Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Cabinet Minutes

Thursday, 12th November, 2015
Jim Cooke Conference Suite, Stockton Central Library, Church Road, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1TU
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Cllr Robert Cook (Chair); Cllr Jim Beall, , Cllr Nigel Cooke, Cllr Mrs Ann McCoy, Cllr Steve Nelson and Cllr Norma Wilburn
N Schneider (CE), J Danks, B Brown, G Cummings, (R); P Dobson, R McGuckin, R Kench,(DNS); J Humphreys (CESC); M Waggott, P K Bell (LD).
In Attendance:
Colin Morris (Independent Chair of Stockton-on-Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board), Cllr Lynn Hall, Cllr Phil Dennis, Cllr Chris Barlow
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Michael Smith.
Item Description Decision
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and detailed the evacuation procedure. The Chair also outlined the information with regard to the recording of the meeting.
Councilor Nelson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 9 - School Organisation Plan as he was a Governor at Frederick Natrass Primary School.

Councilor Cook declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 9 - School Organisation Plan as he was a Governor at Billingham South Community School and Norton Primary School.

Councilor Beall declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 9 - School Organisation Plan as he was a Governor at Rosebrook Primary School.

Councilor Mrs McCoy declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 9 - School Organisation Plan as she was a Governor at Ash Trees Primary School and High Clarence Primary School.

Councilor Mrs Wilburn declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 9 - School Organisation Plan as she was a Governor at Glebe Primary School.

Councillor Beall declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 10 - Stockton on Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report as he was married to the Local Safeguarding Children Board manager.

Councillor Norma Wilburn declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 12 Economic Climate Update Report as her company was involved in an evaluation for the Compass Programme for Tees Valley Unlimited.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 8th October 2015 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.
Cabinet Decision Record D150078

1. The proposed arrangements for a North East Rail Management Unit (“NERMU”), to be nested within the wider Partnership arrangements between Rail North and the Department for Transport be noted.

2. Appropriate arrangements be authorised to enable Stockton Borough Council to enter into the Collaboration Agreement, appended to the report, which defines the NERMU governance and operational structure.

3. Councillor Bill Dixon be appointed from Darlington Borough Council to represent the Tees Valley Authorities on the NERMU Board.
Cabinet Decision Record D150079

1. The outcomes from the updated assurance test be noted.

2. Should the Planning for the Future arrangements be implemented as per the proposal previously presented to Cabinet there will be no further need to annually review the assurance statement.

3. Any further assurance test would be triggered either by changes to the Statutory Guidance and/or any changes to the DCS and/or Lead Member role and function.
Cabinet Decision Record D150080

1. The report and the positive results particularly in the areas of significant improvement and in the benchmarking be noted.

2. The next steps including endorsing the start of work to plan for Employee Survey 2016 be approved.
Cabinet Decision Record D150081
RESOLVED that the minutes be received.
Cabinet Decision Record D150082

1. The information in the attached draft plan be noted.

2. The pressure in demand for additional primary and secondary school places be noted.

3. The ‘School Organisation Plan 2015 to 2019’ be published on the Council website and made available to partner organisations.
Cabinet Decision Record D150083
RESOLVED that the 2014 / 2015 Annual Report of the Stockton-on-Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D150084
RESOLVED that the Playing Pitch Strategy and Action Plan be approved to enable key site investment and rationalisation decisions to be taken.
Cabinet Decision Record D150085
RESOLVED that the content of the report and support the work being undertaken be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D150086
RECOMMENDED to Council that the Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy as presented in Appendix 1 be approved and come into force on 1 January 2016.
Cabinet Decision Record D150087
RECOMMENDED to Council that the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy as presented in Appendix 1 be approved.
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 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Cabinet Decision Record D150088

1. The former sports facility at Marsh house Avenue be advertised for asset transfer.

2. The schools outlined in paragraph 31 be expanded.

3. The disposals of the following assets be agreed, with the terms agreed at Appendix A:

• Roseberry Library
• Bedale Library
• Former Education Centre
• Tedder Avenue
• Former Blakeston School site
• Five Lamps Centre
• Former Community Centre Long Newton

4. The agreement of the detailed terms of disposal be delegated to Director of Resources in conjunction with the Leader of the Council.
  • Appendix
This is the exempt information that was considered with regard to the above item. Please see the above item for the decision of Cabinet.
4.30pm - 6.30pm


Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 8th October 2015.
Consideration was given to a report on the progress made in improving vital local rail services. Through membership of Rail North, Stockton Borough Council had helped to secure significant investment in the next Northern Rail franchise, including a requirement for the creation of a specific North East management unit. It was proposed that Stockton Borough Council, alongside its regional neighbours in the Tees Valley and North East Combined Authority, collaborate formally to create a local franchise management body. This body, the ‘North East Rail Management Unit’, would be nested within the wider Rail North/DfT Partnership structure. Through this vehicle, the region can lay the groundwork for continued local rail improvements and alignment with wider local transport policy.
Consideration was given to a report that provided Members with an updated local test of assurance that had been carried out in relation the roles of Director of Children’s Services and Lead Member - Children & Young People in compliance with Statutory Guidance. Reference was also made to the roles of Director of Adult Services and Lead Member - Adults and health. The outcome from the assurance test had indicated that the arrangements, control and scrutiny measures were sufficient to mitigate the risks identified in the statutory guidance. The assurance test had been carried out independently of the Children, Education and Social Care Service.
Consideration was given to a report that presented an update on the Employee Survey 2014 including the benchmarking of the Council results by ORC International. The Council survey results were positive and most areas had improved since 2012. From an external, multi-sector benchmarking perspective, the Council had been advised that the performance was in the vast majority of cases better than other Local Authorities and, in the majority of areas covered by our survey, Stockton outperform other organisations in the private, public, charities/not for profit, housing association sectors central Government and UK employers overall. The purpose of the report was to provide further analyses of the results and to outline actions taken to date and proposals for next steps.

With regard to the next steps the HR service and the SBF workstreams were making sure that the findings and recommendations outlined within the report were included in HR policies, strategies and initiatives that covered these issues.

With Cabinet approval work to develop a methodology for administering the Employee Survey 2016 would start in November 2015.
In accordance with the Council’s Constitution or previous practice the minutes of the meeting of the bodies indicated below were submitted to members for consideration:-

SLSCB - 20th August 2015
SLSCB - 17th September 2015
Tees Valley Unlimited Leadership Board - 22nd July 2015
Consideration was given to a report on the School Organisation Plan 2015 to 2019.

Although the statutory requirement to publish an annual School Organisation Plan was abolished in 2004, the Council had continued to publish an updated plan to inform schools, parents and the general public. The Plan gave information about the number, types and sizes of schools maintained by the Council, Academies and Free Schools. It recorded the number of places available in those schools and it included forecasts of pupil numbers over the next five years. This information was an important resource to support the Council in carrying out its statutory duty to ensure a sufficient supply of school places to meet the needs of children and young people in the borough.

When taken together with documents relating to the condition of school buildings and their suitability for purpose, the information in this plan may help to inform decisions about capital investment in existing or new school buildings.

The ‘School Organisation Plan 2015 to 2019’ described three specific issues to be confronted over the next five years:-

• Rising numbers of four-year-olds starting school
• The beginning of the end of falling numbers in our secondary schools
• Uncertainty over the impact of Academies and possible Free Schools.

The draft plan was attached to the report.
Consideration was given to a report on Stockton on Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report.

The Stockton-on-Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board (SLSCB) was produced annually and was presented to Cabinet for information to Councillors in relation to the achievements and future challenges of the SLSCB. The Annual Report was attached to the report.

There was a requirement (under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009) for Local Safeguarding Children Boards to produce and publish an annual report on the effectiveness of safeguarding in the local area, including the implementation of Serious Case Review action plans.

The Munro Review of Child Protection (2011) recommended that the requirements of this should be amended so that the report could be shared with the Chief Executive and Leader of the Council, and to the local Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chair of the new Health and Wellbeing Board.

It was the intention of SLSCB to share this with all partner agencies and with those that had influence over the services provided to children and families in Stockton-on-Tees. The purpose of this report was:-

- To provide an outline of the main activities of SLSCB and achievements during 2014-15;
- To comment on the effectiveness of safeguarding activity and of SLSCB in supporting this;
- To provide the public and partner agencies with an overview of safeguarding activity;
- To identify gaps and challenges in service development in the year ahead.
Consideration was given to a report on the Playing Pitch Strategy.

As part of the Stockton Council’s (SBC) commitment to improving leisure facilities whilst increasing efficiency, the Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) was designed and developed to identify investment and rationalisation opportunities pertaining to playing pitch sites across six sports and six different facility types. A copy of the PPS Action Plan was attached to the report.

The purpose of the PPS was:-

“To provide an appropriate number of accessible, high quality and sustainable network of outdoor sports facilities.”

Whilst one of the main drivers for the strategy was to identify potential sites and opportunities for investment into sport, it was also designed to identify sites that had lapsed, were no longer required and could be disposed of to fulfil an alternative purpose.

The Strategy provided a clear, strategic framework for the maintenance and improvement of existing outdoor sports pitches and ancillary facilities between 2015 and 2025. The purpose of the PPS was to help prioritise and target resources where resources were limited.

The PPS covers the following playing pitches and outdoor pitch sports:-

• Football pitches
• Cricket pitches
• Rugby union pitches
• Rugby league pitches
• Artificial grass pitches (AGPs)
• Bowling greens
• Tennis courts

The Strategy was capable of:

• Providing adequate planning guidance to assess development proposals affecting playing fields, as appropriate, directing open space contributions secured through development and informing and shaping local planning policy.
• Inform the protection and provision of sports facilities and the Infrastructure Delivery Plan and S106 and CIL schedules.
• Informing land use decisions in respect of future use of existing playing fields (capable of accommodating pitches) across the borough;
• Providing a strategic framework for the provision and management of playing pitches across the borough;
• Supporting external funding bids and maximise support for playing pitch facilities;
• Providing the basis for on-going monitoring and review of the use, distribution, function, quality and accessibility of playing pitches

In order to comply with the planning for sport framework of Sport England, the three main aims of the strategy reflected Sport England’s planning aim and objectives for sport. They were:-

• AIM 1 - To protect the existing supply of sports facilities where it is needed for meeting current or future needs
• AIM 2 - To enhance outdoor sports facilities through improving quality and management of sites
• AIM 3 - To provide new outdoor sports facilities where there is current or future demand to do so

The strategic recommendations underpinned the identified three main aims and these were detailed within the report.

The Strategy identified each site across the Borough in each of the identified sports and proposes recommended actions for each of these sites that should be implemented where possible over the life of the Strategy (2015-2025). Although the strategy covered facilities across seven sports and identified many opportunities and challenges, the key opportunities and challenges related to the provision of football pitches. This was not to deny the importance of the other sports merely reflecting the numbers participating and the financial impact upon SBC.

The Borough had sufficient pitches to accommodate the sports pitch needs of residents. However a number of these sites cannot be considered to be in secured community use as they sit on school sites and usage was at the discretion of the school and its governing body. That said with the rebuilding of a number of secondary school sites including Ian Ramsey and St Michael sites previously not available to the community would become available.

Key Action 1: In support of AIM 1(b) SBC would continue to work with schools to secure greater access as required. This would increase the number of available high quality playing pitch sites for Junior/ adult football without any additional SBC in investment.

Across Stockton-on-Tees there was an over provision of adults grass pitches and an under provision of grass youth and mini pitches to meet demand. However in line with the FA drive to increase usage of artificial grass pitches (AGP’s) for junior football, Stockton-on-Tees as a borough has four AGP’s (soon to have five) and as such was well placed to meet the needs of junior football clubs both now and in the future.

Upon completion of the planned AGP at Stockton Sixth Form College, the borough would have five AGP’s capable of hosting competitive football. This provision would mitigate the short-falls in mini/ junior provision and reduce the requirement for grass pitches.

There was a challenge in this in that old habits die hard and migration from grass to AGP’s may not happen as seamlessly as liked. However based on the Sheffield example there was confidence that once teams started to migrate and the quality of the playing surface of AGP’s was recognised by junior clubs, then migration of the majority would follow.

Key Action 2A: To deliver a fifth AGP at Stockton 6th Form college. This would ensure that the FA’s aspiration for competitive mini / youth football could be effectively delivered within Stockton-on-Tees along with providing additional capacity to support competitive junior / adult football as required.

Key Action 2B: To work with the FA, Sport England and the junior football league (Teesside Junior Football Alliance) to support a migration of mini and youth football from grass onto AGP’s as soon as was possible.

Migrating mini / junior football from grass onto AGP’s and opening up school sites would increase the number of grass pitches (and associated infrastructure, i.e. changing facilities) available. As a consequence of this action it would enable sites that had lapsed or of relatively poor quality to be taken out of circulation. The sites considered to be lapsed or poor quality were as follows:-

• Former Blakeston School - To be disposed of as per the Cabinet Report - May 2013.
• The Education Centre
• Former Norton School (Lapsed)
• Bluehall Recreation Ground
• Grangefield Recreation Ground
• Darlington Back Lane Recreation Ground
• Yarm Road Recreation Ground

Key Action 3: Develop plans for removing and / or disposing of relevant sites above ensuring that some investment from any disposals was secured for improving existing playing pitch sites.
Consideration was given to a report on the economic climate.

The report, and subsequent quarterly updates, provided Members with an update on information published in the Local Economic Assessment 2014 for Stockton-on-Tees as well as key recent economic announcements.

The report would feed in to work on the Council’s Economic Strategy and would be presented to Cabinet on a quarterly basis. The emphasis of each report would focus on a particular theme as follows:-

• People - focusing on labour supply
• Place - focusing on key economic development locations
• Business - focusing on key sectors and businesses
• Summary Report

Each report was presented in four sections:-

i. Economic Dashboard - This presented a number of key indicators which were monitored at least quarterly

ii. Updates - Summarising key announcements and developments:-

• updates - announcements with implications across key sectors and the region
• business announcements - announcements from some of the key businesses within the Borough
• strategic locations - a brief update on any new development at strategic business locations across the Borough
• training & skills - provides an update on emerging news relating to skills needs and provision

Internet links had been included, where possible, to provide digital viewers of the report with more information on each announcement.

iii. Theme Review - An in depth focus, and the substantive part of the report, on key statistics affecting business, people or place. Most of the referenced statistics in the review were produced annually and cannot be updated quarterly

iv. Case Study - A relevant case study for the theme. For example, the people case study in the report focused on creating apprenticeship opportunities for young people resident in the Borough
Consideration was given to a report on the views and comments received from the Licensing Committee, trade and other interested parties following consultation on the review of the Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy. Members were requested to determine the final policy.

The existing Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy was introduced on 1 May 2012. At their meeting held on 17 October 2014, the Licensing Committee agreed a draft revised policy document in respect of Private Hire and Hackney Carriage licensing for consultation with the trade and other interested parties (Minute L63/14 refers).

All licensees were informed in the ‘Trade Times’ newsletter of the consultation, an advert was placed in a local newspaper and details and a consultation response document were placed on the Trading Standards & Licensing website.

Consultation was undertaken and the Licensing Committee considered the responses received, together with officer’s comments at their meetings on the 15 July 2015 and 20 October 2015. Members considered that various proposed amendments should be incorporated into the draft revised policy and that there were certain issues that Cabinet may wish to consider further and these were detailed within the report. A copy of the revised draft policy following the consultation exercise and the comments made at the Licensing Committee meetings were attached to the report.
Consideration was given to a report on the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy following its review and consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Council previously agreed to adopt Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which enabled the licensing of sexual entertainment venues (Cabinet Decision 20th December 2010 refers). Council also agreed to the introduction of a Sex Establishments Policy (Cabinet Decision 3rd November 2011 refers) . The original policy was adopted following extensive consultation with interested parties including Cleveland Police, representatives of businesses and residents in the Borough, Premise Licence and Club Premise Certificate holders (alcohol licensed premises) and the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.

Since the adoption of the policy in November 2011, no applications for a sexual entertainment licence had been received by the Authority and no issues or concerns had been raised. The Policy set out in detail the Authority’s views in relation to suitability of applicants, number of establishments and where they could be located.

As a result it was proposed that the policy remained relatively unchanged and that the policy be reviewed, in future, every 5 years.

The policy was considered by the Authority’s Licensing Committee on 4th November 2014. Members agreed to a proposal to carry out a consultation exercise with stakeholders.

A consultation exercise was carried out between 20th November 2014 and the 16th January 2015. The review was advertised in the Herald & Post on the 20th November 2014, with a copy of the policy available on the Trading Standards & Licensing website. No comments were received.

A copy of the Policy was also circulated to Responsible Authorities designated under the Licensing Act including Public Health, Planning, Environmental Health, Local Safeguarding Children’s Board and Cleveland Police.
Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on the EIT Asset Review and the Schools Capital investment Strategy, building on earlier reports to Members.

The Report summarised progress in implementing recommendations in respect of the Review of Libraries, provided an update on progress around Asset Transfer arrangements and provided an update recommendations around Site Disposal Strategy.

With regard to the Former Campus School Sport Block - Marsh House Avenue significant investment had taken place on the former Campus School site to develop a hub with shared governance and usage to meet the needs of young people who were under-engaged, demotivated and/or likely to flourish in a traditional academic environment. To date this had included:-

• A new £1.6m specialist Skills Academy which opened in spring which is being managed and ran by Stockton Riverside College (Bede College).

• Adaptations to the former Technology block and the City Learning Centre to provide accommodation for Key Stage 1 -3 Pupil Referral Unit both modern buildings in excellent condition.

The above developments concluded the Council’s aspirations to develop a hub around enhanced vocational provision on the site.

In addition to the above buildings, there was also a sports block which was being managed on the Council’s behalf by Northfield School. This provided sports and recreational facilities and was regularly used by the community. The sport facilities did not include the swimming pool which, due to extensive condition issues, had to be closed to the public in summer of 2014. The remaining area of the site had Cabinet approval for development and disposal.

Recently there had been a number of enquiries from the public and user groups around the future of the former Sports Block including two expressions of interest under the community asset transfer policy Let’s Share. One approach included a request to include a proportion of the land identified for disposal to be made into junior football pitches and for the building to provide a hub a local junior team. This would also include working with other users to retain a valuable community facility. In line with the Strategy it was proposed the building be advertised for asset transfer in order to progress this proposal.

With regard to the expansion of schools studies had been carried out and were assessed primarily in terms of identifying the most suitable schools to expand and to provide sufficient additional capacity in the correct locations.
However deliverability and value for money were also major considerations.
7 key schools were identified for possible expansion:-

- Bowesfield Primary, Stockton - proposed increase from 1fe to 2fe school
- St Patricks RC Primary, Stockton - proposed increase from 1fe to 1.5fe school
- St John the Baptist CE Primary, Stockton - proposed increase from 1fe to 1.5fe school
- St Marks CE Primary, Stockton - proposed increase from 1.5fe to 2fe school
- Hardwick Green Academy, Stockton - proposed increase from 1fe to 2fe school
- Thornaby CE Primary, Thornaby - proposed increase from 1.5fe to 2fe school
- Christ the King RC Primary, Thornaby - proposed increase from 1.5fe to 2fe primary

Meetings had been held with the respective schools, Governing Bodies, Diocese and Academy Trusts where appropriate. Agreement in principle had been reached with all 7 schools.

The details of the disposals of the assets with the terms agreed were attached to the report and were exempt.

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