|In accordance with the procedure for the appointment of school governors, approved at Minute 84 of the Cabinet (11th May 2000), Cabinet were requested to approve the nominations to school Governing Bodies as detailed within the report.|
|Cabinet was advised that since 2002, careful re-structuring and re-focusing of the Advisory Team had seen a reduction in staffing from 14 general school advisers to 7 highly skilled ex-headteachers, all of whom were Ofsted and SIP accredited. This change in focus and expertise had been matched by significant year on year improvement across phase, with Stockton moving from below average performance to a position where the Council recorded its best ever performance across all key stages and being now at least in line with, but in most cases above, national averages. The Council was also short-listed as a beacon authority for school improvement, and score consistently well in APA and CPA. Performance in Primary had been better than Secondary overall, although at both phases there was considerable variations between the most and least successful schools. The school improvement team intervene, challenge and support in inverse proportion to success, and allocate large periods of time to support individual schools. 8 primary schools were designated as hard to shift', and therefore need more radical solutions to achieve the step change in improvement that was required. A significant majority of Stockton's primary schools overall were designated good or outstanding by Ofsted, reflecting the effectiveness of the teams' intervention and support over time. |
7 secondary schools were currently in receipt of additional support from the advisory team. This includes two schools with unsatisfactory Ofsted designations, a special school currently without a headteacher and 3 national challenge schools. One of the schools was in special measures with an Interim Executive Board (IEB) application in place, the other was going through closure and re-organisation as part of BSF. This had put significant additional strain on an already small team. In addition, the service was working with external specialists to provide an intensive 18 month intervention programme to bring Thornaby Community School out of special measures and prepare its transition into an Academy. This input had been funded from existing budget and efficiencies across the School Effectiveness group of services. The advisory team will monitor and evaluate the work on an ongoing basis.
As part of its model for Academy development the Council proposed to act as co-sponsor to both academies. This added a new workstream and responsibility to the other areas of Academy development. The delivery of the buildings was to be done by a dedicated project manager from within the BSF team, funded by top slicing the capital allocation for the Academies. In addition the local authority would have a quality assurance role in relation to the development of the academies within the Council's BSF vision, which would be the responsibility of the Head of Service. Co-sponsorship was another workstream entirely, and would be focused on the actual development and set up of the school itself, from vision and ethos to curriculum design, policy development, staffing and everything else to do with establishing a school from scratch. Added to this will be the statutory consultation, political and local consultation, TUPE transfer, communications and on-going dialogue with government agencies and partners to ensure the smooth transition from maintained schools to Academies.
The additional work represented by the need to put significant time into Thornaby Community School (to deliver the co-sponsorship role of the LA in the Academies, to oversee the smooth transition from three schools to two Academies and the closure of Billingham Campus and enlargement of Northfield) cannot be delivered from within the existing team, nor could the range of work be covered by a single dedicated post. The work would most effectively be distributed across the existing school improvement team, however this team was already over stretched.
Cabinet approval was therefore sought for the appointment 1.5 additional general advisers and some additional clerical time to create capacity and backfill to enable the additional workload to be managed across the team. The age profile of the team was such that in two years' time retirements were expected to enable some posts to be deleted from the structure again, as the peak of the work currently being experienced diminished. Therefore, an additional £100K one off sum was required in each of the financial years 2009/10 and 2010/11 to provide capacity to address the new workstreams.Should the managed surplus not be available at this time, it would be necessary to seek approval for this amount from the Council budget in 2010/2011.
|Consideration was given to the proposed calendar of school term and holiday dates for the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 academic years.|
|Consideration was given to a report that summarised the content of Lord Laming's report, and the Government's response to his recommendations, the report having been commissioned following the death of Baby P in Haringey. |
The Review considered what good practice had been achieved in safeguarding since the Climbie Inquiry Report was published in 2003, the key barriers which prevented efficient and effective safeguarding. It found that the Every Child Matters reforms, introduced by the Children Act 2004, provided a sound framework for protecting children and promoting their welfare. However, Lord Laming also found that there needed to be a step change in the arrangements to protect children from harm. To achieve this, he challenged leaders of local services to accept their responsibility to translate policy, legislation and guidance into day to day practice on the frontline of every service. Lord Laming made fifty eight recommendations to address the issues he identified; targeted at government and local agencies. These include recommendations in respect of the independent chairing of the Serious Case Review process and about the relationship between the Local Safeguarding Children Board, the Lead Member and the Children's Trust.
The LGA held a conference on 25th March to enable discussion of the recommendations and this informed a response to DCSF. Lord Laming's report was welcomed but concern was expressed that the recommendations had not been costed. It was suggested that there needed to be joint work between local and central government to ensure that spending plans nationally support implementation. On the day that Lord Laming's report was published, the Government issued an immediate reply accepting the recommendations and announced the appointment of Sir Roger Singleton as Chief Adviser on the Safety of Children.
Key points from the response included:-
Detail about the way in which the National Safeguarding Unit will work
Proposals for a more rigorous inspection framework
Strengthening of local leadership and accountability, by proposals in the Apprenticeships. Skills, Children and Learning Bill to strengthen the Children's Trust Board, publication of a set of national performance indicators in respect of safeguarding to inform statutory and local target setting by Children's Trusts, clarifying the respective roles of the LSCB and the Children's Trust, clarifying the respective responsibilities of the Director of Children's Services, the Lead Member for Children's Services, the Council Leader and the Chief Executive.
Revision of Working Together
Leadership programmes for Directors of Children's Services, development of a programme of intensive support and coaching for Team Managers
Rapid research reviews to look at key practice issues such supporting decision making by frontline staff
Issuing updated guidance on the use of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF)
Intention to bring forward a programme of reform of the social work profession once the report of the Social Work Taskforce is published
Accepting the Task Force's advice in respect of relaxing the national requirements in respect of the Integrated Children's System
Allocate £57.8m to create a Social Work Transformation Fund to increase capacity to train and support social workers and implement change in the immediate term.
Extend the Newly Qualified Social Worker pilot scheme to all newly qualified social workers from September 2009
Locally, Lord Laming's report had generated local discussion within agencies. The Stockton Local Safeguarding Children Board was to have a half-day workshop in June to consider the implications of the report for Stockton. The North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust Safeguarding Steering Group had also held a preliminary discussion of the implications and there would be further work led by the Designated Nurse (Stockton on Tees Teaching PCT) and the Cross-Tees Safeguarding Group. It was proposed that Cabinet receive a further report on the detailed implications for the Council locally in the near future.
|Consideration was given to a report that provided Members with an overview of the current economic climate, outlining the effects that this was having on Stockton Borough, 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 enabled a focussed account to be made of the changes to economic circumstances, the direct impact that this may be having on the Borough, and the responses and mitigations either in place or being developed to support businesses and residents. A summary was provided to members noting the economic changes and both the positive and negative of this that had occurred since their previous update on 14th May 2009.
It was explained that the Government had created a £1 billion Future Jobs Fund to which local authorities and other organisations could bid to create new jobs. This was a new approach to create jobs and provided hope for young people and jobseekers in deprived communities. The formal bidding process for access to the fund was now underway and proposals should be submitted by 30th June 2009. Government expected the majority of bids to be led by Local Authorities, and Stockton would be bidding in the first phase, with jobs expected to start in October 2009. Cabinet was given details of the recommended delivery model.
|Consideration was given to a report on progress regarding the letting of the Shambles Market Hall following its refurbishment in November 2008 and the initiatives being looked at to assist in filling the units.|
In April 2008, Cabinet approved proposals to refurbish the Shambles Market Hall with a view to returning its use to that based around the sale of food. The creation of specialist niche food enterprises could then establish themselves in a freshly renovated environment in a prominent location in Stockton's High Street.
Works to refurbish the hall were carried out in August and November 2008 and were completed below budget and within timescales to enable the units to be successfully used as a part of last years Christmas Market Festival. Photographs of the hall after its refurbishment were attached to the report. Two existing traders, a barber and a cobbler had been relocated as tenants, with refurbishment works programmed around them to minimise disruption to their day top day trade.
The use of the Shambles Market Hall since the refurbishment was detailed within the report.
Prior to the completion of the Shambles Market Hall, Officers had started to actively market the letting of the 9 remaining units. Over 60 businesses had been targeted because of the offer they provided or because of previous expressions of interests made. These businesses ranged from Farmers co-operatives, to confectioners and culinary herb traders. Follow up calls were made and further letters send that included specific marketing literature detailing the benefits of trading from the Shambles Market Hall.
There was a requirement for a highly proactive marketing campaign to raise awareness of the changes and to recruit new traders that fit with the profile described to fulfil the Council's aspirations for the new-look market hall. This was underway to secure tenants for the completed building. Over 50 Food / fresh flower based businesses had been targeted. Individual one to one targeting of businesses continued to be made to secure tenants into the units. A breakdown of the interest that traders had declared was detailed within the report.
The current economic climate had created a very difficult market for the Shambles to be let in particularly given the extent of other vacant units within the Town Centre and beyond. Discussions were continuing with interested parties of the units including wood-turners and local history groups. It had been established that planning permission was not required to extend any scope of business use within the A1 class. However further approval would be required should any request for A3 Restaurants / Café be requested.
As identified in the recent Town Centre Cabinet report (14th May 2009) and following the recommendations made by the DCLG report Taking Care of the Town Centres', a number of units were being looked at as a base for artists with their work able to be displayed in both the empty units and other shop frontages. This strategy contributed to and formed part of a number of initiatives currently being developed to enhance the future vibrancy of the Town Centre.
In addition following the expected decantment of the Tourist Information Centre in September 2009 from the Central Library, officers were investigating the possibility of relocation onto the Shambles and or other unit in the town, together with the existing Town Centre Management Team.
Any actions taken to fill the Shambles would be sympathetic where possible to the existing tenants who were keen to see the units let. This included being flexible over the offer of leases which included rent free and stepped incremental periods.
With regards to the 2 existing tenants in the hall, it was proposed that signage in keeping with the buildings listed status be provided to promote business whilst footfall was low due to the proliferation of empty units.
A summary of initiatives being looked at included:-
* Continue to canvass and contact businesses
* Introduction of stepped rents and or free periods to help generate footfall
* Use of the units as a Craft / Artist centre
* Conversion of units to accommodate Town Centre Management and or Tourism Staff.
|Consideration was given to an update on the completed Greater North Shore Study. The primary objective of the study was to develop a strategic planning framework that would direct and guide future private investment and development within the Greater North Shore area over the next 10 - 15 years. Its purpose was to ensure that any redevelopment that was brought forward strategically, complements the core North Shore site and other ongoing investment in the regeneration areas around Stockton Riverside and the Town Centre. |
The completed Study identified land use policies, development guidelines and specific design guidelines for the GNS area. Initial research and consultation considered the area's physical, economic, social and environmental context, together with relevant planning policies. The area is currently suffering from a lack of investment and attention, but has the potential to become a more attractive and more prosperous environment.
Cabinet was advised of the key recommendations identified in terms of land use, environment, design, transport and the economy; and noted the proposed key principles for each covered within the study.
The study recommended that:-
Planning policies to go into the forthcoming Regeneration Development Plan Document that is currently being prepared by the Council that will be part of the emerging LDF
Preparation of an environmental improvements masterplan that determines the improvements required along the key pedestrian and vehicular routes and at gateway entrances towards Stockton town centre
To continue to work with businesses to maintain the economic viability and exercise the potential for a Business Improvement District (BID), to be developed.
Further investigations into transport infrastructure of the area to improve accessibility.
The Council proposed to take these forward as follows:-
Greater North Shore Study Seminar 28 May 2009, 5-7pm within the Lecture Theatre of Stockton Library. The session will comprise a presentation, followed by the opportunity to ask questions to officers involved, regarding the findings of the study.
The findings of the study will be embedded within the policies of the evolving, emerging LDF framework, which will be undertaken by the Spatial Planning section of Planning Services, the preferred options for which will be available in February 2010.
The study will be used as a document to inform the Church Road Evening Economy Study.
The Business Development Team within the Council will continue to engage with the local business community in the Greater North Shore area.
Continue to develop the Transport proposals, which are being investigated through the SMI Initiative and Technical Services. Looking specifically at the Portrack Lane Relief Road' and the opening up of North Shore to allow traffic flow.
Continue to monitor planning applications linked with North Shore development.
|Consideration was given to a summary of two national reports published in recent months entitled (Six Lives: The Provision of Public Services to People with Learning Disabilities and Commissioning Services and Support for People with Learning Disabilities and Complex Needs) which had implications for commissioning and the provision of services for people with learning disabilities. |
Both reports highlighted wide ranging issues for the commissioning approach and operational oversight for learning disability services. A Learning Disability Strategy was being developed to focus on existing and new work to address each of the reports recommendations and would be in place by December 2009.
The Learning Disability Partnership Board was being reviewed to ensure that it could robustly monitor the action plan that was developed. In addition, learning disabilities would be strengthened via the refreshed Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) which would be completed by Summer 2009.
|Consideration was given to a report on allotment provision and future demand within Stockton on Tees. Allotments had become increasing popular over recent years and 2008 saw a dramatic shift in demand for allotments. With the increasing emphasis on healthy lifestyles and current building practices providing reduced outside space for horticulture and vegetable growing areas, allotment provision had become a priority for residents. The report highlighted that there was insufficient allotment provision within Stockton on Tees.|
Within Section 23 of the Allotment Act 1908 it was made the express duty of every allotment authority, where there was a demand for allotments; provide a sufficient number of them for residents of that area. There were in excess of 400 names on the waiting lists.
The administration and management of Stockton Borough Councils Allotment Portfolio was within Care For Your Area, Direct Services, however there were 21 sites across the borough that were owned by Town / Parish Councils with management responsibility devolved to Allotment Associations.
There were a total of 1103 allotment plots within the borough, the breakdown of plots was detailed within the report.
There were 23 vacant plots, the majority of which were within the Billingham Area on the Clarences allotment site where there was no demand.
Vacant plots in Thornaby were not ready for occupation and required some redevelopment, yet the demand on this site exceeded the availability even when these plots were brought back into use.
There were 427 people waiting for allotment plots across the Borough with the average waiting time to receive a plot now standing at 2 to 3 years, depending on the location. This figure was expected to rise.
Demand for allotments had fluctuated in recent years, however national statistics and the demand for allotments within Stockton on Tees had proven that there was an under provision of allotment land.
As with all developments funding would need to be sought in order to bring the land back into use, however the Authority was looking at a number of options to meet future demand for allotment land:-
* Future allotment provision was included within the Local Development Framework, a total of 21 out of 26 sites were protected under planning policy.
* Trends for allotment demand had been identified and were being used to identify appropriate land for future use of allotment land.
* The Thornaby Allotments Steering Group was in the process of submitting grant applications to develop disused plots within the Thornaby sites to bring these back into use, it was expected that the waiting list would be reduced to 50 people.
* A consultation exercise was being carried to inform development of the Action Plan for the Stockton on Tees Green Infrastructure Strategy. This exercise would look at residents priorities for open space land and its future use. Allotment provision was included as part of this exercise which would be complete by the end of June 2009. Once land prioritisation was completed a separate strategy would be developed to include funding opportunities to develop further allotment sites across the Borough to meet current and future demand.
Priorities for additional land was within the Stockton South and Billingham areas, where at present little provision existed and waiting list turnover was at its highest. It was suggested that the strategy to be developed include consideration of the size of allotments provided, as often these could be too big for many individuals to maintain; and should examine the potential for Tristar open space or gardens to be included in such a strategy.
|Consideration was given to a report that sought endorsement for the draft Tees Valley Climate Change Strategy that established a baseline position, targets, and broad sub-regional actions for reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. The targets would be delivered through individual action plans being developed by each of the five local authorities in the Tees Valley.|
In March 2007 Cabinet Members noted the emerging Tees Valley Climate Change Strategy which included a target of 8.75% CO2e emissions reduction below the year 2000 baseline by 2012.
Since then a number of significant changes had occurred which required a significant review of the Tees Valley Strategy and of Stockton's Action Plan, which included the Climate Change Act 2008, the Pitt Review and the introduction of the set of new national indicators.
Stockton had developed a draft action plan that reflected these changing priorities and how it would contribute to the developing Tees Valley Strategy and to the national targets.
|Cabinet considered a report that presented a draft Green Infrastructure Strategy for Stockton-on-Tees. Developed in consultation with a number of partner organisations, the Strategy set out a vision for the future development and management of the Borough's green infrastructure, highlighting how this would contribute towards a wide range of environmental, social and economic objectives.|
It was explained that as delivery of the Strategy would be based on a partnership approach it was proposed that a Stockton-on-Tees Green Infrastructure Task Group be established. The group would oversee development of the Action Plan, coordinate its delivery, and input to any future review of the Strategy. Cabinet was given details of the possible membership for the group.
It was noted that the draft version would be subject to a period of public consultation, with Ward Councillors, Renaissance Partnership Board and Town/Parish Councils invited to comment.
The final version of the Strategy would be accompanied by an Action Plan, setting out specific projects to be delivered by the Council and its partners. Policies within the Local Development Framework and other strategies and plans would also contribute towards its successful implementation.
|On 13th March 2008 Members of Cabinet were presented with the carbon management Strategy and Implementation Plan (SIP) which demonstrated how the Council could reduce its carbon emissions by 25% over five years. It showed that through the implementation of a series of projects significant savings could be made in both emissions and in financial terms. A key part of the programme was the ability to demonstrate that all of these measures would have a payback period of five years or less, making this an "invest to save" plan. It was resolved that this SIP would be the delivery mechanism for the programme and that annual progress reports be brought to cabinet. |
This had realised savings estimated at £96,000 and 2,630 tonnes of carbon and equated to a 7% reduction in carbon emissions against the 2005/06 baseline position, meaning the programme was on track to meet the 25% target.
|Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of Various Bodies.|
|Consideration was given to a report on the progress in the production of the Joint Tees Valley Minerals and Waste Core Strategy and Site Allocations Development Plan Documents and Sustainability Appraisal. The report sought endorsement of the First Publication Draft Reports and Sustainability Appraisal for a six-week period of public consultation beginning in August 2009.|
The Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit was preparing Joint Minerals and Waste Development Plan Documents on behalf of the Tees Valley Local Planning Authorities. In setting up the arrangements for this joint working, it was agreed that each authority would separately approve any consultation documents.
Two DPDs would provide the policy framework for determining planning applications for minerals developments for the period to 2024 and waste developments to 2021, these were:-
* The Core Strategy DPD which set out overall strategy and generic development control policies for determining applications for minerals and waste developments.
* The Site Allocations DPD which identified specific sites for future development and which contained detailed policies for assessing planning applications.
Both documents were accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal of the options considered and selected.
The First Publication Draft Report was a key milestone in the preparation of a development plan document and represented the final stage in the production process prior to submission of the documents to the Secretary of State. The first stage was the Issues and Options Report, which was consulted on in May-June 2007. The second phase of this process was the Preferred Options report, which was consulted on during February - April 2008. It was intended to publish the Core Strategy and Site Allocations First Publication Documents and the associated Sustainability Appraisal for a six-week consultation period beginning in August 2009. Following this the documents would be submitted to the Secretary of State in December 2009, with an examination into the soundness of the documents occurring during 2010.
The documents had three overarching purposes:-
* To ensure the production of sufficient quantities of minerals in the sub-region to support anticipated levels of growth expected to 2024.
* To support the development of a network of waste management facilities, which would be able to deal with the waste generated in the sub region in a sustainable manner.
* To ensure that the environment and amenity of the residents of the Tees Valley are protected.
Following the Publication stage, the DPDs would be submitted to the Secretary of State in December 2009. The DPDs would then progress to an independent examination in March 2010 before adoption in July 2010.