|Cllr Mrs Rigg declared a personal no prejudicial interest in the item entitled Community Engagement Strategy as she was a member of Egglecliffe and Eaglescliffe Parish Council.|
Councilor Mrs Beaumont declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the item entitled Community Engagement Strategy as she was a Board Member serving on Tees Valley Riverside Community College.
Councilor Beall declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the item entitled Community Engagement Strategy as he was a Board Member serving on Catalyst.
|The minutes of the meetings held on 5 August and 2 September 2010 were signed by the chairman.|
|In accordance with the procedure for the appointment of school governors, approved at Minute 84 of the Cabinet (11th May 2000), Cabinet was requested to approve the nominations to school Governing Bodies as detailed within the report.|
|Cabinet considered a report seeking approval to amend the previously agreed school term and holiday dates for 2011/12 academic year.|
Members noted that the Government had announced that changes would be made to Bank Holidays in 2012 to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This involved moving the late May Bank Holiday to Monday 4 June 2012, and adding an extra Bank Holiday on Tuesday 5 June 2012.
In light of the extra public holiday in 2012, the length of the school year in 2011/12 had been reduced from the normal minimum of 190 days, to 189 days to ensure that school staff were treated the same as other workers, who would benefit from an extra public holiday.
The 2012 exams would be timetabled on the assumption that half term would be in the week commencing 4 June 2012.
As the 2011/12 school holiday dates had already been consulted upon and approved by Cabinet at its meeting on 11 June 2010 it had been necessary to undertake further consultation on the proposed amendment to move the half term holiday from week beginning 28 May to week beginning 4 June.
As part of the consultation process these amended school term and holiday dates had been duly circulated to schools and all other relevant parties, including unions and associations. Few comments had been received but details were provided to members.
Cabinet noted that many Local Authorities had already endorsed the proposed holiday dates for 2011/12, and this would relieve many of the cross boundary issues that many families had suffered in the past.
|Consideration was given to a report that detailed the need to establish a temporary school Governing Body for the proposed new community primary school in Billingham.|
Cabinet was reminded that on 5 November 2009 it had considered the proposal to discontinue Bewley Infant School and Bewley Junior School with effect from 31 August 2011, and to establish a new primary school with effect from 1 September 2011.
The Statutory Notice was published on 14 November 2009, and the proposal was approved by the Office of the Schools' Adjudicator on 23 March 2010.
As a result there was a need to establish a temporary Governing Body to oversee the opening of the new school.
The temporary Governing Body would have a total membership of 16, comprising six Parent, three Staff, three Local Authority and four Community Governorships.
The Local Authority appoints the Local Authority and Community Governors and the Local Authority appointments will be dealt with in accordance with the procedure for the appointment of school governors approved as Minute 84 of the Cabinet (11 May 2000).
It was proposed that Mrs B Rolfe, Mr N Fallon, Mrs L Ward and Reverend T Parker, who were all serving as governors on either Bewley Infant School or Bewley Junior School Governing Bodies, fill the Community governorships.
Where a temporary Governing Body was established due to the closure of two existing schools, the Local Authority must allow some or all of the temporary Parent and Staff governors to be appointed by the outgoing Governing Bodies of the schools that are to close.
It was proposed that all of the Parent and two of the Staff governorships be filled by the outgoing Governing Bodies, and the remaining Staff governorship be reserved for the Headteacher designate.
If for whatever reason any of the appointments were subsequently declined, there would be a need to ensure that the resulting vacancies were filled as soon as possible. It was, therefore, proposed that delegated authority be given to the Corporate Director for Children, Education and Social Care, in consultation with the Cabinet Member, to appoint to any vacancies arising from declined appointments.
|Members considered a report that provided 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.|
Positive trends included Corus signing a memorandum of understanding with Thai steel company, SSI, to acquire the Teesside Cast Products operation at Redcar. Although the deal would take a few months to be fully complete it would see a significant number of new jobs, as well as safeguarding hundreds more.
Negative trends included the NHS Stockton announcing that it was set to make 80 staff redundancies over the next 2 months.
Members were provided with a range of economic indicators for the Borough , sub region, region and nationally. Details of economic support measures and this Council's responses were provided.
|Members were reminded that the Council's Core Strategy required all new developments to contribute towards the cost of providing additional infrastructure and meeting social and environmental requirements. The Council had also adopted a Supplementary Planning Document that also covered planning obligations.|
Cabinet noted that the use of planning obligations, or section 106 agreements as they were also known, had become an important part of the planning process and were appended to many major planning applications, covering such things as affordable homes, education contributions, local labour agreements, infrastructure provision and open space and play provision.
Heads of Terms describing what would be included in a section 106 agreement had to be open and transparent and be included within the planning report, and often the fine tuning and phasing of this was finalised after committee by officers. Recent government guidance was that local authorities should put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure that elected members could take part in discussions on development proposals at relevant stages without prejudicing their decisions or compromising the integrity of the process.
Members were provided with a report that outlined how members could be more actively involved in the process whilst at the same time ensuring that applications were still determined within time.
A protocol for member involvement was set out in a flow chart at appendix 1 to the report. At the pre-application stage, officers would seek the initial views of consultees (internal and external) to establish what might be required through a planning obligation. Once those views had been obtained, contact would be made with the Ward Councillors in which the development was being proposed to obtain their initial views on what was being proposed and any local priorities that might arise in addition to this. Discussions would then take place with the developer around the amount and levels of contribution, with the corporate priorities i.e. provision of highways and transport infrastructure, affordable housing, and open space, sport and leisure facilities. Where more than one Ward might be affected as a result of ward boundaries, other Ward Members would be notified as appropriate. Ward members would be kept informed by email of the progress being made and the draft section 106 contributions. This would subsequently form the basis for the submission of the planning application.
For section 106 agreements already signed and relating to an existing extant permission, should developers wish to renegotiate the terms of the section 106 agreement due to different economic circumstances in existence, then this would be treated in the same way as a pre-application enquiry and Members contacted and involved in the same manner.
Should no pre-application meetings take place and a major application be submitted without the benefit of that having taken place, then Ward Councillors would be contacted at the appropriate point as the application progressed in the same way as outlined above. Ward Councillors would be given 3 working days in which to respond in order to keep the application on track and in time. It was pointed out that there would be occasions where there was a difference between the local perspective and the borough wide corporate priorities e.g. with sport and leisure facilities. In those circumstances, if there was a difference of opinion, then that would be clearly outlined in the accompanying committee report, and planning committee would ultimately decide on the contents of the section 106 agreement. If the application was to remain delegated, then the Head of Planning and the Chair of Planning Committee would arbitrate, as determined by the corporate priorities. Core Strategy policy 11 was a material consideration in the resolution of any differences at that stage.
Should any alterations or phasing be required after an application had been to committee, then this would be reported to the Ward Councillors and Chair of Planning for their input. There would only be one re-consultation taking place at that stage, the response time to be determined at that point depending on the expiry date of the application in order to keep it within an effective timescale for determination. Any final arbitration at that stage would again be delegated to the Head of Planning and Chair of Planning Committee. Due to the time limiting nature of the process at that point, if contact could not be made with the Ward Councillors, then again this would be delegated to the Head of Planning and the Chair of Planning Committee to keep the application within time.
In cases where the Head of Planning was not available to carry out the arbitration at any stage of this protocol, the decision would be delegated to the Development Services Manager or Spatial Planning Manager, or the Vice Chair of Planning Committee in the absence of the Chairperson.
|Cabinet considered a report that informed Members on progress being made in the development of a TAMP.|
The report explained that despite the importance and value of the road network it did not receive the attention and funding required for the provision of the optimal state of repair and operation. There were drivers, particularly from Central Government, for Authorities to adopt and apply the principles of good asset management to their transport infrastructure. In light of this, Officers from the Tees Valley Authorities had collaborated in developing a Transport Asset Management Plan (TAMP). The TAMP would be continuously updated and reviewed.
In the TAMP and in accordance with guidance, the assets had been broken down into a number of relevant groupings, such as but not exhaustively; carriageways, footways, cycleways, structures, street lighting, traffic signals, signs and road markings.
Details relating to the asset management of those groups and their components were contained within the TAMP. The TAMP was not appended to this report but would be made available for ease of reference in the Members' library.
Members noted some of the benefits of the TAMP which included:-
·Better more transparent decision making.
·A better level of service at the same or marginally increased cost.
·Ability to track performance
As discussed, the Tees Valley Authorities had collaborated in producing the TAMP to substantial completion with respect to the generic strategic document. They had also made significant progress in collecting data and evidence that was needed to successfully apply the principles of asset management. It was recognized that this would be a continuous process subject to periodical review.
This year, because of the work undertaken to date, SBC had been able to submit a return to the Treasury by the required submission date of 31st July 2010. It calculated that the carriageway only Gross Replacement Cost was evaluated at £822m. The first step in the process of meeting the Council's commitment to Whole Government Accounting and implementing International Financial Reporting Standards.
Members were asked to endorse and support the principles of asset management for the highway infrastructure and give approval to Officers continuing the vital work needed to finalise the TAMP and undertake periodical reviews of the document.
|Cabinet was reminded that the overall objectives/aims of the Adult Operational Services EIT review had been to identify options for future strategy, policy, and/or service provision that would sustain or improve quality outcomes for Stockton Borough clients and their carers within the Adult Operational Services of CESC and deliver efficiency savings. |
Cabinet, at its meeting in March, agreed the specific recommendation for STEPs at Tithebarn to authorise officers to enter consultation regarding the direction of travel of services provided to current clients in order to address more appropriately each clients assessed needs.
Members noted that the service was under utilised and had not reached its potential since its inception in 2004. Attendance had routinely averaged one third of anticipated capacity.
The first clients to attend the service formerly attended Alma Day Centre. Those clients were identified as being receptive, and able, to undertake skills development to access further education or employment. Contrary to the initial plans for the service, whereby clients were anticipated to attend on a session basis at pre-determined times they actually accessed the service daily in line with their former attendance at Alma Day Centre. This attendance pattern created a requirement for 2 buses through the Community Transport services at a cost of £80k per annum. This corresponded with an increasing under provision of buses for the adult and older person's Day Care Centres.
STEPs at Tithebarn has an employee group comprising 6 personnel
It was explained that of the 23 clients attending STEPs at Tithebarn at the time of the assessments. Following assessment it was anticipated that the requirements of all of these clients could be met appropriately through access to existing services and/or individual directed support through a personal budget.
Meetings were anticipated to continue throughout September in order to determine the best mode of delivery for each individual in line with the recommendations approved by cabinet in the report of 11 March 2010.
The re-occurring theme of the benefit derived from access to literacy and numeracy tuition had been recognised and this training would also be available routinely at alternative, existing, In House Day Care Centres.
On 11 March 2010 two recommendations for Blenheim House were agreed by Cabinet. They were to authorise officers to enter consultation regarding the most appropriate future services for current long term clients and to review the provision of services for adults with physical disabilities who required medium term or respite care services.
The E.I.T. Review of Blenheim House was influenced by the reducing long term resident population and the potential impact of funding sources being reduced or withdrawn by the Tees Unitary Authorities currently purchasing care from Stockton-on-Tees, at Blenheim House.
Of the remaining 15 long term care clients at Blenheim House, prior to the EIT reviews, 6 were funded by Middlesbrough, 2 were funded by Redcar/Cleveland, 1 was funded by Hartlepool and the remaining 6 were Stockton-on-Tees residents. Middlesbrough had previously expressed a wish to speak to the clients funded by that Authority with a view to offering repatriation where appropriate.
Following a quality assessment survey of long term clients in which 4 stated they would like to live differently, informal reviews of all 15 were undertaken, all expressed a wish to be more reliably informed about alternative care provision for people with assessed needs.
Formal reviews followed, and in line with specific client/carer wishes, 12 of the 15 were supported to view Extra Care and alternative facilities in areas of their choice. All elected to apply for a placement in their area of choice, often to be closer to remaining family. Of the remaining 3 clients, 1 had requested to return to her former home with her family prior to the EIT reviews and was anticipated to move on 1 October 2010. One gentleman had spent most weekends with friends and after discussions decided to share a property with his friend when a suitably adapted alternative became available. The last remaining client had spent up to 5 days each week for many months with friends and asked to be re-housed near those friends.
Since the start of the formal reviews, 4 clients had accepted alternative care provision and a further 1 was anticipating moving by 1 October 2010. 4 of those clients were funded by Middlesbrough and 1 by Redcar/Cleveland. The remaining 10 clients were waiting for placements of their choice.
There were two medium term clients waiting for alternative placements and anticipated returning to independent living in the near future.
Respite placements average three beds per week at Blenheim House. Those clients were having their services reviewed in order to manage their provision within a diminishing service.
As residents funded by other Tees Valley Unitary Authorities moved to independent living, there would be a loss of income to the service.
Members were provided with details of financial implications connected with this issue and noted potential cost and savings associated with any future re provision of services.
|Cabinet was reminded that at its meeting held in November 2009 it had agreed recommendations coming from the EIT review of Communications, Consultation and Engagement, undertaken by the Corporate, Adult Services and Social Inclusion Select Committee. Recommendations included the production of a Community Engagement Strategy and the bringing together of the disparate engagement functions across the Council into a single team.|
The Community Engagement Strategy was provided to members and had been produced following a review of a variety of other Engagement Strategies, good practice guidelines and in discussion with:
· A range of staff involved in engagement activity across the council;
· Key stakeholders including; Catalyst, Stockton Community Groups and Residents Association, Lead Cabinet Members
·Corporate Management Team
·The EIT review lead officer
The strategy set out The Council's commitment and approach to engaging with local communities, whether those communities were based on geography, social groups, common interest or background and circumstances. It described a set of underpinning principles for services to use in their engagement activity and against which they could be challenged. It detailed what had been achieved so far, what more the Council planned to do as well as providing information on the range of ways communities could engage with the council.
It also set out who the strategy was aimed at, described what the Council meant in Stockton-on-Tees by community engagement and why it felt it was important to have a strategy.
The Community Engagement Strategy was just one of a suite of documents that was aimed at being clear about how communities could help influence and shape services and be supported to actively contribute to the solutions. The other documents, which would be presented to future Cabinets included:
·A revised consultation strategy;
·A new communications strategy;
·A revised COMPACT;
·A new asset transfer policy;
·A reshaped voluntary and community sector support fund following the consultation last year
It was explained that a my community' section had been created on the councils website which was currently in the process of being populated and would be further developed as part of the implementation of the strategy. A section of Stockton News was allocated to Stronger Communities' and would be used as part of our approach.
Members noted that following the departure of the Assistant Chief Executive from the authority in March 2009, the policy functions within that portfolio had been with the Head of Performance and Partnerships on an interim basis. The communication function was with the Head of Communications following successful recruitment to that post. The interim arrangements had worked well. As part of the reshaping of the team members were asked to approve to formalise the interim arrangements and delete the Assistant Chief Executive post from the establishment.
|Cabinet considered a report relating to the North Eastern Purchasing Organisation (NEPO).|
Members were reminded that the organisaton was responsible for organising collaborative contracts through which Councils purchased goods and services. It comprised a small number of staff managed by the Head of Procurement of Gateshead Council, and was governed through a Joint Committee of 36 members drawn from the 12 Councils in this region. Member Councils paid an annual subscription to contribute to its costs.
It was explained that earlier this year, following extensive consultation, a detailed Business Plan for the development of NEPO was finalised. The Business Plan proposed a new organisation designed to expand the influence of NEPO in the region; to increase the level of financial savings substantially and to support the regional supply chain to benefit from better public sector contracting opportunities.
Members were provided with and Executive Summary of the Business Plan and noted a summary of the proposals.
The Business Plan was considered at an ANEC Leaders and Elected Mayors Board Meeting held on 15 June 2010. Leaders and Elected Mayors expressed their support for the approach taken in the Business Plan and agreed:
·The recommendations set out in the Business Plan
·In relation to governance,
a member body of 12 Executive Members, 6 Scrutiny Members and 6 Audit Members - i.e. a Joint Committee of 24 Members with 2 from each Council
·The 12 local authorities in the region be asked to give approval, through their Executives, to the new organisational and governance arrangements by no later than 30 September 2010. Detailed organisation structures and the operation of the hub and spoke' model to be developed by the Chief Officer in consultation with the 12 local authorities up to a maximum included within the Business Plan.
·The existing NEPO Joint Committee should continue to operate for an interim period, with an AGM for the new organisation being held in mid-October once approval from all 12 Authorities to the new constitution is in place.
·Subject to appropriate arrangements being made for member involvement in the process, Barry Rowland, Roger Kelly, Martin Ryan and George Garlick (or their nominated representatives) agree the process for recruitment of a Chief Officer, to interview candidates and to make the appointment.
It was noted that an appointment of Director of NEPO took place on 30 July 2010, and the successful candidate would take up the post on 4th October 2010.
It was explained that the inaugural Annual General Meeting of the newly constituted Joint Committee was due to take place on 28 October 2010.
In view of the above, it had been necessary to make significant amendments to the existing NEPO Constitution under which the Joint Committee operated, and to update the Shared Service' Arrangement between member Councils. Those documents had been the subject of detailed consultation with legal officers from all member Councils.
Each Council was also required to nominate two members to serve on the Joint Committee, one of whom was recommended to be an Executive Member with responsibility for procurement and/or the Councils Procurement Champion
The revised constitution brought into effect the recommended governance changes set out in the agreed business plan and details of the significant features were provided.
Members noted that a revised Shared Services' Agreement had been established and formalises the relationship between member Councils, as required by the agreed Business Plan.
It was considered that the changes to NEPO represented a real opportunity for the region to benefit substantially from additional and more strategically focused collaborative procurement, both in terms of financial savings for member Councils, and to stimulate the regional economy. To bring the new organisation into being required agreement by all Council Executives of a revised Constitution and Shared Services' Agreement. As required by the ANEC Leaders and Elected Mayors Board, this needs to be completed prior to the inaugural AGM of the Joint Committee to be held on 28 October 2010.
|Members considered a report relating to the sale of the former Saltergill School.|
Members were reminded that on the 1 October 2009 Cabinet agreed the sale of the former Saltergill School site on the grounds that the sale was likely to contribute to the economic well-being of the area. Following this decision an unsuccessful bidder complained to the Local Government Ombudsman about the Council's procedures and the way in which the Council had handled the disposal.
It was explained that the Local Government Ombudsman had investigated the complaint and had expressed the view that there was a lack of clarity in the Council's dealings with the unsuccessful bidder and the terms on which the Council were intending to dispose of the land. The Local Government Ombudsman had also indicated that in her view the specific social, economic or environmental benefits that might reasonably be anticipated from the sale should have been spelled out with sufficient clarity in the report to Cabinet.
Officers had acknowledged the Local Government Ombudsman comments and agreed to review procedures for the disposal of surplus land. In order to resolve the complaint officers had agreed to apologise to the complainant for a lack of clarity in correspondence with him, make a payment of £250 to acknowledge his time and trouble in making the complaint and to pay his reasonable legal expenses.
|Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of various bodies.|
|Cabinet considered a report relating to the Environment Development Plan Document Issues and Options.|
Members were advised that Issues and Options was the first stage of the consultation process. This report detailed issues affecting the natural, historic and rural environment of Stockton-on-Tees Borough and invited the public and stakeholders to make comments on which options they felt were most appropriate for dealing with those issues. The issues and options paper presented the chance to consider how different policy options might deliver or hinder those broader local community priorities and would test whether those choices fitted well with national policy and guidance.
The report detailed an overarching approach to mitigating and adapting to the affects of climate change and delivering green infrastructure. With the following four main themes providing the main content of the report:
THEME 1 Natural Environment - planning policies on the protection and enhancement of the natural environment
THEME 2 Historic Environment - policies on the conservation and, where appropriate, enhancement, of the built heritage within the Borough.
THEME 3 Rural Environment - policies on rural character and diversification
THEME 4 Urban Open Space - policies on the strategic management of green spaces throughout the Borough
In accordance with the Local Development Scheme the document was intended to go out for public consultation in November/December 2010.
Members were provided with access to the Environment DPD Issues and Options report and noted that it was available in the Members' Library, the Electronic Members' Library (accessible through the Council Intranet) and the Council's web site via e genda.
Members noted that references to the YEAAP, in the covering report, were incorrect and should refer to the Environmental DPD.