valid petition. For a community governance petition to be valid in an area of more than 2500 electors, as was the case with Billingham Town Council (27,080 electors), it must be signed by 7.5% of local government electors; define the area to which the review related, and specify one or more recommendations. This petition called for the abolition of Billingham Town Council. Under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 a principal council had the power to undertake a community governance review, and must set terms of reference that allowed for the petition to be considered. The petition received contained in excess of 2,700 signatures of which 2031 had been confirmed on the electoral register. The petition was therefore valid.
In addition it was noted that Elton Parish Council had not operated since 9 December 2008 when all Councillors resigned. Following the resignations the process was followed to fill the casual vacancies and notices of vacancy were displayed on two separate occasions between December 2008 and May 2015. In addition, since the resignations there was two scheduled Parish Elections and no nominations were received. It was therefore proposed that a community governance be conducted to review to consider the abolition of Elton Parish Council and that the detail, key stages and timeline of this review mirror that of Billingham Town Council. Key Stakeholders would include the MP and Ward Councillors.
The reported highlighted the DCLG Guidance and the approaches to the review. The terms of reference for Billingham Town Council and Elton Parish Council were attached to the report.
The key stages of the reviews and the range of consultation mechanisms were detailed within the report.
|Consideration was given to a report on the progress in relation to the proposals contained in the Master Plan for Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA) and a further proposal from DTVA/Peel concerning the airport company.|
During September and October last year, the Councils Regeneration and Transport Select Committee examined how the proposals within the Master Plan for DTVA would seek to ensure a viable airport going forward and how future investment would aim to develop the airport related businesses.
The Select Committee produced and submitted its final report regarding this review, to Cabinet, at the meeting on the 9 October 2014.
Cabinet was advised that ongoing losses had prompted the production of, and consultation on a Master Plan proposing to put DTVA on a sustainable financial footing and to secure its long term future as an operating airport.
DTVA was projected to suffer reductions in terminal passenger forecasts produced by DfT, between 2020 and 2050 with the UK Aviation Forecast suggesting 100,000 passengers would use the airport each year, before reverting back to current levels of appropriately 200,00 passengers.
In this context, the historic performance of the airport was noted, in particular the impact and effect of the recession, the changes in the air passenger travel industry and the loss of holiday charter programmes, resulting in reduced passenger traffic.
The Select Committee and Cabinet were however reassured by the actions being taken by DTVA to bolster, where possible, the flight opportunities from the airport, considering the effects of the economic downturn. In this regard, DVTA had recently submitted a bid, through a Government fund, for support for a new flight from DTVA to Belfast. A decision was awaited.
Members considered that air connectivity between the Tees Valley and a London airport, as an international hub, as well as the services from DTVA to Schiphol and Aberdeen, was vital for local/regional growth, with business users of DTVA particularly in the oil and gas sectors being crucial for the Tees Valley economy. A report in May 2012 by Regeneris Consulting commissioned by Tees Valley Unlimited, found that at the time the Airport supported approximately 600 direct and indirect jobs, with some 480 or so of those jobs taken by Tees Valley residents and that it contributed an estimated £37M annually in GVA (roughly 0.4% of GVA of the Tees Valley Economy). DTVA provision of business flights also assisted in delivering benefits for the UK as a whole.
Generally, Members regarded the airport as a key asset in the Tees Valley, and wished to see it expand and grow in whatever guise was going to be profitable in order to ensure its continued presence.
Cabinet was advised that the Master Plan claimed that investment in re-positioning and growing the Airport would not be possible without capital raised from enabling housing development on land owned by DTVA. This would finance nine new hangars, office space and industrial units to expand the existing Northside Employment Park and provide 968 new jobs, £68M GVA to the local economy and £1.9M business rates.
It was also explained that the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership had secured £90.3M from the Governments Local Growth Fund, which included £5M provision for a new access road linking the Northside with the Southside at the airport, around the eastern end of the runway. This new link road would open up the Southside, to provide an employment park, and logistics and processing areas with a variety of employment uses. It was envisaged that 2,889 new jobs would be created, resulting in £280M GVA to the economy and £2.9M business rates.
In this respect, a planning application had been submitted for the access (link) road to open up the Southside land for the purposes of this development, and the necessary funding to ensure that the access was constructed, if planning permission was granted, had been obtained through the approval of DTVA/Peels application for Local Growth Funding.
Progress was also being made in relation to the preparation of an application for the enabling housing development at the airport site, and discussions were ongoing with Darlington Borough Council, as the local planning authority, regarding a related section 106 planning agreement.
The Select Committee and Cabinet supported Peels drive to diversify and seek business activities that provide secondary income as outlined in the Master Plan, recognising that operational costs cannot simply be recouped from air traffic.
There had been a number of developments that had the potential to impact upon DTVAs performance and viability, in particular:-
The 2014/15 report of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee which called upon the Government to take a more proactive role in helping smaller airports to survive and grow, in what remains a difficult environment.
The publication on the 1st July this year of the Airports Commission Final Report regarding expanding aviation capacity in the UK. The report recommended to Government that any expanded capacity should increase the proportion of flights from London to regional airports, and that more assistance should be given to those airports to support new domestic flights.
In July, HM Treasury published a discussion paper and invited views on options for supporting English regional airports from the impacts of air passenger duty being devolved to Scotland and to Wales. The risk being that for, instance, such devolution would draw passengers and airlines away from English regional airports.
Representatives from Peel were in attendance at the meeting to answer any Member questions.
RESOLVED that the progress report be noted.
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3, 5 and 8 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Consideration was given to DTVA/Peels further proposal.
Peel had asked the Local Authority Shareholders to consider a further proposal regarding the airport company. This proposal was seen by Peel as an important part of a package of key measures aimed at securing the Airports future. The other measures were the reduction in the cost base and operations of the airport and diversifying its revenue base, in order to approach annual cash neutrality by the financial year 2023/24 (it was understood that these measures had been substantially completed), together with approval for and implementation of the enabling housing development previously referred to.
Details of the proposal were attached to the report (exempt).