Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Cabinet Minutes

Thursday, 26th November, 2009
4.30 p.m.
Lecture Theatre, 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 Ken Lupton (Chairman), Cllr David Coleman, Cllr Robert Cook, Cllr Alex Cunningham, Cllr Mrs Ann McCoy, Cllr Steve Nelson and Cllr Mrs Mary Womphrey.
N. Schneider (CE0); J. Danks, L. King, B. Brown (R); P. Dobson, D. Kitching, C. Snowden, P. Diggins, R. Smith, S. Daniels, R. McGuckin (DNS); J. Humphreys, R. Kench, L. Hanley, R. Hill, J. Morrison, S. Willson (CESC); D. Bond, M. Waggott, J. Trainer, G. Birtle and N Hart.
In Attendance:
Cllr Mrs Maureen Rigg, Cllr Maurice Perry and Cllr Mick Stoker.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Mrs Jennie Beaumont and Cllr Terry Laing.
Item Description Decision
Cabinet Decision Record D090150
RESOLVED that the contents of the report be noted and that Council policy, regarding electromagnetic radiation issues, should continue to be to follow and adhere to guidance from BECTA and the HPA.
Cabinet Decision Record D090151

1. The direction of travel be noted, the project actions and the principles of personalising social care be supported, and in particular the adoption of the common Resource Allocation System (RAS) and the Personal Needs Questionnaire be approved.

2. The Individual Budget Delivery Policy be approved and the policy be kept under review and amended as required following implementation.

3. Authority be delegated to the Corporate Director of Children, Education & Social Care, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, to finalise the details of the resource allocatrion.
Cabinet Decision Record D090152
RECOMMENDED to Council that

1. The overall report be noted.

2. The revised MTFP be approved.

3. The level of working balances be approved.

4. The re-profiled Capital Programme be approved.
Cabinet Decision Record D090153

1. Officers investigate the possibility of starting or supporting a local carbon offsetting scheme ensuring that any monies are retained in the borough or failing that within the Tees Valley.

2. A Carbon budget pilot scheme is introduced to explore the practicalities and potential benefits of introducing such a scheme on a Council wide basis and an evaluation report be produced after one full year’s carbon budgeting, bringing forward recommendations on the feasibility of scheme across all Council’s services.

3. The principles set out in the Sustainable Commissioning and Procurement Strategy are endorsed and that all aspects of sustainability including environmental and carbon reduction issues be integrated into each stage of the procurement cycle from necessity of need to award of contract.

4. The work of the sub-regional and regional procurement groups in using sustainability criteria when contracting for supplies and services be endorsed.

5. In order to identify strengths and weaknesses within schools a report be compiled so that all schools were identified showing their level of commitment to the carbon reduction strategy.

6. Options are developed to consider the relocation of the Energy Advice Centre to The Shambles, or a more prominent position, to increase public awareness. If the centre can not be relocated then it should be clearly signposted from Stockton High Street to its current location. Also the role of contact centres in providing additional energy advice services be explored.

7. An audit of all Stockton Schools is carried out to identify where mechanical ventilation and air conditioning is used and a plan to replace with natural ventilation be developed.

8. All council new build and refurbishment should aim for BREEAM excellent rating or the nearest appropriate achievable efficiency.

9. An action plan be drawn up for the refurbishment of SBC buildings to improve the DEC rating as soon as possible.

10. The investigation of using SBC community centres as community education facilities to show energy saving and micro generating technologies.

11. Publicity is given for the measures used in new and refurbished council buildings in order to stimulate interest in the technologies for both domestic and commercial properties.

12. Developers applying to build in Stockton Borough should be advised of, and adhere to, the requirements contained in the Core Strategy on Sustainable Living. Planning consideration should also be given regarding the orientation, layout and material use so that buildings will have the lowest carbon impact.

13. The possibility of introducing wireless connectivity and e-readers for councillors and officers attending meetings to reduce the amount of printing required for meetings be explored.

14. SBC lobby bodies such as government departments and the Local Government Association to make conferences and seminars available to view online including documentation.

15. A concerted effort be made to encourage greater use of phone & video/web conferencing to cut down on business travel.

16. The Workwise scheme, allowing appropriate staff to work from home, be increased as much as possible to reduce the number of car journeys and the carbon output in council buildings.

17. The Workwise programme address any unfairness that might arise when exporting the carbon footprint and associated costs to council employees.

18. A strategy for ICT across the council leads to greater efficiencies and more effective management of the carbon emissions including the use of shared printers and purchasing equipment at the minimum required specification.

19. The introduction of an energy saving strategy across all Stockton’s schools to ensure energy saving approaches are taken for all non-networked items of technology (i.e. whiteboards, non-networked computers, projectors etc).

20. The specification to procure bidders to form a Local Education Partnership to deliver the Building Schools for the Future programme is drafted to ensure that the most carbon efficient ICT systems are provided and maintained under a managed service agreement.
Cabinet Decision Record D090154

1. A centralized Communications team be created which combines all media, marketing, employee communications, web development and internet content responsibilities within the Council. Strategic leadership of the team will be provided by a Head of Communications.

2. The procurement of marketing services, advertising, printing, design services, brand development and photography be centralized and delivered by the communications team through 4 year framework agreements.

3. A review of the Design and Print service is undertaken in the final quarter of 2009.

4. A clear Council protocol for using the corporate Consultation team be established.

5. The possibility of delivering a consultation services for other public sector organisations be explored.

6. A comprehensive Community Engagement Strategy be produced to provide a co-ordinated and strategic approach to community engagement and involvement. The Strategy will include a strategic framework on funding for and use of community buildings. The Strategy will be completed by 31 March 2010.

7. A single Community Engagement team be created to deliver the Community Engagement Strategy. The team will be in place by 31 March 2010 to deliver the strategy in recommendation 6 above.

8. An Employee Engagement Strategy be produced that brings together all current engagement activities and as part of this process that an employee suggestion scheme with clear feedback route be introduced. The strategy and scheme will be in place by 31 December 2009.

9. The Communications, Engagement and Consultation teams consider and report back to the Select Committee on the detailed service improvement opportunities included in Appendices 3, 4 and 5 of this report by 31 March 2010.
Cabinet Decision Record D090155

1. Stockton Borough Council carry out a ‘Use It or Lose It’ campaign to encourage residents to use public transport services with a view to increasing bus patronage thereby seeking to reduce the subsidy required to support these services.

2. Officers enter into dual negotiations for the English National Concessionary Scheme Concession 2010 subsidy with the alternative option of introducing a reduced fare for pass holders travelling before 9.30am Monday - Friday.

3. The cost of the Pathfinder 16 - 19 year old half fare concessionary pass be increased from £5/£10 to £8 per annum for all pass holders in the first instance and this be reviewed annually.

4. The cost of seats on Home to School transport vehicles being sold to non eligible pupils be increased on an incremental basis over a three academic year period, to commence in 2010/11, from £65 to £80.00 per term in year 1 to a maximum of £100 per term by year three and thereafter reviewed annually.

5. Taking into account passenger usage rates and the need to maximise vehicle occupancy whilst retaining a responsive service, the following phased approach is recommended following consultation with all relevant parties including staff, unions and customers:

(a) the hours of the Dial a Ride Service be reduced to daytime only Monday - Friday with alternative taxi arrangements on evenings, Saturdays and Sundays for those users who currently require this service to make regular journeys.

(b) the cost of the fare per trip be increased from £1.20/£1.50 to £1.70 per trip

(c) one of the two Dial a Ride vehicles to provide a semi scheduled service thereby seeking to increase vehicle occupancy

(d) in order to provide a more flexible and responsive service to users, Officers commence discussions with all relevant parties with a view to providing the Dial A Ride service through a registered contracted taxi scheme by October 2010, subject to appropriate safeguards being put in place to retain appropriate levels of passenger care and safety.

6. If further efficiency savings need to be achieved, the following options should be considered and prioritised by Cabinet against other service efficiencies:

(a)a reduction in Boroughbus subsidised services

(b) the discontinuation of the 16 - 19 year old half price concessionary fare pass after Aug 2010 if additional government funding is ceased.

7. To ensure appropriate transport options are offered to customers, following a process of assessment that identifies this as a need, that are fair, equitable and robust.

8. Opportunities for Tees Valley or greater joint Authority provision of community transport services be examined in principle.

9. Alternative management delivery models for the commissioning and providing public and community. transport be explored.
Cabinet Decision Record D090148
RESOLVED that appointments be made to the vacant Governorships subject to successful List 99 check and Personal Disclosure, as follows:-

Crooksbarn Primary School - Mr D Wilburn (Lab)
Joint Management Committee Green Gates and Bishopton Centre - Mrs Jane Harvey (School Nomination)
Layfield Primary School - Mr Derek Hawcock (School Nomination)
Pope Benedict XV1 Federation - Mr C Coombs (Lab)
Cabinet Decision Record D090156

1. Cabinet note the standards and achievement in School Performance across the borough.

2. Cabinet note the details regarding the new Ofsted framework for inspecting schools, and the Education White Paper ‘your child, your schools, our future’.

3. The impact on the Education Improvement Service represented by the Education White Paper and the revised Ofsted framework, be noted.

Cabinet Decision Record D090157

1. The progress made to date be noted.

2. It be noted that a full schedule with findings, plans and photographs is in the Members’ library for information.

3. The Head of Technical Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport continues to consider the potential for adoption where it is in the interest of the public (recommendations approved in November 2008).
Cabinet Decision Record D090158

1. The content of the report be noted.

2. The Low Carbon Economy Transition Plan be developed further.
Cabinet Decision Record D090159

1. The content of the consultation results for Yarm Parking be noted.

2. The following actions be endorsed:-

(i) The Council will work to develop ideas for an additional long stay car parking facility in Yarm.

(ii) The resources to support the development of car parking sites, when identified, be funded from developer contributions as a result of planning approvals and the introduction of charging for short stay car parking in Yarm High Street. However in the short term, there is no intention to introduce charging.

(iii) The introduction of a residents permit parking scheme if charging for short stay car parking were introduced.

(iv) The existing disc parking zone currently used to control car parking durations on Yarm High Street be retained at its current 2 hour maximum.

3. Authority be delegated to the Head of Technical Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport to pursue the investigation and development of suitable sites for long stay car parking.
Cabinet Decision Record D090160
RESOLVED that the response to the Consultation questions be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D090161
RESOLVED that the JSNA summary and its linkage to the key strategies and plans that support delivery of the Sustainable Community Strategy be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D090162
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D090163

1. The report be noted.

2. Allocations for 2010/11 be approved.

3. The approach to determining a model for future funding allocations through securing (possibly via RIEP) an independent organisation with an understanding of the Third Sector and Stockton to work with Catalyst be endorsed and a core funding commissioning framework be agreed.

4. An update be brought to a future Members Seminar.
Cabinet Decision Record D090149
RESOLVED that the minutes of the following meetings be received/approved, as appropriate:-

Children’s Trust Board 24 June 2009
Health and Wellbeing Partnership 27 July 2009
St Ann’s Development Board 9 September 2009
Stockton Renaissance 22 September 2009
St. Ann’s Development 20 October 2009
Health and Wellbeing Partnership 26 October 2009
Cabinet Decision Record D090164
RECOMMENDED that the revised Statement of Licensing Principles be approved.
Cabinet Decision Record D090165
RECOMMENDED to Council that:-

1. The decision to hold a referendum regarding the chosen executive model and related proposals for change be rescinded.

2. Further consultation takes place as follows:-
Information regarding the two executive models will be provided to all local government electors, who will be asked to indicate which of the executive models they would prefer to see introduced by the Council.

3. A report be submitted to Cabinet regarding the outcome of this further consultation, with a view to one of the executive models and the related proposals for change being recommended to Council for approval.

4. The Chief Executive, in consultation with Cabinet Members and Group Leaders, be authorised to finalise:-

the details of and arrangements relating to the further consultation outlined at recommendation 2, including the timescale for replies;

a communications programme regarding the outcome of Council’s consideration of these recommendations; and subject to that the reporting of the results of the further consultation to Cabinet and Council.

5. The costs of the further consultation process be met from corporate balances.
Cabinet Decision Record D090166
RECOMMENDED to Council that the consultation mechanisms for the East Billingham Transport Corridor, the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements and the Tees Valley Metro.
Cabinet Decision Record D090167
RECOMMENDED to Council that it note and endorse the Local Development Framework Annual Monitoring Report for 2008/09.


Councillor Cunningham declared a personal, prejudicial interest in respect of the item entitled Scrutiny Review of Carbon Management as a result of his employment, left the room and took no part during discussion of the item.

Councillor Lupton declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest in respect of the item entitled EIT Review of Communication, Consultation, and Engagement as a result of a family member being employed within the Communications Section.

Councillor Cunningham declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest in respect of the item entitled Tees Valley Low Carbon Economic Transition Plan as a result of his employment as a consultant to the energy industry.

Councillor Cook declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest in the item entitled Tees Valley Low Carbon Economic Transition Plan as a result of his employment within the chemical industry, the sector upon which the plan was aimed at.

Councillor Coleman declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest in respect of the item entitled Neighbourhood Management in Stockton as a result of his position on the St Ann’s Development Board.

Councillors Mrs McCoy and Nelson each declared a personal, prejudicial interest in respect of the item entitled Voluntary Sector Support Fund and Community Empowerment Network Review as a result of their membership of the Stockton District Advice & Information Service.

Councillor Coleman declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest in respect of the item entitled Tees Valley Transportation Consultation as he was a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds which would be consulted on the East Billingham Transport Corridor.
Consideration was given to a report that informed Members of the current position regarding use of WIFI in schools, identifying the concerns that had been raised and the response to these concerns was provided by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), which included reports back on current research into this issue.

The HPA remained the Council’s source of expert scientific advice on radiation issues and the Council had contacted them directly to ensure decisions made regarding our schools were in compliance with both existing standards and the latest authorative scientific evidence.

The Council policy regarding WIFI or any electromagnetic radiation issues in schools was to closely follow and adhere to guidance from BECTA and the HPA.

Cabinet heard from a spokesperson for the local pressure group PAMT ( A Precautionary Approach to Microwave Technologies) which questioned the approach taken by the Council and the advice received from HPA. It was noted however that HPA was the recognised scientific body from whom local authorities received advice on this matter and that the Council had challenged and received assurances regarding the advice received. It was therefore proposed that this Council’s policy on electromagnetic radiation issues should continue to be to follow and adhere to guidance from BECTA and the HPA and to keep the situation under ongoing review.
Consideration was given to a report that updated Cabinet regarding the progress in Stockton-on-Tees for the transformation of adult social care services in line with the direction of travel required by the ‘Putting People First’ concordat.

‘Putting People First - A shared vision and commitment to the transformation of Adult Social Care’ was published as a Government protocol in December 2007. The Government stated that ‘Putting People First ‘sets the direction for adult social care over the next 10 years and more’. It confirmed the approach to ‘Personalisation’ and ‘self-directed support’ as a follow on from the existing Direct Payments legislation in place since 1996.

A programme for ‘Putting People First’ and Personalisation in Stockton-on-Tees was established in the summer of 2008 and reported to Cabinet in July 2008. The Cabinet report noted a collaborative approach was being established between central and local government, the sector's professional leadership, providers and the regulator. The report also highlighted how Children, Education and Social Care were planning to take forward the development of new systems and processes to ensure appropriate safeguards were put in place to protect vulnerable adults and ensure no financial abuse.

Following the previous Cabinet report a project manager had been appointed (October 2008) to work with a project board, using a project plan to agree and drive forward the project requirements. The personalisation programme had involved work across seven main areas to develop proposals for achieving personalisation of adult social care services. These areas were based on helping people who use social care services, families and their carers by;

* Developing a local Resource Allocation System (RAS);
* Developing a local Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) known as the Personal Needs Questionnaire (PNQ);
* Improving ways to gain access to information and services;
* Providing a support planning and brokerage framework to support and assist people in choosing support services;
* Understanding the current care and support pathways and developing new systems to ensure clear and simple pathways to support individuals with personal budgets;
* Working with existing and new providers to develop flexible and responsive care and support services;
* Developing the workforce and skills for the future.

The Personalisation Project Board was chaired by the Corporate Director of Children, Education and Social Care and involved senior representatives from across the Council and PCT. Work in each area had progressed with project sub-groups being formed to drive forward the required changes. Options for each area had been developed from local, regional and national sources so that best practice and effectiveness would be identified. In particular work had progressed on the development of a Resource Allocation System and Self Assessment Questionnaire, which would enable people to self-direct their support by offering an upfront budget allocation and supporting them to complete a costed support plan explaining how they wished to receive support services in future. The new process would impact positively on the Councils ability to manage social care assessments and meet new performance targets.

A set of proposals were brought together as a proposed ‘operating model’ through the development of an Individual Budget Delivery Policy.

It was intended that the revised model for personalised services would be brought into effect in December 2009. In view of the scale and complexity of the changes impacting on social work teams over the following 18 months the project management approach would remain in place to ensure appropriate training, support and policy development was maintained. There would be required revisions to information and case management arrangements, changes in the processes that operated including financial systems, new brokerage roles would need to be developed and internal and external service providers would need to be supported so they were able to operate in more flexible ways according to the preferences and choices of individual service users. The implementation programme would involve extensive discussion with service users, staff and others who would be affected by the changes, and development work with existing and new providers was a key part of the programme.

In parallel with the Personalisation programme for social care, there were corresponding developments being pursued in other linked services, such as supported housing and the NHS. Work was ongoing to ensure that effective links were made so that each person could have the right services in place according to their individual needs and choices.
Consideration was given to a report that outlined the Council’s financial and service performance for the second quarter of 2009/10, 1st July 2009 to 30 September 2009 highlighting achievements against objectives in the Council Plan, the Local Area Agreement, the National Indicator Set, consultation activity undertaken, complaints, commendations and comments received and an update on the EIT Review program.

Members considered a table that provided details of 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. Details of some identified pressures and potential issues within services was provided.

Members noted General Fund Balances, Earmarked Reserves, Housing Revenue Account and the Capital budget.

In addition to the financial information members also considered information that provided a picture of the Council’s performance against the National Indicator, the EIT Review programme as well as details of resident feedback on consultation activity undertaken.

Of the National Indicator measures where information was available at the end of quarter 2, 69% (78 indicators) across all themes were predicted to achieve targets or were within the agreed tolerance set, this compared to 83% at quarter 1. For the remaining measures (35) action was being taken to address areas of slippage. Details of achievements and areas of slippage were included in the thematic sections of the report.

The current Local Area Agreement (LAA) was 6 months into year two of the three-year agreement with Central Government. Good progress continued to be made against some very stretching targets particularly within a difficult economic climate. Of those measures where information was available at Quarter 2, 62% (25 measures) had achieved or were on track to achieve their targets, 15 measures had either slipped or were predicted not to achieve the targets at year end. Key areas where performance had slipped or was predicting to miss targets were the employment / benefit claimants, some educational attainment measures and timeliness in provision of care packages. 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 be renegotiated with Government Office North East during the months of November to January 2010. Guidance on the negotiation process was still awaited from Central Government, which would provide us with a clearer picture of which measures and targets for 2010/11 we can revisit. Details of the achievements and areas of slippage within the LAA were provided.

Members noted progress against the Council Plan as a whole and for each theme.
Consideration was given to a report that presented the findings of the Environment Select Committee review of Carbon Management, which took place between May 2009 and October 2009, which sought to identify options for future strategy / policy / service provision that would deliver efficiency savings and sustain or improve high quality outcomes for Stockton Borough residents.

The Committee recognised the important role the Council had for public leadership of this issue and how effective the plans needed to be to impact upon carbon emissions. The Government wanted to encourage and empower local authorities to take additional action in tackling climate change, where they wished to do so. Stockton Borough Council was part of the Tees Valley Climate Change partnership, which aimed to tackle climate change in the most efficient way through sharing resources and efficient sub-regional collaboration on cross-boundary issues. The Council accounted for 2 per cent of carbon emissions in the borough which although was not a significant percentage overall was considered high as the Council is not a manufacturing organisation.

In addition the Committee wanted to examine and identify any opportunities to reduce the costs of the Council’s energy bill.

It was noted that following consideration of the recommendations by Cabinet an Action Plan would be submitted to the Select Committee setting out how approved recommendations would be implemented, detailing officers responsible for action and timescales.
Consideration was given to a report that presented Cabinet with the findings of the EIT review of Communication, Consultation and Engagement undertaken by the Corporate, Adult Services and Social Inclusion Select Committee between June and October 2009.

The review formed part of a three year programme of EIT (Efficiency, Improvement and Transformation) reviews covering all services provided by the Council. The programme aimed to ensure that all services were reviewed in a systematic way to ensure that they were provided in the most efficient manner, provided value for money, and identified opportunities for service improvements and transformation. The Select Committee review examined all of the Council’s communication, consultation and engagement with the public, employees, Councillors and partners. The overall aims of the review were:

To communicate what we do more effectively and to improve perceptions of the Council and the area

To identify options for future strategy, policy and service improvement that would deliver efficiency savings and sustain/improve high quality outcomes for Stockton residents. To make effective use of technology and transform the way we communicate, consult and engage with local communities, our staff and key stakeholders.

Following consideration by Cabinet an action plan would be submitted to the Select Committee setting out how approved recommendations would be implemented, detailing officers responsible for action, and timescales.
Cabinet considered a report that presented the findings of the EIT review of Commissioning and Provision of Public and Community Transport undertaken by the Regeneration & Transport Select Committee between June and November 2009.

The review formed part of a three year programme of EIT (Efficiency, Improvement and Transformation) reviews covering all services provided by the Council. The programme aimed to ensure that all services were reviewed in a systematic way to ensure that they were provided in the most efficient manner, provided value for money, and identified opportunities for service improvements and transformation. The Select Committee review examined provision of concessionary travel passes for public transport, the provision of supported services where there were no “commercial” service, and the provision of community transport. Community transport included transport to adult care facilities for those who required it, a Dial a Ride service for those that could not use public transport; and provision of home to school transport. The overall aims of the review were:

To identify options for future strategy, policy and service improvement that would deliver efficiency savings and sustain/improve high quality outcomes for Stockton residents.

Reduce the impact on the rising public transport costs whilst ensuring appropriate amount of accessibility for those residents who relied on such transport.

Following consideration by Cabinet an action plan would be submitted to the Select Committee setting out how approved recommendations would be implemented, detailing officers responsible for action and timescales.
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.
Consideration was given to a detailed report advising members of both school performance in the academic year 2008/9; as well as two recent developments in statutory processes underpinning school improvement; namely:-

-The new Ofsted School Inspection Framework-September 2009;
-The Education White Paper “Your Child, your schools, our future-building a 21st Century Schools System”;

Data was provided that illustrated how this authority’s performance compared to the previous academic year, and in comparison to the national average, with regard to Key Stages 1-4.

From September 2008 to July 2009, 31 schools were inspected. These included 19 primary, 6 secondary and 2 special schools. Of these inspections 4 were monitoring visits undertaken by Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) to judge progress of schools in categories e.g. Special Measures or schools who had previously had grade 3 “satisfactory” inspections. In all but one, strengths continue to outweigh any weaknesses. Thornaby Community School had been placed in Special Measures in January 2009 and has now already received its first monitoring visit where it was judged to be making satisfactory progress on all recommendations. Billingham Campus was placed in Special Measures by Ofsted in November 2007. At the school’s final HMI monitoring visit in July 2009 it was judged to be making good progress with good capacity to improve. Three schools received Ofsted monitoring visits because they were graded 3 or “satisfactory” at their previous inspection. St Patrick’s RC Primary (Stockton) and The Norton School were both judged to be making good progress against recommendations from their previous inspection with Westlands School making satisfactory progress.

Overall, 96% of schools inspected were judged to be satisfactory or better overall with 81% being good or better, including 37% being judged to be outstanding.

. The Ofsted School Inspection Framework for September 2009 onwards had again risen the bar for school’s achievement. Key changes to the Ofsted School Inspection Framework for September 2009 included:

• The introduction of a robust annual risk assessment of every school by Ofsted; taking into account published results, parental views and local intelligence. This risk assessment determined which schools were inspected and with what priority. The previous assumption of three years between inspections no longer pertained. Good and stable schools were likely to be inspected once every 5 years; up to 40% of schools with satisfactory inspections would be re-inspected within the year; schools in Ofsted Categories would be given a 4 week window within which they would receive “no notice” monitoring visits.

• All schools would be inspected to the same standard tariff, the best schools inspected less frequently but reduced tariff or light touch inspections would cease.

• Limiting judgements in relation to attainment, equalities and safeguarding had been introduced. The Attainment judgement comprised three elements;

• the standard of academic attainment

• levels of progress in classrooms and

• the progress of vulnerable groups (for example, minority ethnic groups, children in care, the gifted and talented, pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, pupils who claim free school meals) to assess the extent to which schools ensure that all pupils, including those most at risk, succeed.

• Inspectors would make more detailed recommendations based on diagnosis of the school’s strengths and weaknesses to support further improvements at the school.

• Inspections would now focus much more on classroom practice.

• Headteachers and staff were now expected to participate in the inspection, working with the inspection team.

• Gathering and analysing the views of parents and pupils assumed an increased importance.

• New judgements had been introduced:
• how effectively schools work in partnership with other providers;
• the effectiveness of the leadership and management of teaching and learning;
•leaders’ and managers’ success at all levels in embedding ambition and driving improvements;
• More explicit expectations for governors and an enhanced judgement about governance and value for money.
• More explicit expectations concerning Safeguarding and an enhanced judgement around safeguarding.

It was noted that the nature of the limiting judgement on attainment may leave some Stockton schools vulnerable to receiving a lower inspection judgement than might have previously been expected, meaning that any possible dip in the future performance of Stockton schools, would require increased support to be provided from the Education Improvement Service.

The new White Paper also sought to introduce to redefine the nature of school improvement and how it was delivered; signaling the end of the national strategies and loss of local authority funding previously provided. Cabinet was asked to note the likely budget pressure faced by the Education Improvement Service.
Consideration was given to a progress report on unadopted highways.

In the 6 November 2008 Cabinet report, Members were advised on the legal status and responsibility for private, unadopted streets. The report gave examples of unadopted areas and some financial implications relating to the adoption of streets.

Subsequent to the report, a combination of Member and Officer knowledge led to the compilation of a list of known unadopted streets in the Borough. Officers had visited each street and made observations on the status and potential for adoption. It was noted that some progress had been made in determining their appropriateness for adoption together with comments on the legal/cost implications. The list of streets and the findings were attached to the report. Those that were indicated for adoption were recommended on the basis of nominal cost and/or where they had been identified as anomalies on public records. Those that were not recommended were in the main private driveways, where the property owners had no desire to see them adopted and/or it was not in the wider public interest.

The adopted policy would be reviewed regularly by the Head of Technical Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport and any representations or requests made would be given due consideration based on the previous approved recommendations.
Consideration was given to a report on the Tees Valley Low Carbon Economic Transition Plan.

The report explained the issues and opportunities facing a major sector of the local economy. It also explained and further developed an action plan to combat the risks and secure the benefits of a move towards a lower carbon economy.

Tees Valley and in particular the Billingham/Seal Sands/North Tees area was home to the largest integrated chemical complex in the UK. Clearly related to the complex was the third largest port in the UK, the largest hydrogen network in the UK, a national pipeline network, a world-class engineering industry e.g. K Home Engineering, Aker Solutions, which specialised in oil and gas and the maintenance and construction of heavy industrial plant and machinery. Through the Centre for Process Innovation at Wilton there was world-class expertise in innovation.

The Tees Valley had seen considerable investment in biofuels, biomass power stations and energy from waste plants. Ensus were about to open Europe’s largest bioethanol plant at Wilton and the biodiesel plant at Seal Sands was one of the largest in the UK. There was a pipeline of £4 billion of capital investment which had received planning consent and was looking to invest in the Tees Valley in the medium term. In Stockton examples were Thor and Conoco Phillips proposed investment into two combined heat and power plants (£1 billion), £120 million expansion of the SITA Energy at Waste plant at Haverton Hill and two biomass power stations (Gaia and Clarence Works). It was important that the pipeline of investment was turned into reality.

The Low Carbon Transition Plan sought a partnership with Government, ONE and the industry to deliver this £4 billion pipeline of investment. Key projects were carbon capture and storage of carbon dioxide under the North Sea, and the generation of green petrochemicals from biological feedstocks. These projects needed to be implemented by 2013 when carbon emissions taxation would be introduced to give the industry in the area a major commercial advantage. To achieve this Government and regulatory frameworks policy needed to support the Tees Valley and new delivery vehicles were needed to deal with infrastructure notably access to the National Grid, the creation of a robust pipeline network and strategic land acquisitions.

The Low Carbon Transition Plan would be submitted to Government through the Regional Minister.
Consideration was given to a report on the Yarm Car Parking Consultation.

Yarm had a long history of parking problems as a popular market town. The businesses and shops continued to enjoy a healthy trade and the demand for residential property attracted many people and mixed uses to the High Street, all of which had a demand for parking.

In June and July 2009, the Council led a consultation exercise that sought opinion on how the Council could move forward in resolving parking issues on Yarm High Street and the immediate vicinity. The objective of the exercise was to stimulate debate and capture ideas from Residents, Businesses and Shoppers of Yarm, together with that of the wider community.

This report outlined the process undertaken and the results of the recent public consultation on car parking in Yarm High Street. The consultation results provided an emerging way forward for the Council to pursue positive actions in developing solutions for Yarm.

It was a popular misconception that the traffic congestion Yarm suffers was due to the heavy traffic having to negotiate the small High Street. The junctions and road links all actually carried less traffic than they had capacity for. One of the main causes of the hold ups was due to the constant manoeuvring of traffic in and out of the side roads and parking areas. Limited availability of short and long stay parking meant that users were slowing down looking for spaces, which had been attributed to the main cause of slow moving traffic.

The current Yarm High Street car parking position was detailed within the report.

The consultation had run for four weeks and included doorstep leaflet drops, web pages, manned exhibitions and face-to-face meetings with key community groups.

The consultation exercise stimulated debate and many areas of the community were vocal for and against the principles during the exhibitions that were held. At the close of the consultation, the Council had received a total of 888 email, web and postal returns, with respondents providing views on the above key principles as well as bespoke comments.
In summary, the statistical results were reported below. As the consultation was wider than Yarm itself, the analysis was split, using postcode data, into the following categories:-

Yarm Central - Those living/operating from addresses within the Yarm High St area.
Yarm Outer - Those responding from within the Parish of Yarm.
Other - External to addresses within the Yarm Parish.

Key messages from the results were summarised as:-

* There was widespread clear support for an additional long stay car parking facility needed in Yarm.

* The support for charging for short stay car parking in Yarm had a mixed reception, but in order to be able to deliver a ‘new’ long stay car park and a residents permit parking scheme, charging in the High Street would be necessary. It would also provide greater flexibility and clarity than the current Disc Zone regulations. However in the short term, there was no intention to introduce charging.

* The introduction of a residents’ permit parking scheme had majority support, particularly from those within the Central Yarm area, whom were directly affected by on street commuter parking.

* The sites identified in the consultation showed that the land behind the Medical Centre (Brickyard Allotments) was the most favourable, of those listed. However, the Council was keen to pursue all options available, particularly other potential central Yarm sites.

* The consultation suggested there was no desire to extend the current disc parking form 2 hours to 3 hours maximum.

Officers would develop an action plan in recognition of the results received. The action plan would underpin a process that could be followed over the coming months to help look for solutions for parking in Yarm. This process would:-

* Actively look for positive solutions, and provide regular feedback to all partners/stakeholders.

* Look to identify sites that may be suitable to accommodate piecemeal or a full 200 space car park. The Borough Council would actively work with landowners, public bodies and other stakeholders to bring these into use, if at all possible. Issues that may need to be considered were layout/access arrangements, proximity to local amenities and any other highway/environmental concerns coming to light as we work through the details. In the short term, charges for existing car parking in Yarm would not be introduced. As sites were identified that were deliverable, charges may be introduced together with developer contributions from planning approvals which will fund bringing them into use.

* Ensure appropriate consultation be carried out with the wider community on emerging options.

* Make available a list of other sites that had been discounted on technical grounds of size, location or access so that it was clear why they could not be considered further.

Details of this consultation response were provided to Yarm Town Council on 22 October 2009.
Cabinet was advised of the content of the Green Paper entitled ‘Shaping the Future of Care Together’ which set out the Government’s vision for a new care system that was fit for the 21st Century; and was responsive to the changes in expectations and demographics of society.

The Green Paper, which was reflective of earlier consultation with the public, people who use services and people who work in care, found that rising aspirations demanded a better, fairer system of care and support both for those who look forward to a long and active old age, but who may need some support to stay well in their later years, and those who need some support earlier in their lives due to disability. The green paper reflected a view that the current system was a legacy of a series of incremental steps rather than a single planned creation, such as the National Health Service. Some people qualified for support through disability benefits. By contrast, means tested social care support was only provided to people on low incomes who could not afford to pay for themselves. Other people who were seen as being able to support themselves were expected to do so from their own resources such as savings and the value of their home if their savings or assets had a value of more than £23,000. A large number of people were expected to make provision for themselves and received little in the way of advice and support whilst having to make difficult and expensive decisions about care and support.

Beyond the above perceived unfairness, the current funding mechanism was seen as unsustainable because of the shifting demographics within society. This means that there will be considerably more people living into their later years and fewer people of working age. By 2026 it was likely that 1.7 million more adults would need care and support. Rising expectation means that they will expect more choice and control over their services. Failure to reform the system would also restrict the effectiveness of such initiatives as Putting People First and the personalisation agenda. A projection of the anticipated demographic changes was provided, including the likely demand for care and support services.

The principal proposal contained within the green paper was a new National Care Service which would incorporate a universal framework for care and support that was simple to understand. Its aim would be to support people to stay independent, and to provide services based on individual circumstances and need. The Government envisaged the new National Care Service being fully ‘joined up’ with the NHS to help people receive more appropriate care in the right setting. Details of the key features of the Paper were summarised. The vast majority of responses to the Government’s previous consultation process argued that everyone in society is responsible for ensuring people receive the care they need, including individuals, families, employers, communities and government. Almost everyone agreed that the Government should share care costs through a largely tax-based system. Three principles to determine how state resources are spent were put forward for further consultation:

Variation according to where people live: this was viewed as unfair by the majority of respondents because where someone lives should not influence what level of care they can receive;
Variation according to when someone develops a need: this is about whether there should be one system for everyone, or different systems based on the different needs people have. People were less concerned about how money is raised so long as individuals with different needs are entitled to the same outcomes.
Variation according to whether people are able to pay for their care: the paper reports mixed views with some people believing state funds should focus on people with greatest need (and lowest means), but others finding it unfair that those who save all their lives have to pay for themselves, whilst those who have never saved get their care for free.

In order to make the best use of existing funding, the Government had recognised that there were many different sources of money that were currently used to pay for care and support. Some were seen as working well, such as Supporting People and Disability Living Allowance. Other funding streams were seen to be used less well, for example Attendance Allowance (AA), which is not means tested. Five funding models were outlined as ways of bringing new money into the system: individuals paying for themselves; partnership; insurance; comprehensive; and tax funded. Of these, the Government had three preferred options for a funding model that was universal, helped everyone who needs care to pay for it, was fair and affordable and was simple and easy to understand. These were the partnership model, the comprehensive model, and the insurance model; the details of each were summarised.

The Government had posed 3 national consultation questions to gather the views of all stakeholders and had run a number of road shows (The Big Debate) to engage a range of views on these proposals. The deadline for responses was the 13 November 2009.

A policy briefing session for Members had been held on 2 November 2009 and a summary of the member comments received was considered. Responses from health and social care managers had been incorporated into the Primary Care Organisation response, which was also submitted.

The results of the consultation would be published in due course and a national leadership group would be established, bringing together the leading experts and organisations across care and support to drive forward changes and to resolve issues where clear differences remain. A white paper would then be published on care and support in 2010 with detailed proposals for implementing a new National Care Service offering care ands support for everyone.
Cabinet was advised that the second refreshed Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) had now been completed for 2009 and consideration was given to the Summary document which provided an overview of the health, care and wellbeing needs of Stockton.

The Assessment (JSNA) was a process that Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Local Authorities had a duty to work on together to describe the health, wellbeing and care needs of the populations they serve. It should be used to develop the right services in the right way to meet those needs. This process was part of a ’duty to cooperate’ that the government set out in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act (2007). It took a long-term strategic-level view, looking up to 10 years ahead, and brought together, for the first time in one source, the range of information across partners that informs the health and wellbeing needs of our communities.

The purpose of this Joint Strategic Needs Assessment was to highlight the main health and wellbeing priorities for Stockton-on-Tees, taking account of data and information on inequalities within and between communities. It had been prepared by the Health & Wellbeing Management Team on behalf of the Health & Wellbeing Partnership, the thematic group of the Local Strategic Partnership with representation from a wide range of local partners, which would have a key role in ensuring that the JSNA is used effectively to support the delivery of a health and wellbeing strategy for the Stockton-on-Tees area.

The JSNA provided an opportunity to look ahead over the long-term - at least three to five years, and longer still, so that:
a)services were shaped by involvement of local people and communities.
b)inequalities in health were reduced.
c)health care was provided in proportion to need (to reduce inequity).
d)social inclusion was increased.
e)these outcomes were achieved cost-effectively.

The JSNA would be an integral part of the planning cycle for all involved so that it continued to inform key strategic priorities for the health and wellbeing of our area, and supported delivery of the Local Area Agreement, the PCT’s Vital Signs agreement, and partners’ business planning processes.
Consideration was given to a report regarding the various approaches to neighbourhood management which had been taken across the borough.

As part of its commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal, in 2001 the Government funded the development of 35 pathfinder partnerships to develop and test neighbourhood management with a focus on deprived urban and rural areas. The intention was that the pathfinder funding would be used over a longer term than previous area-based initiatives to stimulate a change in a way of working that would see sustainability embedded through mainstream budgets.

Involving and empowering communities was a consistent theme running through a number of national documents published by DCLG and the new ‘duty to involve’ came into force in April 2009. This required local authorities and other public agencies to establish positive relationships within local communities, to deal with problems to the satisfaction of residents, particularly in the most disadvantaged areas where satisfaction with local services and participation levels were often low.

The Use of Resources assessment for Councils and Fire and Rescue Services and the Area Assessment aspect of CAA placed a stronger emphasis on community engagement and empowerment and an assessment of how all public services were working together to make a positive difference to local communities and specific vulnerable groups.

The Parkfield and Mill Lane (PML) Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder was one of partnerships in Phase 1 of the national programme, and allocated £3.5 million between 2002 and 2009, alongside some additional support from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF). One of its most popular and effective interventions was the NMP sponsored ‘Village Style Policing’ initiative, which introduced a neighbourhood policing model to Parkfield and Mill Lane over four years before this approach to policing was adopted and rolled out nationally.

The St. Ann’s Partnership Neighbourhood Element was established in 2006 and was allocated £1.4million funding over the 4 year period 2006-2010, through the Neighbourhood Element of NRF that had similar overarching aims and objectives as the PML pathfinder. The Council was the accountable body for the funding, with the Board developing and setting priorities for funding to be spent within the areas of Portrack and Tilery with Mount Pleasant.

The various activities of the Area Partnerships were another approach to community engagement and patch-based service delivery. Intervention funding for the Area Partnerships came from Communities Fund. The Area Partnerships were accountable to the Council as the legally and financially accountable body.

There were a number of other initiatives that took a focussed approach to problem solving that endeavoured to shape service delivery either on a locality basis or in relation to specific vulnerable groups, for example the Joint Action Groups in relation to achieving community safety objectives and targets.

Community engagement was a key aspect within the EIT review programme and included within the scope of the Communication, Consultation and Engagement Review which was a Year 1 review carried out by the Corporate Adult and Social Inclusion Scrutiny Committee.

The development of the Local Intelligence Framework would provide profiles of communities at a spatial level i.e., Borough, local area and neighbourhood and at a population group level i.e., particular vulnerable groups. This intelligence would be used to inform and shape mainstream service delivery and provide an evidence base for identifying neighbourhoods that would benefit from intensive local support facilitated through the bringing together of the engagement functions.
Consideration was given to a report that provided Cabinet with information on the outcomes from the review of the Voluntary Sector Support Fund and Community Empowerment Network.

The core purpose of the Voluntary Sector Support Fund was to facilitate the development of a thriving and sustainable third sector in order that voluntary and community sector organisations were well placed to access the significant amount of public service and private sector funding through commissioning and access external grants. In 2008/9 this amounted to expenditure of £11m by the Council.

The proposals in the report addressed all the main findings arising from the review and would see continued support for most of the organisations currently funded but at a reduced level (by 12% for 2010/11) in most cases, a reduction that was less than what the sector were expecting.

A time-limited additional piece of work as part of the Communications, Consultation and Engagement EIT review recommendations would be carried out in order to develop a coherent and transparent framework for future core funding decisions from 2011/12, alongside seeking financial contributions from other key public sector partners and linking with strategic sector development work which was being proposed by Catalyst.

The proposals would see continued support for the strategic infrastructure for the sector via Catalyst, support to grass roots organisations via Stockton Residents and Community Groups Association and the CEN without the need to utilise voluntary sector support funding for the latter. The financial impact on the sector for 2010/11 had been minimised whilst a more strategic and transparent framework for the allocation of VSSF was developed in 2010/11.
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of various bodies.
Consideration was given to a report that informed Cabinet of the results of the consultations carried out on the review of the Statement of Licensing Principles that the Council, as the Licensing Authority, would apply in exercising its functions under the Gambling Act 2005 and to propose the adoption of the revised policy

Section 349 of the Gambling Act 2005 required licensing authorities to publish a “statement of the principles that they proposed to apply in exercising their functions” under the Act, applicable to a 3 year period.

The current Statement of Licensing Principles was approved by Council in December 2006 and under the provisions of the Act need to be reviewed prior to publication in January 2010.

In preparing the statement of principles licensing authorities were required to:-

Adhere to regulations issued by the Secretary of State

Consider guidance issued to licensing authorities by the Gambling

Recognise the need to be reasonably consistent with the licensing objectives where applicable. The licensing objectives were set out at Section 1 of the Act and were:-

- Preventing gambling from being a source of crime and disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime

- Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way

- Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

The Statement of Licensing Principles had been reviewed by officers and a revised draft statement was attached to the report. The revisions in the main related to decision making and to the definition of premises and how the issue of split premises and multiple licences would be dealt with and reflect the revised guidance issued by the Gambling Commission. The section on transitional arrangements had been removed.

The Act also required the licensing authority to consult with the following people on its statement of principle:

(a) the Police

(b) those who represented the interests; of gambling businesses in their area; and

(c) those persons which represent interested persons likely to be affected by the exercise of the Authority’s functions under the Act.

The revised statement of principles was circulated for comment to:-

- All elected Members

- Town and Parish Councils

- Cleveland Police

- Cleveland Fire Service

- Stockton-on-Tees Safeguarding Children Board

- Environmental Health

- Development Control

- Safer Stockton Partnership

- HM Revenue and Customs

- Primary Care Trust

- Citizens Advice Bureau

- Residents Associations

- Trade Bodies and Associations

- Representatives of Local Businesses

- Organisations working with problem gamblers

In addition the statement was published on the Council’s website and comments were invited from anyone who may be affected by the policy.

Only one letter of comment was received during the consultation period and this was considered by the Licensing Committee at their meeting held on Thursday 29 October when it was agreed that no further amendments to the statement of principles was necessary. The Licensing Committee recommended that the draft Statement Of Licensing Principles be submitted to Cabinet and Council for approval.
Further to the meeting held on 6th August 2009, consideration was given to the outcome of the consultation held regarding the specific executive models put forward for the future governance of this authority, as required by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.

It was noted that only 425 replies had been received and that of these, opinion was fairly evenly split with regards to which of the following models was preferred:-

-Council Leader and Cabinet Model;
-Directly Elected Mayor and Cabinet Model

Whilst Council, at its meeting held on 9th September 2009, had originally resolved that a referendum was to be held on a preferred or chosen executive model identified via the consultation, members expressed concern at the lack of public interest shown both here, and in other areas of the country which cast doubt as to whether the cost of holding a full scale referendum was justified in the current financial climate.

Cabinet was also advised of the requirements involved in submitting any proposals for change to the Secretary of State.
Consideration was given to a report that followed on from the Cabinet report “Tees Valley Transport Schemes” from 3rd September and 9th September 2009 respectively. It informed Members of the consultation mechanisms proposed for the projects discussed in the previous report, namely, the East Billingham Transport Corridor, the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements and the Tees Valley Metro and asks Members to endorse these mechanisms.

It was explained that Officers had been utilising the existing consultation networks with Town & Parish Councils and other community stakeholders through the Area Transport Strategy process. The last round of meetings were held late September and early October. These networks would continue to be updated on a regular basis.

An appendix to the report showed the range of consultation proposed for the Tees Valley major transport schemes with associated timescales.

The East Billingham Transport Corridor (EBTC) was highlighted in the Council’s Second Local Transport Plan (LTP2) as a major scheme to address the volume of HGV’s (in particular tankers carrying hazardous chemicals) passing through residential areas of Billingham on route to the industrial areas to the east of the town.

Consultation for the original options report was carried out in 2004/05. This exercise sought views from the statutory consultees on several possible route options.

More recently, engagement with key stakeholders had taken place through Billingham Town Council meetings, a series of Ward Member Briefings and through the Northern Area Transport Strategy Steering Group meetings.

The proposed alignment of the EBTC was in the vicinity of the RSPB Saltholme Reserve and the medieval village of Cowpen Bewley and, as such, a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be needed to ensure the design and construction of the road had minimal adverse impact on the surroundings and that mitigation measures were in place. As part of this process a consultation would take place with the statutory consultees including the landowners, Natural England, RSPB and the Environment Agency.

As the EIA process would ultimately determine the route that the new road will take, wider public consultation will need to follow part of this process.

It was hoped that a formal planning application will be submitted around March 2010. This would be subject to the standard 21 day consultation period.

This 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 includes 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 would be advertised on site and in the local press and would be subject to the statutory 21 day notice period, during which time any objections could be made. TRO’s would be processed by the Corporate Director of Law and Democracy and they would receive any objections submitted.

Once this additional work was complete, a revised Major Scheme Business Case would be submitted to the DfT in a bid to gain Full Approval. It was anticipated that this Business Case would be signed off by the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements Project Board at their meeting on 6 November 2009 and submitted to the DfT the same day.

The DfT had suggested that they would require around 6 weeks to review the revised Business Case so a decision would be expected before Christmas 2009. Subject to approval being granted, works ‘on the ground’ should commence early in 2010 (Year 1), with completion of the scheme as a whole envisaged by the end of 2012 (Year 3).

Consultation had been ongoing throughout the development of this scheme and had become more significant in the past few weeks. Leaflets were available in community facilities throughout the Borough containing information on the overall project and details of “Year 1” schemes. The same information was available on the Council’s website and comments had been invited. Information on the scheme had also been provided in issues of Stockton News and the Evening Gazette.

A member briefing note detailing Year 1 schemes had been circulated to all Councillors on 23 October 2009. This was produced to ensure Councillors remained fully briefed on scheme progress and details of implementation works planned.

Local consultation would take place for the individual schemes within the project; indeed, this had already happened for the largest Year 1 scheme, improvements on Mandale Triangle.

Phase 1 of Metro (estimated cost £35m), scheduled for implementation between 2009 and 2012, includes the following elements:

New Platforms at Darlington and Middlesbrough Stations;
Relocation of Stations at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Wilton;
Station improvements at Eaglescliffe, Thornaby and Hartlepool;
A new station at James Cook University Hospital; and
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.

In terms of elements proposed within the Borough; the improvements to Eaglescliffe and Thornaby Stations were scheduled for implementation during 2010/11 and would 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 had to be assessed through Network Rail’s Guide to Railway Investment Projects (GRIP). This project management system had 8 stages with stage 6 being the construction stage. Currently, the majority of the component parts of the Metro project were at GRIP3. There was 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. This information would also be added to the Council’s website.

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.

A leaflet providing information on Tees Valley Transport Schemes was being developed by the Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit on behalf of Tees Valley Unlimited. This would be circulated and would invite comments on the proposals.
Members considered a report relating to the completion of the fifth Local Development Framework Annual Monitoring Report (AMR). It was explained that the report had to be submitted to the Secretary of State before the end of December 2009. The AMR contained information about how the Council had performed against Core Indicators set by the Department for Communities and Local Government relating to Business Development, Housing, Environmental Quality, Minerals and Waste.

The Report was based on the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009, known as the ‘reporting year’. It must be submitted to the Secretary of State no later than the end of December 2009.

A copy of the report was provided for members’ consideration and it was noted that it would enable the Council to:

assess progress towards meeting the targets set out in the Local Development Scheme, and provide a basis for amendments in timetabling, as necessary
strengthen baseline data against which to monitor performance in the future
identify further gaps in the knowledge base, to enable systems to be put in place to collect information required for monitoring
look at the existing Local Plan policies to assess their effectiveness.

During the year 2008/09, a number of the key milestones set out in the Local Development Scheme (LDS) 2008 were not met. With the agreement of Government Office North East, a revision to the Local Development Scheme was published in March 2009. This took into account the changes required by the June 2009 revision to Planning Policy Statement 12 as well as those required by the Planning Act (2008). Allowances were also made for the need to prepare further studies to supplement the evidence base and the effect of staff loss and turnover.

Progress on the LDF during 2008/2009 included

* The Preferred Options consultation for the joint Tees Valley Minerals and Waste Core Strategy and Site Allocations DPDs, which ended on 8 April 2008.
* The Publication of the Core Strategy DPD in October 2008, followed by an 8 week consultation period.

Significant further progress has been made on the Core Strategy since the reporting year ended. This included:

* submission to the Secretary of State on 29 May 2009
* a pre-hearing meeting on 5 August 2009
* a consultation on significant proposed changes relating to affordable housing
* hearings between 21 September and 2 October 2009
* a further consultation on a variety of proposed changes made by the Council in response to discussions during the hearing sessions

The Inspectors report on the Core Strategy’s soundness is anticipated in late December.

Some facts included in the AMR were:-

* Although the number of gross housing completions had reduced significantly since 2007/2008, the Council has continued to meet its housing target as set out in the Regional Spatial Strategy of 600/annum between 2004 and 2011.
* The percentage of housing built on previously developed land continues to increase and in 2008/2009 was 72.5%. This was well above the Government target of 60% and slightly above the RSS target of 70%.
* Of the 604 dwellings completed in the Borough in 2008/2009, over 20% were defined as affordable.
* Take-up of employment land was just below 13 hectares, the proposed target set in the Core Strategy DPD.
* The percentage of waste disposed of through landfill of just over 8% and was still one of the best (lowest) in the country.

The Annual Monitoring Report should be submitted to the Secretary of State by the end of December 2009.

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