|Consideration was given to a report on Building Schools for the Future (BSF): Strategy for Change.|
On 21 July 2008 Cabinet agreed the BSF Strategy for Change Part One (SfC1) for submission to government. That document was circulated for Members information and described in outline how the Authority intended to use BSF investment to transform educational opportunities for young people in the borough. SfC1 was approved by government agencies in September 2008. The second part of the Strategy for Change (SfC2) was due for submission. The document concentrated on those schools included in the first of the two BSF funding waves: the six mainstream secondary schools in central Stockton, the two secondary special schools, the pupil referral unit and the proposed Academies in Stockton and Thornaby. A second Strategy for Change would cover the remaining schools when the timing of the second wave of funding was confirmed.
SfC2 included the outcomes of option appraisals to determine the nature of building work appropriate to each school site to support educational transformation within the BSF capital funding allocation. SfC2 also expanded on key elements of the BSF education strategy that would apply borough-wide. All secondary headteachers and college principals had contributed to the development of these sections of SfC2.
SfC2 must include a statement confirming that the Wave 6 project would be affordable within the resources available to the Authority. A summary of the affordability position was included in the report. The Authority was also required to reaffirm its acceptance of the national BSF funding and procurement model including a Local Education Partnership as the local delivery agent, and a centrally managed ICT service for schools. This was first agreed by Cabinet on 5 October 2006 and a letter signed by the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive was sent as part of the Readiness to Deliver submission. The draft SfC2 as circulated to Members repeated that commitment to the national models.
|Consideration was given to a report on the progress to date in preparing for the transfer of funding and commissioning responsibility for the delivery of quality education and training for young people aged 16-19 from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to individual Local Authorities (LAs) from 2010.|
The report also outlined the Tees Valley Sub-Regional Group's Stage 2 assessment proposal detailing commissioning and partnership arrangements to support the transfer.
In September 2008, following Cabinet agreement, the 5 Tees Valley Authorities submitted to the Director of Children and Learners GO:NE a joint statement of intent outlining how the Tees Valley Authorities intended to work together as a sub-regional group to deliver their new responsibilities for the strategic commissioning of 14-19 education and training on transfer from the LSC in 2010. Individual Cabinets signed up to the sub-regional arrangement. Stockton was identified as the lead authority.
The proposed Tees Valley Sub-Regional Group (SRG) had been ratified. Stage 2 of the process was an assessment, carried out by DCSF in March 2009, to enable a readiness to deliver judgement to be made regarding the group's capacity to deliver at sub-regional level. Groups were invited to submit proposals detailing their commissioning and other partnership arrangements by the end of February 2009, to enable an assessment to be made by April 2009. This was intended to allow sufficient time for working/shadowing relationships to be agreed with the LSC for the start of the commissioning year in September 2009.
By the end of February 2009, the Sub-Regional Group must submit a plan to Government Office North-East outlining it's readiness for operating in the transition year including:
* Governance arrangements;
* Decision making process;
* Dispute resolution;
* Staffing needs;
* Reporting processes, and
* Financial and performance accountabilities.
A national panel would review the plan and make decisions on the readiness of the Sub-Regional Group. Individual feedback would be provided to the Sub-Regional Group via GO:NE from March 2009.
The Tees Valley Stage 2 Proposal was attached to the report.
|Consideration was given to a report on the Strategy for Change, Primary Capital Programme. |
In June 2008, the Strategy for change relating to the Primary Capital Programme was submitted to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). Subject to approval the Council would receive capital allocations for 14 years to support the delivery of the Children's Plan by creating primary schools fit for the 21st century. The overriding objective of the programme was to transform primary education by rebuilding, remodeling or refurbishing at least half the schools.
The response of the DCSF was received in November 2008 and approval had been given to the first year of the programme and the Council had been asked to revise the Strategy in light of several comments from the assessment process. The purpose of the report was to outline progress in developing the specific schemes for 2009/10 and seek approval to the revised draft Strategy for consultation.
The DCSF had already indicated the availability of funding to support the Programme over the next 14 years and for Stockton on Tees, the allocations would be £3,066,466 in 2009/10 £5,444,406 in 2010/11 and possibly £2.5 million for each year thereafter until 2023.
In November 2008 DCSF approved the Strategy for Change but asked that the Strategy be developed further in specific areas. The DCSF approved expenditure for 2009/10 but asked for the revised Strategy to be submitted by the end of March 2009 before further funding would be approved.
The report detailed a number of smaller schemes for the Programme 2009/10 that would be undertaken in the summer months of 2009.
Though reliant on DCSF approval, work would also continue on the briefs for schemes proposed for 2010 and beyond.
A revised draft Strategy for Change was attached to the report. It was proposed that this draft be distributed for consultation with schools, dioceses and other interested parties during February with a closing date for comment in early March. Any changes resulting could be incorporated in the Strategy for onward submission to the DCSF.
The principle changes to the Strategy were summarised within the report.
|Members considered a report produced by the Children and Young People Select Committee and coming from its review of obesity.|
It was explained that, in carrying out the review, the Select Committee had recognised the importance of the issues and had undertook to look at services currently available and to assist the development of an obesity strategy for Stockton Borough.
The Committee therefore met with officers from Stockton-on-Tees Teaching Primary Care Trust as well as Council departments, Tees Active Limited, and GP representation whose work was identified as providing opportunities for limiting or arresting the likelihood of obesity rates rising in the future.
In particular, examination of the Healthy Schools agenda, Council catering, food outlets, sport provision in the borough, planning, transportation including walking and cycling opportunities especially to and from school, and GP referrals, occupied the committee members time.
Members noted that the PCT and Stockton Borough Council, had been visited by the Department of Health's Childhood Obesity National Support Team in September 2007 which provided recommendations to halt the year-on-year rise in obesity among children aged under 11 by 2010. Using this as a basis but widening the Committee's usual remit to include adults, councillors were able to begin to investigate this issue.
A high proportion of residents did not undertake any forms of exercise and increasing numbers of young people that took part in the National Child Measurement Programme had been found to be overweight or obese. This was coupled with a change in food preparation and availability which could include a higher proportion of fat, salt and sugars to be consumed than was advised for a healthy lifestyle. Increased levels of obesity, as a result, was likely to have an impact on public services which the Committee attempted to determine how prevention rather than cure could benefit not only individuals but also the use of council and PCT budgets.
In the Stockton PCT area the estimated annual costs to the NHS of diseases related to overweight and obesity was calculated to be £51.9m in 2007, £53.9m in 2010, and £57.6m in 2015. The Committee was therefore keen to see that the use of financial resources, especially in the current economic climate, is used to the greatest advantage.
The Committee examined the issue of obesity as it affected all stages of an individual's life, from birth, to pre-school, school, and adult life including maternal health and structured its report on the Government's Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives documentation to assist the report's use by Council and PCT staff and its assimilation into current working practice.
The review highlighted many areas of good practice that was already being carried out in a variety of areas within the borough to help individuals tackle the problems of excess weight and their corresponding health issues. The Committee was therefore hopeful that its recommendations would help to co-ordinate the areas of positive working arrangements and go some way to identify the gaps in service provision that will need to be closed.
|Cabinet considered a report relating to the Local Transport Act. The Act received Royal Assent in November 2008, following an 18 month passage through the legislative procedures.|
Members of Cabinet were informed that the Act had three main parts:
* It enabled local authorities to improve the quality of local bus services;
* It reformed the arrangements for local transport governance in major conurbations; and
* It reformed the existing legislation relating to local road pricing schemes.
It was explained that during the Bill's passage through Parliament, the Tees Valley authorities and other partner organisations had been working together in anticipation of the Act to produce a locally-tailored response to all three parts of the Act.
Cabinet was provided with a summary of the Council's joint response with the other Tees Valley Authorities:
* The development of a Quality Partnership Scheme (QPS) with the principal bus operators, in line with the major bus scheme funding bid that was currently with Government for approval. The QPS would follow the scope outlined in the Act and was likely to be the first multi-authority, multi-operator agreement of its type in the country.
* The setting up of a non-statutory Transport Board, Transport for Tees Valley, within the new governance structure of Tees Valley Unlimited.
* A new way of working with the Highways Agency to make better use of the existing strategic road network without the need for a local road pricing scheme for the foreseeable future.
|Consideration was given to a report that provided Members with an overview of the current economic climate, outlining the effects that this would have on Stockton Borough, and the mitigations already in place and those being developed in response to this.|
A report was submitted to Cabinet in December 2008, which set the scene of the economic downturn, and the effects that the global recession and economic climate were having on businesses, rising unemployment, and mortgage repossessions.
The monthly update report would enable a focussed account to be made of any recent changes to economic circumstances (both positive and negative) the direct impact that this may have on the Borough, and the responses and mitigations either in place or being developed to support businesses and residents. Members were provided with a summary of the economic changes that had taken place.
|Consideration was given to a report that summarised the progress made to date by Tees Valley Unlimited and Joint Strategy Unit in their discussions with Government over the Multi Area Agreement and the next steps.|
In November 2008, the Pre Budget Report announced that:-
"Building on the Sub National Review, and Multi Area Agreements in particular, the Government will support city regions to fulfil this role (driving regional and national prosperity and responding to new challenges) by agreeing, on a voluntary and tailored basis, a set of devolutionary proposals with local authorities in city regions, to increase further their ability to drive economic growth and contribute to sustainable development.
The proposals will be underpinned by new statutory arrangements for sub regional co operation between local authorities, supporting strong local capacity, governance and accountability at the city region level.
New arrangements will be developed with the local authority city region leadership, in order to suit particular needs."
Government sent a letter on 22 December 2008 to all upper tier local authority Chief Executives in England inviting them to submit an Expression of Interest in becoming a City Region pilot by 12 January 2009, and a full proposal by 27 February 2009.
The five Tees Valley Chief Executives together with the Chair of Tees Valley Unlimited submitted a holding Expression of Interest letter. This briefly outlined Tees Valley's interest in developing a new agreement with Government that would include initially:-
* a joint board between the city region, the Homes and Communities Agency and the Regional Development Agency (One NorthEast) to provide strategic direction of housing, economic development and regeneration spending; and
* joint investment planning with key partners, including greater flexibility over capital funding to support the more effective programme management of projects. TVU would initially wish to pursue a single capital programme with a long term funding commitment (on the 3+2 years principle) and in the medium term real delegation of funding (i.e. local approval of projects within the investment plan within the Green Book limits).
In the medium to longer term TVU would also wish to consider:
* a city region Employment and Skills Board, with strong employer representation and formal powers to influence provision in line with employer demand; and
* increased statutory responsibilities for strategic transport issues in accord with the recently published guidance on transport governance.
The proposal would be seeking pilot status that would enable, in the short term, the delivery of the fundamental 'asks' that cannot be delivered through the existing Tees Valley Multi Area Agreement (long term funding commitment and a single capital programme).
It proposed, in the medium to longer term, the consideration of statutory body arrangements at the Tees Valley level if these were considered to be necessary to achieve new legislation, powers and funding to be devolved to Tees Valley, and the new legislation, powers and funding were considered beneficial for the area by the Tees Valley local authorities. It did not commit any of the Tees Valley local authorities to the establishment of such arrangements at this stage.
The proposal was based on the principle that it was to achieve the devolution of functions, powers and funding down from central government to the Tees Valley level and not the passing up of functions, powers and funding from the Borough Councils.
Functions, powers and funding that would require new legislation and potentially statutory arrangements at the Tees Valley level might include:
* delegation of approval of projects for RDA and HCA funding,
* establishment of a Tees Valley Integrated Transport Authority,
* greater flexibility for RSLs to provide flexible tenures,
* ability to influence the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contracts, the Skills Funding Agency funding, the Young Peoples Learning Agency funding and the Business Link contract,
* designation of City Strategy status with the associated funding, and
devolution of DWP funding and ability to commission activity within Tees Valley.
|Cabinet considered a report that advised of the proposed merger of the Safer Stockton Partnership and Stockton Drugs Action Team (DAT) Steering Group.|
The Safer Stockton Partnership was established in 1998, and Stockton DAT Steering Group was established in 2000 (on the dissolution of the former Teesside DAT). The two Partnerships had worked in close co-operation and since 2004 have had two joint meetings per year, meeting as the Safer Stockton Partnership/DAT Integration Group.
Following discussion at the meeting of the Integration Group in May 2008 an options paper on future working arrangements was presented to the meeting of the Integration Group on 4 November, and a decision in principle was made by members of the two Partnerships to merge the two governance bodies. It was noted that the decision did not entail any changes to staffing structure or budget management at office level.
It was explained that the Safer Stockton Partnership was led jointly by the Council, Cleveland Police, Cleveland Police Authority, Cleveland Fire Brigade and Stockton-on-Tees Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT). The Stockton DAT arrangements were led jointly by the Council and the PCT, via the Adult Strategy Team.
The prospective timescale for completion of full merger was April or May 2009. This would allow time for the preparation of a draft constitution for the merged Partnership and associated paperwork, and for more detailed consultation with the full membership of both bodies to take place. It was noted that GONE was supportive of the merger proposal.
Cabinet Members were informed that a separate study was taking place as to whether or not the Drugs Action Team took on formal responsibility for alcohol misuse, becoming a Drugs and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT), as was the position in some other areas. If the extension to the DAT role was confirmed, this would be taken into account in the detailed merger proposals.
|Consideration was given to a report on Present Park and Hall Redevelopment.|
At the time of this meeting Preston Park was the biggest recreational park in the Tees Valley, and the largest and most visited facility in Stockton Borough. The Park & Hall was the most visited facility in Teesside throughout the 80's and early 90's, a position Officers believed could be regained. However, the attractions were now generally run down.
The Stockton Museum Strategy 2005 set the objective of establishing a master plan for the redevelopment of the Park & Hall. The master plan was produced through lengthy and widespread consultation, incorporating the recommendations of the 2006 Adults Leisure & Culture Select Committee review. The master plan was approved by Cabinet in June 2007 as a basis for major funding applications.
The Council was unsuccessful in its application for funding from the BIG Lottery Parks For People scheme for improvements to the Park, but was successful in securing an offer of £3.58million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for works to the Hall.
The report outlined the package of works that were deliverable in the first phase and to gain approval for the resources required, including the release of the Spence Bequest, to match the HLF offer and fund these works.
|Consideration was given to a report that detailed the results of a review of the Community Access Point service at Ingleby Barwick. The Ingleby Barwick Community Access Point was the first of a proposed borough-wide network of locations that operated on a part-time basis. Customers that wanted to interact with the Council on a face-to-face basis, but were unable to access one of three main multi-service centres, can call-in to talk to a Customer Service Officer.|
In January 2006, Cabinet approved a vision for the way that the Council's customers might access its services in the future. This became the Council's Access to Services Programme and included the development of a corporate telephone contact centre, three multi-service centre in the town centres of each of Stockton, Billingham and Thornaby and a borough-wide network of "Community Access Points" for customers who had special needs or lived in outlying communities and might not be able to access one of the three town centre multi-service centres.
The plan for the Community Access Points was that through the use of mobile technology and the new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, Customer Service Officers could work in outlying areas on a "surgery" basis, visiting various locations regularly (e.g. once a week). Although it might not be possible to resolve the same range of queries at first point of contact as at one of the main multi-service centres, customers would be able to talk to officers face-to-face and the officer concerned would take ownership of any queries or requests for service that are raised, either dealing with them on the spot or following them through when they return to the main office.
During 2006, consultation exercises were undertaken with Members and Viewpoint Focus Groups to consider possible locations for the Community Access Points. Suggestions included supermarkets, GP surgeries and the mobile library bus. The consultation indicated that this type of service would be welcomed, however it was difficult to gauge demand. It was therefore decided that, initially, one network point should be set up as a pilot, to enable further analysis and review.
In following up customer suggestions, an approach was made to Tesco Ingleby Barwick branch where management expressed an interest in working with officers to establish a Community Access Point within the store. Space could be provided for a "Council stand" in the main customer thoroughfare together with a room for private discussions with customers. It was decided to open the first Community Access Point within the Tesco store and that this should form the pilot scheme. Experiences of the exercise would inform the roll-out of other Access Points.
The Access Point was launched on 11th January 2008. It opened between 11:00am and 3:00pm each Friday. The hours of operation were originally 1:00pm to 4:30pm; however these were changed in September, to try to pick-up Tesco's mid-day customers, as it had been noticed that there were very few visitors later on in the afternoon.
Even with in-store publicity, promotions in Stockton News and local Ingleby Barwick newsletters, take-up of the service had been disappointing, averaging 9 enquiries per week. April 2008 was the busiest month with 62 enquiries and September was the quietest month with only 20 enquiries. With two members of staff available, there was the capacity to deal with many more enquiries.
A review of the Ingleby Barwick service had been undertaken, to inform a decision about a possible change in venue, frequency or time of the service. This had included consultation with residents and ward councillors, and trying radio as a new method of promotion. At its meeting on 4th December 2008, Cabinet requested a further report on the results of the review and recommendations arising from it.
During November 2008 a survey of Ingleby Barwick residents was undertaken to ascertain:
* Awareness of the Tesco Community Access Point service
* Awareness of the radio advertising campaign
* Use of the service
* Satisfaction with the way in which the service is delivered
* Potential future use of the service
* Need for the service
* Suitability of the location and days/times of operation
* Views and experiences about contacting the Council
In total 706 interviews were carried out - 450 doorstep interviews and 256 at the Tesco store. High level results of the interviews together with comments and conclusions were detailed within the report.
The Ingleby Barwick Ward Councillors had taken an active interest in supporting and promoting the Access Point and had provided valuable comments and feedback that had been incorporated into the review.
With regard the new Community Access Points at its meeting on 4th December 2008, Cabinet delegated the approval of any further trial Community Access Points to the Corporate Director Resources in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Access & Communities. The Customer Services team had been working with representatives from Tristar Homes to set up a joint Community Access Point in the Tesco store on Durham Road. This would operate on the first Friday of every month commencing 6th February 2009. It was envisaged that the service would be used by local residents as well as customers from the nearby villages that use the supermarket. This would provide the opportunity for a second trial in an area of different demographics from the first.
|Consideration was given to a report that provided details of the introduction of Flexible New Deal and sought approval to the non submission of a tender to provide training for flexible new deal participants in the future due to the significant financial risk this would place on the Council.|
It was explained that Stockton Borough Council's Training & Employment Services had been contracted to deliver the Government's New Deal Programmes since 1998. Until 2006 the Service was in a direct contractual relationship with Job Centre Plus but since that date Job Centre Plus introduced Prime Contractors to reduce the number of contracts they directly managed. The Service now acted as a sub-contractor to 2 Prime Contractors; Working Links and Avanta TNG.
The Government had reviewed its New Deal programmes and were proposing to introduce Flexible New Deal' as part of the proposal to strengthen the requirements for those claiming Job Seekers allowance. This replaced the current separate New Deals for young people and unemployed adults. It was explained that clients would be expected to participate either in obtaining employment, participating in work placements or work in the community on a full time basis. Failure to do so could impact on their benefit claim.
It was explained that in 2007 the Government began a procurement process for Flexible New Deal. In July 2008 12 organisations were notified that they had progressed through the Pre Qualification stage for the Tees Valley and North and East Yorkshire area. Training & Employment Services had worked with each organisation to provide details for their tenders to Job Centre Plus. The tenders had been submitted by the organisations at the end of November 2008.
Members of Cabinet were informed that Flexible New Deal differed in a number of ways from the existing New Deal programmes but one of the most important changes was to the funding model. At present the funding for each programme was made up of funding linked to the number of clients on the programme paid on a weekly basis for a period of 13 or 26 weeks and output funding linked to a client obtaining employment and or a qualification. The on programme payment amounts to 65% of the total funding package and was guaranteed.
The funding Model for Flexible New Deal was significantly different in that it consisted of a start fee, a job payment after a client had been retained in employment for 13 weeks and a further retention payment if the client was still in work after 26 weeks. The start payment of 10% of the total funding available was the only guaranteed payment. The actual payments differ slightly from one tendering organisation to another as each had retained different amounts for their "management fee". The most significant proportion of the funding, therefore, was directly related to the client finding and staying in work for a specified minimum period.
The funding model had based its projections on job entry rates of between 60% and 70%. The current job entry rate of Training & Employment New Deal Programmes was between 25% and 40% depending on the type of programme followed. The highest overall entry rate achieved was 55% in 2001/02. It was noted that although the clients would be closer to the job market than currently and may be more focussed on obtaining work if the alternative was to lose their benefits, the current recession was already having a significant impact on unemployment rates. It was explained that this made it extremely difficult to meet the job entry rates required for the financial stability of the delivery organisations.
|Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of Various Bodies.|
|Consideration was given to a report that provided Members with details of the proposed arrangements for the Appointment Panel for the post of Corporate Director for Development and Neighbourhood Services. |
The Council's Employee Employment Procedure Rules required Cabinet to consider and refer to full Council with recommendations for approval, arrangements for the appointment of Chief Officers (e.g. Corporate Directors).
In order to ensure that the required Appointment Panel for the post of Corporate Director for Development and Neighbourhood Service was established, Cabinet was asked to consider the proposals and recommend them for approval to Council.
In accordance with the normal arrangements for Chief Officer and Assistant Chief Officers appointments, Cabinet was asked to recommend to Council that a Panel for the appointment of the Corporate Director for Development and Neighbourhood Service be established on the following basis:-
Leader of the Council
Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport
Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety
Cabinet Member for the Environment
2 Members from the Labour Group
2 Members from Independent Groups
1 Member from Liberal Democrat Group
If circumstances required it, any member initially identified to serve on the Panel may request that a substitute, from his/her political group, serve in their place. This would necessitate the substitute member concerned attending the Panel's shortlisting meeting, formal interview and any other relevant meetings associated with the appointment.
|Members considered the nominations to School Governing Bodies in accordance with the procedure for the appointment of School Governors, approved as Minute 84 of the Cabinet (11th May 2000).|