|Councillor Cook declared a personal interest, non prejudicial interest in item 5 Options on South of the Borough as he was a governor of one of the schools referred to in the report.|
Councillor Mrs McCoy declared a personal, non prejudicial interest in respect of this items 7 and 8 - Transitional Neighbourhood Renewal Programme and Economic Climate update as she served on the Stockton and District Advice and Information Service Board, which was referred to in the reports.
Councillor Coleman declared a personal, non prejudicial interest in item 7 Transitional Neighbourhood Renewal Programme item as he served on the Central Area Partnership Board which was referred to in the report.
Councillor Cunningham declared a personal, non prejudicial interest in item 12 - Tees Valley Transport Schemes as he served on the Rural Development Agency which was referred to in the report.
Councillor Dixon declared a personal , non prejudicial interest in item 5 - Options on South of the Borough as he was a governor of All Saints Secondary School
|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.|
|Members were provided with a report that provided background information and an update of progress made on the work undertaken through the myplace youth centre capital programme, funded through the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).|
Members were also presented with the outline requirements of the funding process and demonstrated how the project plans to meet the timescales and requirements set by DCSF in the funding programme.
Cabinet was reminded that the Council had had been successful in securing £4,995,250 funding to develop a new youth facility in Tilery area of Stockton on Tees.
It was explained that the funding was administered by Big Lottery on behalf of the DCSF but timescales for the project had been set by DCSF. In July a request was submitted to Big Lottery asking for an extended time period, until the 9 November 2009. This extension was rejected and a new submission date of the 30 September was issued for a detailed Capital Delivery Plan, Business Plan, Draft Partnership Agreement and Legal Documentation. Big Lottery would then assess all plans and provide formal agreement to proceed by December 2009. Capital programmes had to commence by June 2010 and all projects had to be completed by June 2012.
Cabinet was provided with an update on work being undertaken and planned work by the Project Implementation Team and its sub groups to fulfil the numerous requirements associated with the project. Members noted the tight timescales associated with the project and given this agreed a suitable delegation to the Chief Executive Officer in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.
|Consideration was given to a report on Building Schools for the Future (BSF): Review of Options for the South of the Borough.|
The BSF Strategy for Change Part 2 (SfC2) agreed by Cabinet in February 2009 included a commitment to review possible options to increase the number of secondary school places in Ingleby Barwick. The current preferred option, as set out in SfC2, is to increase capacity at All Saints Church of England Voluntary Aided School in Ingleby Barwick from 600 to 900 places, with corresponding reductions in the capacity of Conyers School in Yarm and Egglescliffe School, and to relocate Egglescliffe School to its playing fields at Allens West. These schools, the three highest achieving secondary schools in the borough, should be considered together because any action to increase capacity at one school would inevitably impact on the others.
Three other options had emerged from discussions between the school communities, members and officers, namely to establish another secondary school in Ingleby Barwick; to increase the size of All Saints School beyond 900 places (with greater reductions in the size of Conyers or Egglescliffe); or to relocate Egglescliffe School to a site within Preston Park.
These options had not yet been explored in detail because capital funding for these schools was not included in the first wave of BSF funding. As a result of strenuous efforts over the past year, the scope of the Wave 6 programme had been enlarged from five mainstream schools in Stockton to include all mainstream schools in Billingham, Stockton and Thornaby as well as two special schools and the pupil referral unit. However a letter from the Department for Children, Schools and Families dated 4 August stated very firmly that the three remaining schools in the south of the borough would not be brought into Wave 6. No indication had been received of the timing of a second wave of funding. This meant that the Council could not commit at this stage to delivering any of the options considered in the report.
|Consideration was given to a report on Building Schools for the Future (BSF): Scope of the Local education Partnership (LEP).|
A Local Education Partnership (LEP) was the default procurement vehicle for BSF programmes with a capital value in excess of £100 million. Cabinet had already agreed in principle to the establishment of a LEP to deliver the Stockton-on-Tees BSF programme (most recently in Strategy for Change Part 2 agreed on 5 February 2009).
The LEP would enter a long-term Strategic Partnering Agreement with the Council to develop and procure BSF building projects for approval by the Authority, and to supply managed services for ICT and facilities management to schools in the BSF programme. The Agreement would grant to the LEP exclusive rights to provide these services for a fixed term, subject to satisfactory performance.
The Agreement could also allow the LEP to negotiate directly with the Council to provide other services in addition to those directly relevant to the BSF programme. Where the LEP could demonstrate best value, this would avoid any need to conduct a separate procurement process for those services.
The report described the outcome of a series of workshops involving Council members, officers and school governors to consider the potential for including additional services within the scope of the LEP. The report also considered the likely impact of the LEP on services delivered by the Council or procured directly by schools. The recommendations in the report had been discussed with Partnerships for Schools and had been agreed by the BSF Project Board.
|Consideration was given to a report on final progress of the transitional Neighbourhood Renewal programme within the Borough which ended March 2009, the development of Area Partnership priorities for their allocation of Communities Fund, and the Neighbourhood Element (Safer Stronger Communities Fund) programme progress.|
In November 2007, the government announced The Working Neighbourhoods Fund' (WNF) which was created to simplify and refocus local level funding to tackle worklessness and low levels of skills and enterprise within some of the most disadvantaged communities. This fund, part of the non-ring fenced Area Based Grant (ABG) was seen as the successor to the Communities and Local Government's Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and continues the focus of neighbourhood renewal on these core areas of regeneration.
Due to the late announcement of the funding, in February 2008 Cabinet agreed a transitional Neighbourhood Renewal Programme for the financial year 2008/9 of £2,738,703 as part of the exit arrangements for NRF funded projects. The programme aimed to continue those projects evaluated as successful from the last round of Neighbourhood Renewal Funding, which were unable to secure alternative funding. It was also agreed the remaining WNF would be referred to as the Communities Fund (CF).
Programme monitoring for the transitional NRF took place on a six monthly basis to align the work with the Local Area Agreement, although some Package Leads continued to monitor quarterly on a risk basis.
Annex 1 to the report provided a summary of some key achievements within the last six months. Some examples of key achievements and progress to date included:-
Safer Communities: Licensing have undertaken 171 Test Purchase Attempts for under age sales in the last six months of the year with 8 positive sales as a result.
Children and Young People: Over 130 Children & Young people have gained accreditation through the Twister Arts project which is double the estimated amount.
Environment: Work undertaken in the Portrack and Tilery area by the Waste Education Team, has contributed to a 12% increase in recycling participation levels within the area and a 2% decrease in households using more than one wheelie bin.
Housing: Raising the Standard project has issued 58 licences to houses in Multiple Occupation, all of which are in the NRF areas
Economic Regeneration and Transport: Overall 297 people have gained employment, 440 people have obtained recognised qualifications and 51 people have started their own business. Seven of the nine key outputs were exceeded.
At the end of the financial year 2008/09 and the programme there was a slight underspend of £2,931, which as agreed previously will be rolled into the wider Communities Fund pot.
|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, and the mitigations already in place and those being developed in response to this. |
The monthly update report enable a focussed account to be made of any recent changes to economic circumstances (both positive and negative) 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. Members referred to how valuable this developing monthly report was proving to be to them.
|Members were provided with a general role description for Councillors appointed as "Champions" together with specific responsibilities in relation to older people's issues and was asked to agree the role descriptors and appointment an Older People's Champion in accordance with the recommendation of the Corporate, Adult Services and Social Inclusion Select Committee following its scrutiny review of the Older People's Strategy.|
|Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of Various Bodies.|
|Members considered a report that outlined the Council's service performance for the first quarter of the 2009/10 year from 1 April 2009 to 30 June 2009 highlighting achievements, areas for improvement, consultation activity undertaken, complaints, commendations and comments received and outturn against revenue and capital budgets. |
Cabinet was provided with the current MTFP position of each service. Recent reports had identified the difficult financial position facing the Council and officers were considering carefully expenditure in all areas. Although there were a number of emerging issues, this proactive approach meant that it was currently anticipated that expenditure would be in line with original plans. It was however very early into the year and these matters would be monitored closely. As such there were no significant changes to the MTFP.
Members noted net working balances.
As reported previously the position for the medium term was uncertain in its scope but what was certain was that it would be difficult and challenging. Since the MTFP for 2009/10 was agreed in February the Budget Speech had exposed the scale of public sector borrowing and announced reductions in overall public sector expenditure. There were no details on the actual impact for Local Government services. There was however general agreement that from 2011/12 it would be facing negative grant settlements, the only question being how large these cuts will be. The Council had started planning a course of action to ensure it was able to respond positively to the current climate. The Efficiency, Improvement and Transformation Programme that has already been initiated would undoubtedly contribute to the solution. In addition service challenges, as indicated above, had commenced. One such challenge had resulted in £150,000 per annum being saved from changing to online recruitment practice. Despite this, it would appear the size of the challenge was such that additional action needed to be taken. Options were currently being modelled prior to consideration at Cabinet/Council in the autumn. Given these concerns it was recommended that, at this time balances were not utilised. This position would be kept under review on a quarterly basis as part of the updates on the Medium Term Financial Plan.
Members noted the Housing Revenue Account position and the Capital budget and were provided with, and considered, a copy of the Treasury Management Annual Report.
In addition to the financial information members also considered information that provided a picture of the Council's performance against the National Indicator set as well as details of resident feedback and consultation activity. A series of appendices had been prepared to the report to provide a full picture of performance and these were made available to members:-
National Indicator Set - Data available at Qtr1. (LAA indicators are identified)
National Indicator Set - Measures where information is not available at Qtr 1 with an update on progress and explanation/ expected date for availability
Complaints, Compliments and Commendations and Comments
Of the National Indicator measures where information is available at the end of quarter 1, 83 % (72 indicators) across all themes are predicted to achieve targets or are within the agreed tolerance set. For the remaining measures remedial action is being taken to address areas of slippage. Details of achievements and areas of slippage were included in the thematic sections of the report.
The Local Area Agreement (LAA) was in year two of the three-year agreement with Central Government. Good progress had been made against some stretching targets in year one and this continued into year two with some of the measures within the LAA being reported at quarter one. The full Local Area Agreement measures would be monitored and reported at quarter 2. All indicators within the LAA were being closely tracked particularly those impacted by the current economic conditions. This was to ensure that we were best placed to understand our current position leading into the annual review and refresh of the LAA, which would commence in October of this year. This would provide the Council and its partners with an opportunity to review current performance and renegotiate where appropriate, measures and targets leading into the final year the LAA, upon which the performance reward elements are calculated.
It was explained that Service Groups were progressing well against the priorities and objects set out within the Council Plan with current monitoring of indicators and projects showing good progress. The quarter two report would provide a detailed update of all measures and objectives within the 2009 - 2012 Plan.
|Cabinet were informed that there were some major transport projects being developed in the Tees Valley, and within the Borough, which would bring around £100m of investment into the sub-region.|
Members were provided with background information relating to 4 major schemes, together with preferred strategies for their delivery and details of the next steps to be taken.
The following points were specifically highlighted
East Billingham Transport Corridor
The timescales involved in delivering the scheme would be challenging but achievable. The funding had been allocated over two financial years, £1m in 2009/10 and then a further £4m in 2010/11.
The majority of funding allocated for this financial year would be spent on land acquisition. The aim would be to achieve this through negotiations but, if this was unsuccessful, Compulsory Purchase Orders may be needed to achieve the objective.
As the proposed alignment of the EBTC was in the vicinity of the RSPB Saltholme Reserve and the medieval village of Cowpen Bewley, a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would need to be carried out to ensure the design and construction of the road had minimal adverse impact on the surroundings and that mitigation measures were in place. The EIA would also determine the route alignment and land acquisition required. This work would also be carried out during this financial year.
Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements
The scheme was approved entry into the DfT's Local Authority Major Schemes Programme (Programme Entry) on the 23 June 2009. On granting this approval, the DfT set out the conditions that must be satisfied following Programme Entry and further work that would be required to gain the required Full Approval.
The further work required included further modelling work on a small number of individual schemes, confirming the Stockton Infrastructure Register, obtaining contractor prices for Year 1 schemes and processing and implementing any Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO's) required for Year 1 schemes. TRO's will be processed by the Corporate Director of Law and Democracy and any objections submitted will be considered.
Once this additional work was complete, a revised Major Scheme Business Case will be submitted to the DfT in a bid to gain Full Approval. It was anticipated that this Business Case will be signed off by the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements Project Board at their meeting on 2 November 2009 and submitted to the DfT the following day.
Tees Valley Metro
The estimated local contribution required from each of the partner Councils is £800,000 for phase 1 and it WAs anticipated that this would be taken from LTP3 since the contribution is due after March 2011. This contribution would be reduced through any third party contributions received, for example, through Section 106 agreements (Allens West). Funding for the subsequent phases (2 & 3) needs to be identified through the Regional Funding Allocation, the new franchise for local train services, developer contributions, the Third Local Transport Plan (LTP3) and Network Rail investment plans and would be detailed in further Cabinet and Council reports for approval.
Despite the wider economic benefits, it was unlikely that the project would secure DfT funding in one package given major scheme funding criteria. It was therefore recommended that delivery be carried out in three phases to better attract funding, to fit in with the renewal of the franchise for Northern Rail train services in 2013 and to ensure realism in delivering such a big project. In addition, each component part of a phase was separately funded, again to help ease the funding process. A phased delivery plan also meant that the benefits of each stage may be more easily assessed to help support the case for further funding.
Phase 1 of Metro (estimated cost £35m), scheduled for implementation between 2009 and 2012, was another scheme to benefit from the re-profiling of the RFA (as discussed in point 4) and funding had been granted for the following elements:
a. New Platforms at Darlington and Middlesbrough Stations;
b. Relocation of Stations at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Wilton;
c. Station improvements at Eaglescliffe, Thornaby and Hartlepool;
d. A new station at James Cook University Hospital; and
e. Refurbished trains with higher levels of passenger quality and comfort than that currently used operating four times an hour between Darlington and Saltburn during the day.
A consultation strategy would be developed to engage with communities and stakeholders.
In terms of elements proposed within the Borough; the improvements to Eaglescliffe and Thornaby Stations were scheduled for implementation during 2010/11 and will consist of upgrades to the current station buildings at both locations, a new footbridge with DDA lifts at Eaglescliffe and a contribution to a new footbridge and DDA lifts at Thornaby.
As an investment project on Network Rail land; the Metro project has to be assessed through Network Rail's Guide to Railway Investment Projects (GRIP). This project management system has 8 stages with stage 6 being the construction stage. Currently, the majority of the component parts of the Metro project are at GRIP3. There was now a need to undertake a GRIP4 feasibility study at a cost of £1.25 million, to be obtained through the RFA programme, to prepare more detailed designs, confirm feasibility and refine cost estimates. The GRIP4 process would also include applications for planning permission where required and involves public consultation on the detail of station improvements.
It was anticipated that the GRIP4 process would take a maximum of 12 months meaning that any decision about whether to proceed further would be taken in summer 2010. In parallel to the engineering feasibility work contained in GRIP4, the Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit (JSU) and train operator, Northern Rail, would lead on work to refine the benefits expected from phase 1 in terms of improved reliability, estimated increases in passengers and improved accessibility. Members would need to consider the results of this stage of the feasibility work at the time, so that an application can be made for funding to the Department for Transport for all of the phase 1 works except for those at Darlington Station which would be subject to a separate Major Scheme Business Case.
Highway Agency Improvements to the A19 and A66
The Tees Valley A19(T) / A66(T) Network Management Strategy had been successful in securing £3.975m of funding to implement traffic signal control on slip road of the A19 and A66