Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Cabinet Minutes

Thursday, 16th November, 2017
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, Cllr Michael Smith and Cllr Norma Wilburn.
Neil Schneider (CE), Beccy Brown, Ged Morton (HR&L), Garry Cummings (F&BS), Ann Workman (A&H), Martin Gray (CHS), Reuben Kench (CL&E), Jane Edmends (EG&D), Jamie McCann, Jayne Robins (CS), Julie Danks, Margaret Waggott, Peter Mennear, Gary Woods, Peter Bell (DCE) .
In Attendance:
Councillor Derrick Brown (Chair of Place Select Committee), Councillor Lisa Grainge (Chair of Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee), Councillor Carol Clark (Chair of Children and Young People Select Committee), Councillor Paul Rowling, Councillor Barbara Inman and Members of the Public.
Apologies for absence:
Item Description Decision
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and the evacuation procedure was noted.
Councillor Steve Nelson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 5 - Place Select Committee - Scrutiny Review of Asylum Seekers Services as he was a member of the North East Migration Partnership.

Councillor Ann McCoy declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 5 - Place Select Committee - Scrutiny Review of Asylum Seekers Services as she was a member of the North East Migration Partnership.

Councillor Jim Beall declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 7 - Children and Young People Select Committee - Scrutiny Review of SEND - Preparing for Adulthood as he was a member of the governing body at Rosebrook School.

Councillor Bob Cook declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 7 - Children and Young People Select Committee - Scrutiny Review of SEND - Preparing for Adulthood as he was a member of the governing body at Billingham South School.

Councillor Norma Wilburn declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 7 - Children and Young People Select Committee - Scrutiny Review of SEND - Preparing for Adulthood as her grandson had special education needs.

Councillor Nigel Cooke declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 9 - Minutes of Various Bodies as he was employee of TEWV.

Councillor Steve Nelson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 11 - Targeted Action Approach to Older Housing as he a Director of Thirteen and a member of Catalyst.

Councillor Steve Nelson declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in respect of agenda item 12 - Victoria Estate Regeneration - Revised Scheme Proposal as he was a Director Thirteen Group. Councillor Steve Nelson withdrew from the meeting and left the room during consideration of the item.

Councillor Ann McCoy declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 12 - Victoria Estate Regeneration - Revised Scheme Proposal as she was a member of SDAIS.

Councillor Nigel Cooke declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 13 - Update on the Governing Body and the Annual Report for Learning and Skills as he was a member of governor of Learning and Skills Service.

Councillor Jim Beall declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 13 - Update on the Governing Body and the Annual Report for Learning and Skills as he was a member of governor of Learning and Skills Service.

Councillor Norma Wilburn declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 13 - Update on the Governing Body and the Annual Report for Learning and Skills as she was on the Board of Governors at Stockton Riverside College.

Councillor Norma Wilburn declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 15 - Vacancies for LA Governors on School Governing Bodies as her husband was named within the report.

Councillor Steve Nelson declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 6 - Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee - Scrutiny Review of Defibrillators as he was a member of Tees Credit Union.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 October 2017 be confirmed and signed as a correct record.
Cabinet Decision Record D170092

1. A clear pathway and information about what asylum seeker services are on offer in Stockton-on-Tees be provided.

2. The frequent issues raised in relation to unrelated adult asylum seekers being forced to room-share be acknowledged and such practice be objected to, but it be noted that any attempts at preventing this would be difficult to enforce. The Government be encouraged to consider the position on room-sharing of unrelated adults when forming the post-2019 asylum contracts.

3. The North East Migration Partnership (NEMP) ensures it continues to effectively represent the views of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, in the context of effective representation and involvement of all Local Authorities in the region.

4. There should be closer working with local voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations, including:

a) ensuring that asylum seekers have the confidence and awareness to support their ability to raise issues of concern to the VCS and the Council, contributing to the intelligence needed to support action such as targeted inspections (of poor quality private rented accommodation) where necessary.

b) enhanced links with refugee-led community organisations (RCOs) via the Regional Refugee Forum North East to increase understanding of asylum seeker issues/concerns.

c) continued development of hate crime reporting processes to ensure asylum seekers and refugees have the confidence to report issues.

5. Information-sharing between agencies be strengthened to ensure joined-up processes, including:

a) notifications from local delivery partners of Home Office decisions (for leave to remain, discontinued, fled, deported), communicated via G4S and/or their contracted accommodation partner, be shared with Housing and Education teams as soon as possible to enable effective planning and provision to be made across all relevant partners.

b) the establishment of a clear protocol for asylum seeker children school admission, with key information provided to the Admissions Team and schools for the purposes of a robust induction, should form part of the planning for new contracts post-2019.

6. There is a need for additional opportunities for asylum seekers to access basic / fundamental English language courses or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes.

7. The Government be encouraged to ensure that, when forming the post -2019 asylum contracts, an approach be taken which would enable aspects of provision, such as support, to be met by local partners. The Local Authority can then explore the feasibility of bidding for elements of the post - 2019 asylum contracts once these have been confirmed.
Cabinet Decision Record D170093
RESOLVED that the Council:-

1. Reviews and where necessary enhances, promotional activity in relation to prevention of heart disease;

2. Considers opportunities:

a) to increase public awareness of the importance of first aid for cardiac arrest, and increase public confidence in the use of CPR and defibrillators;
b) to promote increased participation on formal first aid courses within the local community;
c) to promote and support the role of Community First Responder;

3. Should strongly encourage all schools and colleges to give consideration to including first aid training (including CPR and use of an AED) for all students at an appropriate point in the curriculum;

4. Should, taking into account existing provision, funding opportunities, and good practice as outlined in this review report, install/assist the installation of publicly accessible defibrillators where significant gaps in provision exist. Ensure that first aid training opportunities are integral to this programme;

5. Encourage existing holders of static AEDs to consider how they can be made more accessible to the general public, including conversion to a publicly accessible defibrillator (‘cPAD’), in conjunction with North East Ambulance Service;

6. Encourage existing holders of static AEDs across the Borough to make sure their locations are registered with North East Ambulance Service.
Cabinet Decision Record D170094

1. Activity to prepare children and young people with SEND for adulthood should be formalised at Year 9, and at an earlier age wherever possible.

2. The production of the guidance for young people, parent / carers, and professionals be endorsed, and the Children and Young People Select Committee receive an update following the initial roll out.

3. Case studies be used as part of wider improvements to the information provided to young people and their parents / carers, in relation to their future options.

4. The Council explore options to work with colleges to facilitate earlier entry into the further education sector / environment for some of those students who may stay in the school environment until the age of 19 in order to increase their independence.

5. The Council continues to work with post-16 providers and employers to develop meaningful employability and employment opportunities, and as part of this work, further develops its own role as an employer.

6. Improvements to data collection be made in relation to the destinations and outcomes for young people with SEND.

7. A further update on progress within the CCG / local NHS on their improvement plans and preparation for inspection, be provided to the Children and Young People Select Committee within six months.

8. The Council ensure effective arrangements are in place to capture the voice of children and young people with SEND, particularly in relation to views on transition into adulthood.

Cabinet Decision Record D170095
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D170096
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings detailed in the appendices be approved / received, as appropriate.
Cabinet Decision Record D170097
RESOLVED that the proposed further consultation with Stockton Youth Assembly on the topics discussed at this year’s Borough wide Debate be approved and these be developed into a Forward Plan of activity for the Stockton Youth Assembly during the course of its two year term of office.
Cabinet Decision Record D170098

1. The proposal for a targeted intervention approach as detailed within the body of this report be supported.

2. The proposal to explore an enhanced Selective Licensing scheme be approved ‘in principle’.

3. The approach will require £250K per annum for three years and Cabinet will be asked to consider a recommendation to Council for this as part of a future report to Cabinet on the Medium Term Financial Plan.
Cabinet Decision Record D170099

1. The challenges associated with the development of an Urban Village Living proposal providing accommodation for those exclusively over 55+years’ on the Victoria site be noted and subsequently Officers be endorsed to explore alternative residential proposals which will provide a range of accommodation types including both family and older persons housing.

2. Approval be delegated to the Director of Economic Growth & Development and Director of Finance & Business Services to explore the relationship between the Council and the Thirteen Group in terms of how best to deliver a successful regeneration scheme and to commence negotiations on a draft Heads of Terms.

3. A further report be presented back to Cabinet in January 2018 which would detail a timeline for both the development of the site and demolition of Elm House.
Cabinet Decision Record D170100

1. The progress made in the development of the Board of Governors be noted.

2. The performance of the Learning and Skills Service be noted.

3. The priorities of the Service in 2017-18 be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D170101
RESOLVED that the report be noted, and in particular the achievements around:-

1. The performance in respect of young people not in education, employment or training.

2. The continued performance and outcomes from inspection for our residential care homes.
Cabinet Decision Record D170102
RESOLVED that the following appointments be made to the vacant Governorships subject to successful List 99 check and Personal Disclosure:-

Bowesfield Primary School - Alison Thomas (school nomination)
Crooksbarn Primary School - Councillor Dave Wilburn
Oxbridge Lane Primary School - Mrs Joanne Measor (school nomination)
Cabinet Decision Record D170103

1. The contents of the report be noted.

2. The performance monitoring outcomes and observations provided be noted.

RECOMMENDED to Council:-

3. The current Local Council Tax Support Scheme be retained for the financial year 2018-19.
Cabinet Decision Record D170104
RECOMMENDED to Council that the construction of a second chapel be supported with associated increase in prudential borrowing, to ensure that Stockton’s Crematorium provides flexible service levels and is future proofed continuing to serve the needs of our community now and in the years to come.
Cabinet Decision Record D170105
RESOLVED that note the actions taken to strengthen measures to protect the public against terrorist threat at events and endorse the adoption of the further threat mitigation measures outlined.
  • Appendix 1
This is the exempt information that was considered with regard to the above item. Please see the above item for the decision of Cabinet.
4.30 pm to 6.30 pm.


Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 12 October 2017.
Consideration was given to a report that presented the outcomes of the Place Select Committee’s review of Asylum Seeker Services.
Consideration was given to a report that presented the outcomes of the Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee’s review of Defibrillators.

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were available in many public, community and private places around the country, and were designed to be used by people with no medical training. They could play a key role in improving survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrest.

The aim of the review was to: to consider the role of defibrillators in treating out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA); to review their availability, accessibility and utilisation in Stockton-on-Tees; and to make recommendations to improving the response to OHCA in the Borough.
Consideration was given to a report that presents the outcomes of the Children and Young People Select Committee’s Review of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) - Preparation for Adulthood.

The aim of the review was to consider the wider context for SEND within Stockton Borough, with a particular focus on preparing for adulthood as this was identified as an area for further development. SEND services were subject to a joint Ofsted / Care Quality Commission inspection process that would consider the quality of the planning and provision of health, care and education services.
Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on the Council Plan.

Although the Council continued to face huge ongoing financial and economic challenges, it remained ambitious for Stockton-on-Tees and it never lost sight of the fact that it was here to serve the people of the Borough.

The scale of the challenge was unprecedented and left the Council facing more difficult decisions, but it continued to deliver on the big plans set out in the Council Plan.

Council was committed to developing to ensure it delivered high quality, customer focused services that met the changing needs of its communities.

A copy of the Council Plan was attached to the report.
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:-

SSP - 12 September 2017
TSAB - 18 October 2017
TVCA - Cabinet - 27 July 2017
Consideration was given to a report that provided feedback regarding the Borough Wide Conversation event held on 31st July 2017 with young people of the Borough, including analysis undertaken since the event with topic leads regarding the action they proposed be taken in response to the comments that had been received.

The action proposed included issues that were recommended become the subject of further consultation over its two year term with the Stockton Youth Assembly, the democratically appointed body representing young people’s voice in the Borough.
Consideration was given to a report on a Targeted Action Approach to Older Housing.

There were areas of the Borough with high concentrations of low value, terraced housing (specifically the central Stockton and the Victoria area within the Mandale and Victoria Ward in Thornaby) which due to falling housing demand were seeing an increasing number of properties being purchased for the private rental market.

Unfortunately as rental values were lower in these areas, a number of these properties were occupied by either vulnerable households or those with limited housing choices who were often transient residents with chaotic lifestyles. As a result these local communities were often hotspots for crime, anti-social behaviour and experience high numbers of empty properties and high property turnovers.

In order to support the local communities in these localities it was proposed to implement an area based, targeted intervention approach providing a visible, neighbourhood management presence. At the ‘HUB’ of this proposal was an enhanced Selective Licensing scheme.

Members were asked to support ‘in principle’ the introduction of an enhanced Selective Licensing Scheme for the older, terraced housing areas located in central Stockton and Victoria in the Victoria and Mandale ward. Subject to this agreement, Officers (working collaboratively with a range of partners internal and external to the Council) would work up a detailed (and fully costed) proposal.

This proposal would explore the potential resource required from the Council in terms of additional measures which may be required, for example to facilitate / strengthen community engagement and enhanced community safety measures. A further report would then be presented back to Cabinet for detailed consideration and as noted it would include a financial appraisal in terms of anticipated income and the wider financial implications for the Council.

Should Members determine they wished to proceed with selective licensing it would also include proposals in relation to ‘designated’ areas, the proposed fee structure, the conditions to be contained within a license, the process of consultation and an implementation timeline.

The enhanced selective licensing scheme was the initial ‘HUB’ (or catalyst) of the targeted action area proposal. In addition to progressing this option, working with partner agencies (and internal Council service teams) work would also start to explore other ‘bespoke’ issues which the older housing areas in both central Stockton and Victoria are experiencing.
Consideration was given to a report on the Victoria Estate Regeneration - Revised Scheme Proposal.

Cabinet had previously agreed to explore the concept of Urban Village Living (promoting active and healthy living) on the town centre, urban regeneration site. The recent completion of a robust option appraisal had identified that a development of this nature, whilst attractive, would not at this time deliver a financially viable development proposal in this location. In light of this, immediate work had commenced to explore alternative residential proposals.

The purpose of the report was to provide an update on the revised residential proposal and to reassure Members that the development of a new, quality, town centre residential quarter would transform the Victoria site and support the Council’s broader vision for a vibrant and sustainable Stockton town centre.

An architect had been procured to work with the Council / Thirteen Project Team to develop a scheme, capable of being ready for submission for a planning approval. The work would run concurrently with the development of a new financial appraisal. As part of this exercise the Council would explore both the mix of housing in terms of type and tenure (to ensure the Council addressed the continued requirements for both family and older persons housing) and whether the site could also support the Councils custom and self-build obligations.

As noted in previous Cabinet reports, once cleared 80% of the land would be transferred back into the ownership of SBC, with the remaining 20% remaining in the ownership of the Thirteen Group. This split in ownership, plus the potential investment capabilities of both partners would be further explored as part of the development of a revised business case.

Throughout this exercise one of the perceived ‘negatives’ on any future redevelopment proposal was Elm House (in particular the original Elm House construction). Members were aware Thirteen made the decision to decant the residential floors of the building and all residential accommodation was vacant and secure. Running in parallel to the residential decant was the ongoing appraisal which was exploring the wider considerations associated with the ground floor uses.

Due to this mix of commercial and residential users an option appraisal had considered a variety of options which include both full and partial demolition (i.e. removal of the residential storeys plus all or part of the ground floor). The Children’s Nursery were vacating the building having made the voluntary decision to close and discussions had commenced with SDIAS regarding a town centre re-location option. Members were asked to note that the Council and Thirteen were working collaborating to determine a final decision, however given the position the preferred option was partial demolition i.e. the original footprint of Elm House to be demolished.

Thirteen were working closely with the Council to determine the most efficient demolition programme for Elm House (with the aim of instigating as soon as is practical). The January 2018 follow-up Cabinet report would confirm the final proposal, including an indicative demolition timeframe and an overview of necessary works.

Members were requested to delegate approval to the Directors of Economic Growth of Development and Finance and Business Services to explore potential delivery options (including commencing negotiations with Thirteen on a draft Heads of Terms). Once this exercise had been complete a further report would be presented back to Cabinet (January 2017), this report would also detail a timeline for the development of the site in terms of the critical pre planning preparation stages and post planning approval (i.e. start on site and a build programme).
Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on the development of the Governing Body for Learning and Skills along with information on the successes and strategic decisions taken by the Learning and Skills Service during academic year 2016/17.

The Governing Body met for the first time on 20th October 2016 for the first stage of induction. During its infancy, the Board was supported by the National Leaders of Governance support service, funded by the Education and Training Foundation, to improve provider performance, support the chair of governors and improve board effectiveness. The induction took the board through the Terms of Reference of the Governing Body and the board reviewed the L&S Service’s self-assessment plan and quality improvement plan to give background to board members about the position and the planned improvements to move the Service closer to becoming an outstanding provider and to help steer the Service in line with Stockton Borough Council and Tees Valley Combined Authority priorities.

The Board was further supported by the National Leaders of Governance officer, Karen Adriaanse - a former HMI for OFSTED who delivered a workshop on ‘Outstanding Leadership and Management within the FE Sector’. Governors were clear on the OFSTED expectations of them and how they linked with the Service’s own expectations from the board. Governors were using the OFSTED Common Inspection Framework to support them in their challenge and scrutiny of Learning and Skills performance reports.

In addition to board meetings, governors were involved in the celebration of the Service success and had participated in events such as the awards evenings and photography exhibitions. Link Governor roles were helping to strengthen safeguarding, ‘Prevent’ and Equality and Diversity across the Service.

Governors would further strengthen their support for the Service by carrying out Learning Walkthroughs to gain a more in depth awareness of the learning culture. The Learner representative would help strengthen the learner voice in shaping the future of the Service.

An attachment to the report showed the number of enrolments by ward area and demonstrated that the Adult Education Budget was well used to support learners from the most disadvantaged wards across the Stockton Borough.

As per the Service’s strategic plan, the curriculum offer was fully aligned to Stockton Borough Council’s strategic objectives and the Tees Valley Combined Authority priorities for economic growth. An attachment to the report showed that, in 2016/17, the curriculum had been purposefully aligned to priority areas where there were real job opportunities and that the bulk of funding had been targeted to support economic regeneration through up-skilling of local residents. 58.5% of Stockton learners were from the most disadvantaged wards of the Borough. This was an increase of 7.5% from 2015/16.

The priorities for 2017/18 were detailed within the report.
Consideration was given to a report that provided a summary of performance across Children’s Services. It was based on the Children’s Strategy priorities agreed by Cabinet in June 2017.

The report summarised performance information in relation to the Children’s Services Strategy 2017-20. The strategy, agreed by Cabinet in June 2017, set out the key priorities for Children’s services, and the key performance indicators associated with delivery.

The update report was in the following parts:

a. Update on our 2017/18 priorities
b. Update on other actions and progress against the wider strategy, including key performance measures.

The next quarter would see:
a. The award of the contract for the 0-19 service
b. A report on education outcomes for vulnerable children to Cabinet in December
c. An update on the peer challenge process and outcomes
d. An update on issues associated with waiting lists and times for children around autism diagnosis which is a significant issue for children, young people and families and has also been identified as a significant risk for a future SEND inspection.
e. An update on the borough wide annual conversation and how this will be taken forward.
f. Feedback on the next corporate parenting event, and the regional children in care conference, both being held in Stockton in November.
In accordance with the procedure for the appointment of school/academy governors, approved as Minute CAB 27/13 of the Cabinet (13 June 2013), Cabinet was invited to consider the nominations to school/academy Governing Bodies listed as listed in the report.
Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on the monitoring of outcomes and impacts of welfare reform and a summary of actions undertaken by the Council to mitigate against circumstances arising from the implementation of these changes.

Regular reports on welfare reform had been provided to Cabinet for several years, providing updates with regard to the further roll-out of welfare reforms and interventions the Council was making to manage the impact on residents.

Trends had been identified and monitored such as heightened activity around benefit sanctions, increases in the use of local food banks and shifts in the rented housing sector from social to private landlords.

The Local Government Finance Act imposed a duty upon local councils from 2013-14 to adopt a Local Council Tax Support Scheme (LCTSS), to replace Council Tax Benefit. Members considered a number of options for Stockton’s LCTSS and, following public consultation, agreed on the “shared reduction” option with all working age claimants paying a minimum contribution of 20% of the Council Tax charge.

Members recommended to Council that the existing LCTSS be retained for the financial year 2018-19. LCTSS were not fully funded so there could be some impact on the medium term financial plan and reports would be provided as part of the financial report to Cabinet. Any future scheme review would require full consultation with the public.
Consideration was given to a report that sought approval, to build a second chapel at the crematorium and to incur the additional Prudential Borrowing required.

The decision to build and manage the Council’s own Crematorium was approved by Cabinet on 20 April 2017 and then by Council on 3 May 2017. Prudential borrowing was agreed for up to £6.35m which would provide a facility, two cremators and one chapel.

Since the project began officers had had further opportunity to collect examples of best practice from other operators of crematoria around the UK, seek further views of a range of service users and agencies, as well as firm up on construction costs and consider demand and disruption.

As the project had developed, best practice had been sought and information and views from service users and agencies had been gathered. As a result it had been established that many people choose to have a smaller service as they may prefer that only a small circle of friends or relatives attend the crematorium and this would be difficult to accommodate from a single chapel, albeit it was acknowledged that some modification to the single chapel could be made to accommodate more intimate Services.

As part of the intensive research into national best practice, Officers visited many locations which included a visit to Rainsbrook Crematorium (Rugby Borough Council & Daventry District Council), opened in April 2014 with two chapels - one seating 120, the second seating 50 mourners which were the similar numbers as those proposed for Stockton.

Following further consultation, the Crematorium Manager had confirmed that since opening the bookings for each chapel had remained a 50/50 split. Bookings for the smaller chapel were predominantly driven by the customer’s personal choice and those who simply want a committal service.

Two chapels would provide more availability and / or double the amount of 'preferred times' i.e. consider large chapel with services every hour, smaller chapel on the half hour which would prevent delays.

In addition it had been established that there may be times when committal only services were required. This was when the funeral service may take place at the families own place of worship with a short committal service in the crematorium chapel - potentially a service of this nature would take 10 minutes, yet we would be tying up the large chapel for 45 minutes. (As with all funerals, the reception of the coffin in the committal room and its introduction into a cremator can be witnessed by prior arrangement).

Direct cremation was also becoming more popular. This when the body of the person who had died was cremated (or buried) without a funeral ceremony.

Funeral poverty was also becoming more of an issue, one in seven people were experiencing financial difficulty when paying for a funeral. Alternative services which treat all people with dignity and respect needed to be provided.

The introduction of a second chapel would allow progress the services above and provide customers with flexible and varied service options to meet need.

The work that had been done in preparation for Stockton’s own Crematorium had involved a significant amount of research both through contact with the Institute of Cemeteries and Crematoria (ICCM), benchmarking visits to other providers (ran by LA’s and the private sector) as well as using the services of an experienced Consultant.

This work had confirmed that the business case stacked up for Stockton, both in terms of meeting the needs of the communities as well as from a financial payback model. It was acknowledged that the maximum operating capacity of a single chapel is 1668 cremations per year (based on 33 cremations per week from 9.15am through to 4.00pm every day). For information, Teesside Crematorium currently undertakes 2932 cremations (figures as at 2014).

In preparing the original business case it was felt that it would be several years before this maximum was exceeded. Figures issued by the Office of National Statistics however, had revealed that this could be sooner than we had originally expected. These figures related to the number of deaths in the Borough so did not reflect decisions around burial or cremation (although cremation was by far the most popular 81% favouring this currently), nor do they reflect decisions about service level or location. Nonetheless, it was expected that the maximum could be reached as early as year 8.

Once exceeded a second chapel would need to be built. Current estimates were this would cost circa £1m. The Council could wait to do this until it had been delivering the service for a period which would help to firm up usage numbers, however this would incur additional cost and would disrupt the service.

If the Council were to install the second chapel after the initial build it would incur an additional 40% cost i.e. circa £1.4m rather than £1m and it would lose the opportunity in the early years, of the differing service levels outlined above.

In addition there would be significant risks in relation to business continuity due to the scale of works associated with the retro fitting of a second chapel. It may be necessary to close the facility for a period of time. If it was possible to keep the facility open whilst undertaking the works, it was likely that some disruption to customers may occur. It was also noted that there was risk of some reputation damage, if Stockton had failed to future proof the facility by adding on a second chapel less than 10 years after it was opened.

Given the above it was recommended that the second chapel be built as part of the initial build. Additional borrowing of £1m was required. This would mean an additional annual cost of £66k per year (including some additional running costs), which could be accommodated within the surplus outlined in the original report to Council (£1.87m by year 10). Given the additional capacity it was expected that the surplus would be higher.
Consideration was given to a report that gave an update on counter terrorism. The UK terrorism threat remained at Severe. Officers across all departments continued to work with Police and other partners to respond to the general threat and strengthen procedures.

The report provided an update on Stockton Council’s work on terrorism threat mitigation in relation to events. This included strengthening event planning, threat assessment, dialogue with external agencies, training for staff and physical protection measures.

In addition to the Council’s own internal processes and protocols, the report also considered what actions and support the Council could introduce to help community groups and other external event organisers, in raising their own awareness and helping them understand what steps they could take to improve their own security arrangements.

Additional costs associated with terrorism protection and hostile vehicle threat mitigation were anticipated and referenced in previous reports. Some provision was made in the MTFP to cover short term measures whilst longer term options were explored. Work on longer term measures was not yet complete but a further allocation would be required in the 2017/18 MTFP.

Information contained within the report could be of value to anyone considering an attack in this area and the detail was therefore contained within a confidential appendix. Taken out of context the contents could also be misinterpreted by the public leading to a fear that the threat level had increased, which it had not. This gave further cause for the appendix to be dealt with as a reserved item and not for publication.

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