Cabinet Minutes

Thursday, 17th March, 2011
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 Jim Beall, Cllr Mrs Jennie Beaumont, Cllr David Coleman, Cllr Robert Cook, Cllr Terry Laing, Cllr Mrs Ann McCoy, Cllr Mrs Mary Womphrey
J. Danks, G. Cummings, A. Kelly, L. King (R); D. Bond, G. Birtle, J. Trainer, M. Henderson (LD); J. Humphreys, S. Mclurg, L. Brown, B. Johns, R. Hill, S. Willson (CESC); P. Dobson,R. McGuckin, M. Batty, D. Kitching, R. McGuckin (DNS)
In Attendance:
Cllr Mrs Maureen Rigg, Cllr Mrs Julia Cherret, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Mrs Ann Cains, Cllr Dick Cains, Alan Woodmass (Unison)
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Steve Nelson
Item Description Decision
The minutes of the meetings held on 20 January 2011, 17 February 2011 and 24 February 2011 were approved as a correct record.
Cabinet Decision Record D110025

1. the Council commit to a programme of events and festivals and develop a co-ordinated and cohesive Strategy and Events service. This would provide the basis to:

develop a 5-10 year Events/Festivals strategy
confirm a programme which would allow smarter procurement / efficiencies
adopt a project management approach in the delivery of the events programme and define roles under a delivery framework
improve marketing and communication of events including website improvements and a single point of contact through a comprehensive communication plan
develop a Medium Term Financial Plan including increasing income via a charging regime, offering season tickets, etc.
develop a business sponsorship framework to re-invest into events

2. Officers work up detailed proposals on the savings from Arts Development budget that would be delivered over the next five years.

3. The current vacancy within the tourism team be deleted from the structure.

4. Consideration be given to providing tourist information outlets at the Customer Service Centres in the three town centres when they were available.
Cabinet Decision Record D110026
RESOLVED that appointment be made to the vacant Governorship subject to successful List 99 check and Personal Disclosure, as follows:-

Bishopsgarth School - Ray Stevenson
Durham Lane Primary School - Elizabeth Campbell and Margaret Dale
Cabinet Decision Record D110027
RESOLVED that temporary governing bodies be established for each of the three schools with the following membership:

Our Lady & St Bede RC School: 18 Governorships comprising: 10 Foundation, 3 Parents, 4 Staff and 1 Local Authority Representative.

St Michael’s RC School: 17 Governorships comprising: 10 Foundation, 3 Parents, 3 Staff and 1 Local Authority Representative

St Patrick’s RC School: 14 Governorships comprising: 8 Foundation, 2 Parents, 4 Staff and 1 Local Authority Representative
Cabinet Decision Record D110028

1. The continued workload pressures within the social care system and the associated impact this was having on caseloads, performance and budget be noted.

2. Further update reports on a quarterly basis in order to continue to monitor the impact of these workload pressures be received.
Cabinet Decision Record D110029

1. The scope of the EIG review, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be noted.

2. The post of Head of Service - Children and Young People’s Strategy be deleted and delegated authority be given to the Corporate Director for Children, Education and Social Care to restructure the Children and Young People’s Strategy Service.

3. The initial public consultation on the future of Early Years provision in the Borough be supported.
Cabinet Decision Record D110030

1. the Admission Policy for September 2012 which would be used to allocate places when a school was oversubscribed be approved;

2. the Co-ordinated Admissions Scheme for Primary, Secondary, Voluntary Aided (VA) schools and Academies be approved;

3. The admission numbers for September 2012 be approved.
Cabinet Decision Record D110031
RESOLVED that the Stockton Enterprise Strategy 2010 -2015 be approved.
Cabinet Decision Record D110032

1. the principles for the regeneration of Stockton Town Centre as set out in the draft Urban Design Guide be endorsed, and the Head of Technical Services proceed with the programme of consultation detailed in Appendix 3.

2. the Head of Technical Services, in consultation with the Head of Regeneration & Economic Development and Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Transport consult on and develop the Urban Design Guide through to its final draft, with a further report to be brought to Cabinet for approval as part of the Local Development Framework work programme.

3. the Stockton Town Centre Prospectus and its relationship to the draft Stockton Town Centre Urban Design Guide be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D110033
RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted and the work being undertaken supported.
Cabinet Decision Record D110034

1. the delegation of the function of the enforcement of Part III of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 be carried out in Stockton Borough Council area by Birmingham City Council and the power of prosecution be delegated to Birmingham City Council for any matters associated with or discovered during an investigation by the illegal money lending team.

2. the “Protocol for Illegal Money Lending Team Investigations” be agreed and authority be delegated to the Trading Standards & Licensing Manager to enter into the agreement on behalf of Stockton Borough Council and approve minor alterations if required.
Cabinet Decision Record D110035
RESOLVED that :-

1. the current posts of Head of Adult Strategy and Head of Adult Operations be deleted.

2. a new Head of Adult Services post be created

3. delegated authority be granted to the Corporate Director for Children, Education and Social Care, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, to implement the final revised staffing structure, following consultation with staff and Unions with the agreed level of identified Annual savings.

4. delegated authority be granted to the Corporate Director for Children, Education and Social Care, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, to review Adult Mental Health/Learning Disabilities (MH/LD) Care Management arrangements following the outcome of the LD/MH Review of Resources.
Cabinet Decision Record D110036
RESOLVED that the potential implications of the Public Health White Paper and the response to the consultation questions for Stockton on Tees Borough Council be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D110037

1. the principle of a ‘joint venture’ approach to procurement of sustainable energy supply for the five Tees Valley authorities be agreed

2. further work be carried out to explore the options for delivery mechanisms for the sustainable energy supply and report back to Cabinet.

3. approval be given to taking the process forward to the next and more detailed stage in the form of a new OJEU Prior Information Notice.
Cabinet Decision Record D110038
RESOLVED that the School ICT Unit (SICTU) be subsumed into the newly established E Learning Service managed by the Head of Children, Schools and Complex Needs.
Cabinet Decision Record D110039
RESOLVED that the minutes of the following meetings be received/approved, as appropriate:-

Safer Stockton Partnership - 21st December 2010
Housing and Neighbourhood Partnership - 25th January 2011
Northern Area Partnership Board - 7th February 2011
Cabinet Decision Record D110040
RESOLVED that the levels of performance and subsequent actions be noted.
Cabinet Decision Record D110041

1. the reconfiguration of Administration, PA support, Business Support and Performance Management be approved, delivering annual savings of £1,518k.

2. as part of this reconfiguration the posts of Head of Support Services (CESC) and Head of Performance (CESC) be deleted and replaced with the post of Head of Business Support and Improvement (CESC).
Cabinet Decision Record D110042

1. the rationalisation of office accommodation and decant of buildings as outlined in paragraph 14 of the report be agreed.

2. a period of consultation on the draft Asset Transfer Strategy be agreed.
Cabinet Decision Record D110043

1. the report be received and its content be noted.

2. the draft Compact document between Stockton Renaissance and the voluntary and community sector be agreed.

3. Stockton Council sign up to the Compact and the draft Compact be adopted.

4. the Compact be presented to Renaissance on 14th June 2011.


Councillor Cook declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the item entitled EIT review of events, Arts and Tourism as he had been a member of Tees Valley Unlimited’s Visit Tees Valley Board.

Councillor Cook declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the item entitled Admission of Pupils to Primary and Secondary Schools in September 2012 as he was a governor at one of the schools mentioned in the report and had a grand child who attended one of the schools.

Councillor Mrs Ann McCoy declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the item entitled Refresh of Compact between Stockton Renaissance and the Voluntary and Community Sector as she served on the Stockton and District Advice and Information Service Board.

Councillor Mrs Maureen Rigg declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the item entitled EIT Task and Finish Review of Adult Services as she had relatives who had been in receipt of the service.
Members were provided with a report that presented the findings of the Regeneration and Transport Select Committee following the EIT review of Events, Arts and Tourism undertaken between May 2010 and February 2011.

One of the Council’s key development priorities for 2010 - 2013 was to “develop our events programme, to involve local people and raise the profile of the area.” The primary aim of the review therefore was to identify ways in which the service could be organised that would deliver efficiencies and that would sustain or improve the visitor experience and encourage more visitors to Stockton Borough, maximising the social and economic benefits.

The primary aim of the review was to identify ways in which the service could be organised that would deliver efficiencies and that would sustain or improve the visitor experience and encourage more visitors to Stockton Borough, maximising the social and economic benefits.

The Committee was presented with and considered substantial evidence on how and why the services were delivered, acknowledged the significant social and economic benefits that came as a result and recognised the contribution that the services made to marketing Stockton as a good place to live, work and visit.
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 nomination to school Governing Body as detailed within the report.
The decision details the need to establish temporary governing bodies for Our Lady and St Bede RC, St Michael’s RC and St Patrick's RC Schools. In line with section 8 of The School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2007, the federated governing body of Pope Benedict XVI agreed at their meeting held on 19th January 2011 to dissolve the Federation with effect from 1 May 2011.
Cabinet considered a further report relating to workload pressures within Children’s Social Care. Members were updated on these pressures and were provided with information to the end of December 2010.

It was explained that the number of referrals remained high with 200 being received in November.

The number of initial assessments and core assessments remained high.

The overall number of children who were subject to a child protection plan had continued on a downward trend to 217 in December.

The number of looked after children remained high although had decreased slightly from last quarter to 292 in December.

Reference was made to staffing issues and it was noted that the overall position was positive with only 2.4 vacant social work posts at the end of December. Two team manager posts remained vacant despite a number of attempts to recuit, which was a cause for concern and would now be reviewed.

There were no unallocated cases at the end of December, which was regarded as extremely positive.

Cabinet was provided with key elements from the Munro Review, which had looked at the child protection system in England.
Members were informed in December 2010 that the government announced the creation of a new Early Intervention Grant (EIG) to replace 23 existing ring-fenced grants, which were available to support services for children, young people and families. The key features of the new EIG grant were:

The removal of the ring-fencing and greater local flexibility. It was very clear that ultimately it was for local authorities to determine what was appropriate locally.

The guidance also made it clear that local authorities would have a stronger role in commissioning services and should only be providing services themselves as a last resort.

There was also an explicit expectation that resources would be targeted carefully to ensure that those children, young people and families who needed it most receive extra support.

The introduction of the EIG did not affect the statutory duties that local authorities were required to fulfill.

The 2011/12 EIG for Stockton is £9.3million, this was £3.1million less than the grants which it replaced - a reduction in annual funding of 25%

It was clear then that the new EIG provided both an opportunity and a necessity to re-think the provision of support to children young people and families in the Borough. The opportunities brought about by the greater local freedom and the challenges arising from the 25% funding cut had led to the creation of this EIG review to ensure a comprehensive, co-ordinated and urgent response to the new funding arrangements.

The review had been established with 3 work-streams:
Early Years
Integrated Youth Services
Other EIG related services and back office support

Members were provided with a draft scope for the review.

It was recommended that in the light of the cuts in PCT and EIG funding an immediate decision was taken to delete the post of Head of Children and Young People’s Strategy (“CYPS”) as the first part of a review of the functions currently within the CYPS Service. Other existing Services within CESC would take on responsibility for the rationalised functions once the review was complete.
Members were provided with a report that outlined the admission arrangements the Local Authority (LA) was proposing for primary and secondary schools in September 2012. In order to comply with legislation for admissions in 2012, the report included the full Co-ordinated Admission Arrangements for Primary and Secondary Schools for that year.

Members were provided with details of :-
The Admission Policy for September 2012
The co ordinated Admissions Scheme for Primary, Secondary, Voluntary aided schools and Academies
Admission numbers for 2012

Members noted that during 2011 95% 1st preferences were achieved for Secondary School places. Out of 2013 applications received on time, 1915 allocated their 1st preferred school with 98 receiving their 2nd or 3rd preference.

Within Stockton on Tees the aim was to ensure that the admission arrangements were in line with the principle of fair access to educational opportunity. The Council’s policies, procedures and the additional information published in the Primary and Secondary Education Booklet 2012 for parents supported this.
This report was to introduce the Draft Stockton Enterprise Strategy and to present the proposed vision, aims and priorities of the strategy and outline a plan for current and future actions to achieve that vision.

Members noted that this was the first strategy specifically for enterprise in Stockton. Given the economic climate the Council needed to bring a greater focus on enterprise development and growth to improve the Borough’s competitiveness and strengthen the local economy. This Strategy had been prepared during a time of significant change in the organisational and policy landscape for sub-national economic development and regeneration in England. It was crucial during such complex and rapidly changing times that, through this strategy, the Council clearly identified with partners what its priorities were and what action needed to be taken to improve enterprise in the Borough.

A summary of the draft strategy was attached along with the proposed action plan. The full version of the strategy was made available to Members.

Enterprise and the local economy was not constrained by administrative boundaries but worked within a much wider economic and policy framework at a national, regional and sub-regional level. The Council therefore needed to recognise the implications of and seek to reflect those strategic influences within its strategy for the local area. The Strategy for Sustainable Growth (July 2010) produced by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills and the White Paper ‘Local growth: realising every place’s potential’ (October 2010) set the main context at a national level. Stockton on Tees Borough Council’s Enterprise Strategy would contribute to achieving the priorities and outcomes in the Tees Valley Statement of Ambition 2010 and locally link to the Regeneration Strategy and the Local Development Framework.

This strategy promoted and supportsed enterprise. It aimed to develop more new and enable the growth and sustainability of existing businesses. It addressed all aspects of enterprise from the promotion and development of a positive culture of enterprise, encouraging enterprise potential within individuals and groups, the conversion of that potential in to action to start a business, through to the realisation of the opportunities for growth and investment. The strategy was about supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs), recognising their importance and the significant contribution as the primary engines driving growth in the local area. This was complemented by the Council’s continuing partnership work to secure inward investment across the Tees Valley, recognising that this was an integral and key component of a competitive local economy.

There was a significant gap between Stockton and the national position in terms of enterprise that needs to be addressed. For example there were 4,850 Enterprises in Stockton, which was 314 per 10,000 adult population compared to 467 across Great Britain, the level of self-employment in Stockton is 7.5% compared to 12.7% in Great Britain and the business birth rate in Stockton is 44 per 10,000 adult population compared to 55 nationally.

The Vision for the strategy was that - by 2015 the performance of Stockton exceeds that of the region and closes the enterprise gap with the UK in general. The aim was to increase wealth, income and employment opportunities for Stockton by:

Embedding a culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship
Capitalising on the opportunities for business growth
Alleviating barriers to business growth
Linking residents to economic opportunities in the city region

The Strategy set out the key priorities for intervention to address the core barriers to enterprise creation and growth and provides a framework for current and future activity. Twelve priorities were proposed to address barriers associated with our enterprise culture, pre-start and start-up support, support for existing businesses, business accommodation, access to finance, sector development and skills as set out in the summary document which was attached to the report.
Consideration was given to a report that provided a summary of the draft Stockton-on-Tees Town Centre Urban Design Guide, which aimed to improve the vitality and viability of the town centre by providing design guidance for any party involved in the regeneration of the town centre, on areas undergoing change or where change needs to be promoted and managed. The draft Guide, provided to members, set a framework for establishing a strong network of buildings, streets and spaces that delivered both quality and met the needs of the town centre and its users; whilst protecting and reinforcing the distinctive historic character of the town centre.

It was the intention for the document to fit within the Local Development Framework, as a Supplementary Planning Document within the Regeneration DPD. It provided the context of the town centre’s historic evolution and detailed urban design analysis of the centre’s land uses, scale, urban grain, frontages, landmarks, public realm, movement and parking had been used to appraise the town centre’s five distinct character areas and inform the vision for the central area as well as a masterplan for the whole Town Centre using urban design principles of best practice. The document built on the detail set out by the 2011 Stockton Town Centre Prospectus and would be a tool that would enable the vision of the prospectus to be delivered over time.

Members noted the proposed programme of consultation associated with the guide.
Cabinet considered a monthly update report providing members with an overview of the current economic climate, outlining the effects that this was having on Stockton Borough, and the mitigations already in place and those being developed.

Members noted the many positive aspects to the update, particularly in terms of new engineering, manufacturing and chemical jobs being attracted to the area.

Members also noted that the number people aged 18 - 24 claiming JSA in Stockton had reduced by 12.9% in the past year.
Consideration was given to a report that sought approval for Stockton Borough Council to authorise Birmingham City Council to investigate and institute proceedings against illegal money lenders operating within the Stockton Borough Council area.

Historically, illegal money lending, although widespread in deprived communities, had been a largely invisible and little understood crime in the UK with few authorities having the necessary resources to enforce the law effectively, leaving victims isolated, vulnerable and with little means of redress.

A pilot Illegal Money Lending (IML) project was launched in 2004, as part of a wider strategy to tackle over-indebtedness and financial exclusion. Following the success of the pilot project and research commissioned by the then Department for Trade and Industry which provided the first estimates of the scale and impact of the problem, the national IML project was established in late 2007. The national project had been managed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) since its inception.

The total amount of funding committed to the national project from 2007/8 to March 2010 was £13.6m (cash terms). The bulk of the national project funding had been provided by BIS (£10.8m), augmented by a contribution of £2.8m from the Financial Inclusion Fund to assist with the national project start-up in 2007/8. When the pilot project funding (£2.1m) was included, total funding for the IML project over the period from 2004 through to end-March 2010 amounted to £15.7m.

The IML project was implemented on a decentralised basis. Seven regional teams were set up, with some common features but differences in delivery models, with teams of differing sizes, all of which were hosted by Trading Standards and local authorities.

The Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CENTSA) IML team were the largest team, based in Birmingham and operated by Birmingham City Council and they covered a large swathe of central and southern England, including the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside, the West Midlands, East of England and the South East regions. The remaining English regions were each covered by a separate IML Team, i.e. the North East, the East Midlands, London and the South West. IML Teams also operated in Scotland and Wales. The North East Trading Standards Association (NETSA) IML Team had served the needs of the Stockton area with any offences discovered in Stockton being reported to Stockton’s Trading Standards & Licensing Manager who had approved any necessary prosecutions. In the last two years there had been two prosecutions involving a total of five defendants. Governance of the NETSA IML team was undertaken by the NETSA Executive Board, Stockton’s Trading Standards & Licensing Manager being a member of that Executive Board. Funding for the NETSA IML team operations would cease on 31 March 2011 and the team was being disbanded, this would mean the loss of 7.8 FTE posts.

On the 29th December 2010 Business Minister Edward Davey announced that £5.2 million in funds would be available to continue the national IML project for 2011/12 through the trading standards service. In addition, the minister also announced that BIS intended to restructure the project by moving the project to a three national team model. The Minister indicated that BIS were looking to maintain front line services whilst providing a value for money project. The England team would be hosted by Birmingham City Council and would continue to provide a resource to investigate illegal money lending across England. Birmingham was chosen to lead the new England team due to the efficiencies associated with the expansion. This was favoured to creating a brand new team that would attract high development and set up costs. Centralising national services was thought key to the survival of the project. The governance of this team will be undertaken by the CENTSA Executive Board.

The benefit that this team could bring to Stockton was significant. Stockton Trading Standards & Licensing Service, like most local authorities, was not able to provide the level of specialist resource to provide this function. This was an excellent example of how sharing resources on specific issues could bring benefits otherwise unavailable in providing support to vulnerable consumers and tackling rogues.

Birmingham City Council required formal delegation of functions by this authority in order to expand the scheme into Stockton, to carry out the investigations etc under the Act and to prosecute any matters in the area. It was proposed that the delegation should continue until 31st March 2013 with a view to extending the arrangement if successful and appropriate national funding still available. This delegation could be withdrawn at any time should the authority wish to do so.

To ensure clarity in respect of the operation of these arrangements, the draft protocol set out the processes and practices to enable Birmingham City Council and its officers to undertake investigations and legal procedures. This delegation did not prevent Stockton Trading Standards and Licensing Service from undertaking the function.
Cabinet considered a report coming from a Task and Finish Review conducted within the Council’s Efficiency, Improvement and Transformation (EIT) Programme to consider the future structures within Adult Services, which was part of the Children, Education and Social Care Grouping.

The Review had reported to the Health Select Committee. Baseline information was presented to the Committee on 24 January 2011 and the final report with recommendations was presented to the Committee on 8 March 2011, and was attached for Member attention.

It was noted that the Review had focussed on the current structure and provision and options for the future structure and configuration of the Service.

The Review included the Adult Strategy and Operational structures and also considered the implications of the cessation of funding from Health partners and the move away from Joint Management posts.

The overall aims of the Review were:

To review the current Adult structures and models of delivery in response to the cessation of Joint Arrangements.
To identify a revised Adult structure for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.

In proposing a new structure it was important to build on successes and achievements to date. It was also important to acknowledge a number of key principles as follows:

- That any structure should be based upon the principle of establishing co-located teams and integrated service delivery wherever possible, and that services are Area-based where appropriate, and that links are also made with the Asset Review and Administration Review.

- The Adult Operational teams should be managed by professionally qualified and experienced managers.

- That all staff should be suitably qualified and experienced for their roles.

- That any structure should ensure accountability and governance issues be addressed.

- That any changes to posts would be reviewed through the Corporate Job Evaluation process.

- That safeguarding arrangements were robust.

- That Care Management arrangements were robust and able to respond to increase in demographics and potential demand to service.

- That Commissioning and Contract arrangements were able to respond to National/ Regional and Local developments.

- That the new structure positions itself to be able to respond to the development of GP Consortia in shadow form by 2012.

- That future service development build upon the existing partnership arrangements with the voluntary, community and private sectors.

- The restructure of these services would entail losing no more than 10 posts and some redundancies may be likely.
Cabinet considered a report that provided an update on Health policy changes and summarised the main points of the Public health White Paper and the implications for the Council as well as incorporating the draft consultation response to be submitted on behalf of the Council and Health and Wellbeing Partnership Board.

Members noted the key proposals of the Public Health White Paper including:-

Creation of a dedicated and professional public health service, known as Public Health England (PHE). Members noted some of the PHE’s functions.

Transfer of public health responsibilities to Public Health England and local councils. The Directors of Public Health (DsPH) would move to local authorities and would be jointly appointed by councils and PHE.

PHE will hold responsibility for the ring-fenced public health funding which comes from the overall NHS budget.

A national outcomes framework for public health would set the broad public health and health inequalities outcomes for all areas and organisations to address.

the NHS would continue to play an important role in public health. PHE would commission the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) to undertake screening, including cancer screening, some aspects of emergency preparedness, childhood immunisations and public health aspects of primary care contracts.

GPs would be incentivised -both as primary care professionals and commissioners - to focus on prevention and early intervention. GPs will continue to provide a range of public health services such as childhood immunisations, contraceptive services, cervical screening etc but the PHE may wish to change how services were commissioned and delivered.

There would be a focus on mental health and wellbeing throughout life, with a particular emphasis on mental wellbeing of children and adolescents.

New arrangements for emergency preparedness and health protection.

The paper highlighted the role of business and the voluntary sector through the Public Health Responsibility Deal with five networks on food, alcohol, physical activity, health at work and behaviour change.

Members were provided with a summary of Stockton’s response to the white paper consultation which would be submitted before the deadline of 31 March 2011.

The Health White Paper signalled a significant period of change for the Local Authority and NHS. This was in parallel to challenging financial constraints in both areas. The management of the transition period would be critical in “skilling up” all organisations to manage their new functions, transferring health improvement functions & personnel to the Local Authority and reshaping pathways to enable efficiencies to be released and ensure that quality of care is maintained.

A project plan to manage the transition was being developed and the Health and Wellbeing Management Team would help to oversee the development of the project plan.
Members were reminded that Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council had formally adopted the Renewable Energy Strategy following a Cabinet recommendation on 17 December 2009. This strategy recognised the need to develop low carbon and sustainable energy supplies to both provide security of supply and to counter the anticipated rising costs of fossil fuel based energy supply.

In addition the UK Government has set targets for carbon emissions reduction of 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The latest Climate Change Committee Report, published on 6 January 2010 also recommends carbon emissions reduction of 60% by 2030. All these targets were related to the baseline year of 1990.

Conventional energy prices were predicted to rise considerably with a recent Ofgem report suggesting a doubling of wholesale energy costs by 2015 whilst five of the major utilities have predicted a 25% increase in prices by 2020.

Discussions with the Tees Valley local authority Directors of Environment have secured interest in approaching a Tees Valley wide initiative to seek supplies of renewable or low carbon energy supply through a long term contractual arrangement. In addition the Tees Valley local authorities had received a detailed report from Parsons Brinkerhoff, commissioned by Tees Valley Unlimited, that describes five potential district heating schemes, one for each local authority and using Combined Heat and Power plant for maximum efficiency.

In view of the high capital cost of renewable and low carbon energy supply it had been decided to test the market regarding the possibility of developing the Councils’ future energy supply through a third party along the lines of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The publication of a ‘Prior Information Note in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in December 2010 led to an information exchange on 1st February 2011 at the Education Centre. Over 30 companies of varying sizes have engaged with this process.
Members were reminded that in December 2010 Cabinet considered the finding of a task and finish EIT Review of devolved ICT and agreed that the Head of Support Services (CESC) should consult with Heads regarding the proposal to transfer the School ICT Unit (SICTU) function into Xentrall Shared Services. SICTU provided technical ICT support to primary and secondary schools mainly within the Borough but also to some schools in the Tees Valley. It did so within the arrangements that pertained to many services provided by the Council for schools in that there were Service Level Agreements and the Unit was entirely reliant on schools for its income.

The service was well regarded by schools and, in discussions with Heads about the present financial constraints within the Council and their impact on services provided to schools, the Heads had indicated their continued financial support for the service.

As indicated in December there were related issues to be resolved over the coming months. The loss of the Harnessing Technology Grant had placed pressure on the availability of resources to continue the scale of service presently provided through the Northern Grid for Learning. Those include the broadband network and curriculum support. How those services were commissioned or provided in the longer term, probably from 2012, was unresolved. It was however the firm view of Heads that the management and consideration of all such services should be within a single area of responsibility. They had therefore supported an alternative proposal that SICTU should be managed within the E Learning service under the Head of Children, Schools and Complex Needs. In that way all issues to do with ICT support to schools was concentrated in the one service and a new configuration of service delivery to schools could emerge from there.

Whilst the original proposal had envisaged placing SICTU within a service closely related technically to the SICTU service, it had not been envisaged that savings would accrue. The new proposal would not in itself generate savings but bring together the expertise to conclude the deliberations about the future service to be made available schools within the new reduced financial allocation.
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of various bodies.
Consideration was given to a report that outlined progress against service performance for the third quarter of 2010/11. It highlighted achievements, areas for improvement, consultation activity undertaken, summary of Freedom of Information requests, complaints, commendations and comments, RIPA update and provided details of suggestions from the staff suggestion scheme.

All remaining National Indicators (NIs) from the original 198 set would cease on 31 March 2011. A new framework for data collections had been the subject of government consultation on a Single Data List for Local Government (SDL). Details of the collections required under the draft SDL had been published with local councils given the opportunity to comment on the proposals. The consultation period ended on 4 February 2011 and the Government was aiming to publish the final SDL to take effect from 1 April 2011. Once the final SDL was published it would be used to inform the development of a revised performance framework for Stockton Council and the Renaissance Partnership. This would be reported to Members at a later date.

Quarter 3 details of performance against the current indicator set were provided in appendices to the report:-

* An overall summary of performance
* A Thematic summary
* Indicator Report Cards

At Quarter 3, of those national indicator measures in the Corporate Basket, where information was available for monitoring at Quarter 3, 64% (16 indicators) across all themes had achieved targets or were predicted to achieve targets. There were 36% of measures (9 indicators) where the target had been missed or would be missed. The report contained further detail on:-

* Freedom of Information Requests
* Staff Suggestion Scheme
* Regulation of Investigatory Powers
* Consultation Activity - Quarter 3 2010/11

Progress reports for all Year 1 EIT reviews had been completed for Quarter 3 to track progress on delivering the £2 million potential savings identified through the year 1 EIT reviews. Deadlines to bring forward the reporting of five of the year 2 reviews to December Cabinet had been met. In addition, officer led task and finish groups had been formed to expedite the delivery of some of the year 3 EIT reviews identified as potentially resulting in substantial efficiencies for the Council. These reviews had been concentrated around back office/ service reconfiguration issues. Seven of these officer led reviews had reported to Cabinet. Progress was detailed as an attachment to the report. The accelerated pace of the programme was continuing with preparatory work on year 3 reviews already in progress.

In total, the Council received 178 complaints for the three months ended 31 December 2010. This compares to 179 complaints received in the same three month period last year. Of the 178 complaints, 12 were at stages 2 and 3 and of the Stage 1 complaints, 92.8% (154) overall were responded to within timescales. The corporate timescale for responding to Stage 1 complaints was 10 working days. However, the timescales within Health and Social Care differ from the corporate timescale. For Children’s Services the response timescale was 10 working days plus a further 10 working days given the
complexity of some of the complaints. For Adults’ Services, new regulations introduced on 1 April 2009 place a requirement on Council’s to agree a timescale for a response with each individual complainant.

A total of 497 compliments and commendations were received in the three month period to 31 December 2010, representing 445 compliments and 52 commendations. This compared to a total of 423 compliments and commendations in the same three month period last year.

A total of 129 comments from customers were received in the three month period to 31 December 2010. This compared to 148 comments received in the same three month period last year. The report highlighted some of the main messages from the analysis.
The Gateway review of Administration, PA Support, Business Support and Performance Management (“The Admin Review”) had been undertaken to identify ways in which these “back-office” functions could be carried out more effectively across the organisation. The review had been carried out as a “Gateway” review under the scrutiny of the Housing and Community Safety Select Committee. The review had considered the work of 466 employees who carry out this work in 391.4 Full Time Equivalent (“fte”) posts at an annual salary cost of £9,380k. It was proposed that changes were made to these teams of support staff which would reduce the number of FTEs to 332.5 - generating annual salary savings of £1,518k per annum.

The Admin Review had considered the delivery of the following functions across the Council:-

General Administration
PA Support
Technical (Service Specific) Administration
Business Support and Performance Management

The review had considered the work of 466 employees who carry out this work in 391.4 full time equivalent posts at an annual salary cost of £9,380k. It was proposed that changes were made to these teams of support staff which would reduce the number of FTEs to 332.5 - generating annual salary savings of £1,518k per annum.

The reduction of 58.9ftes was detailed within the report.

The Admin review had been carried out as a Gateway Review within the EIT process, reporting to the Housing and Community Safety Select Committee. The Committee had met 4 times during the course of the 9 month review to set the scope of the review, review baseline information, consider options and approve final proposals. All members of the Committee supported the final recommendations in January 2011. The Committee expressed interest in the grade of posts to be reduced as a result of the review and suggested that it would be helpful to state clearly the range of grades affected by the review, this information was provided in this final Cabinet report. Members also sought reassurances about the implementation process and noted that appropriate training and support packages should be in place for employees affected by the review. Members also noted that implementation must proceed immediately following final approval to secure savings in the 2011/12 financial year.

The 90 day consultation period with unions and employees began on 17th December 2010 and ran until 16th March 2011. The report included a summary of the consultation responses received up to 3 March. Members were informed that the unions had not raised any objections. The consultation had been constructive and active and had involved weekly meetings with union representatives, small group meetings in individual Services, drop in sessions and road shows for all staff affected by the review as well as detailed communication with individuals via the review email account. A union official, in attendance at the meeting, complimented the Council, and in particular the lead officer, on how the review had been handled. It had demonstrated the partnership between the Unions and the Council and he suggested that the process followed should be used as a template for and future reviews where redundancies were likely.

The majority of consultation responses had been specific queries and questions about the impact of the review for individuals, questions of clarification about working practices and questions about the implementation process. Where changes had been agreed with a small number of individuals - these had been reflected in the numbers included in the report. In addition a number of useful suggestions had been made about admin related issues such as admin related procurement practices, IT and telephone arrangements etc. All of these had been captured and would be provided to the relevant service managers in the new structures.

Three proposals were submitted during the consultation, which suggested alternative structures; one for the Business Support and Performance Management Service and two for teams within the technical admin strand. All three proposals were given serious and detailed consideration and 2 had been adopted and incorporated into the final recommendations.

The 90 day consultation period also provided an opportunity for employees affected by the review to express an interest in voluntary redundancy and voluntary reduction in working hours. This process had been extremely positive and had a huge impact in terms of avoiding compulsory redundancies. At the start of the consultation process 48.7ftes were facing the possibility of compulsory redundancy as a result of the review. Through the expression of interest process it had been managed to reduce this number to 20.4ftes. Furthermore there were three factors which were likely to reduce the compulsory number further:-

4.2fte vacancies arise from the creation of the new structures.
There were an additional 7fte voluntary redundancy requests which had been received from employees in the admin review which whilst not directly attributable to achieving the new structure offer an opportunity to replace a compulsory redundancy with a voluntary redundancy.
There was 1fte vacancy arising from the termination of a temporary contractual arrangement in a permanent post.

Therefore, assuming no changes to the current list of confirmed voluntary redundancies and successful recruitment of employees at risk to the vacancies created by the review, the compulsory redundancies will be further reduced to 8.2ftes. These additional jobs would be included in the recruitment process described within the report.

For employees involved in the review this meant the changes were delivered as sensitively as possible and many fewer would need to undergo competitive interviews for a reduced number of posts. The impact for employees was set within the report.

It was planned that, subject to Cabinet approval, the implementation process would begin on 18th March 2011. Redundancy notices for employees who had sought voluntary redundancy and for those whose roles had been deleted would be issued immediately. This results in a final date of service for employees with 12 weeks notice of 17th June 2011. Active work would begin through the redeployment process to pursue alternative roles for those who did not wish to leave.

The competitive recruitment process would begin for ring-fenced and new posts created in the review. It was anticipated that available posts would be published on 18th March 2011with recruitment taking place between the end of March and 8th April 2011. Redundancy notices for employees who were ultimately not successful through the recruitment process would be issued in the middle of April. This results in a final date of service for employees with 12 weeks notice of mid July 2011. Active work would take place through the redeployment process to pursue alternative roles for those who did not wish to leave.

Once the recruitment process was complete managers would begin to implement the new structures during the notice periods. Service managers were working on transition plans to ensure a smooth transfer to the new arrangements.
Consideration was given to a report that outlined progress on the EIT review of building assets, and detailed a draft Asset Transfer Strategy for consultation which was intrinsically linked to the review.

The report to Executive Scrutiny Committee on 4 January 2011 set out the aims, principles and baseline information for the EIT Review of Assets. The overall aim of the review was to focus on the Council’s building estate to ensure that properties were being utilised efficiently and effectively. This included developing a strategic overview of facilities in the Borough and considering opportunities for rationalisation, re-location and combining of facilities. The potential opportunities linked to any known or planned service developments would also be considered.

The Council owned and operated a significant number of buildings and spent approximately £7m in the management and upkeep of those buildings. There were a range of different management arrangements, and large differences in the condition and the extent of utilisation of those buildings across the estate. A key aspect would be to optimise the use of the buildings and to understand the services delivered in each locality and match the service requirements with the most efficient and appropriate space available.

The review had a target saving of £1m and aimed to:-

Determine a methodology as to where, why and how the Council chooses to retain and invest in its building stock.
Look more closely at the overall (rather than just the department-specific) effectiveness with which building stock is managed - covering issues such as occupancy levels, building efficiency and duplication of function.
Develop an asset rationalisation plan which could result in asset disposals or transfers to community organisations.

The report contained details of the methodology and structure of the review.

The following criteria was used to assess each of the buildings to decide which buildings to retain and which to vacate and subsequently dispose:-

Cost of occupancy
Level of occupancy
Condition and Suitability (including Accessibility)
Potential for disposal and links to Regeneration
Potential for development to enable flexible working

Whilst this was a long term programme and would need to be carefully linked to service reviews. It was recommended that the following approach be approved:-

Office Accommodation Buildings to be retained and developed (where necessary):-

Municipal Buildings
Bayheath House
Kingsway House
Queensway House
Tithebarn House

The retention of these buildings alone would allow approximately 11,000 sqm of office space

Office Accommodation Buildings to be vacated:-

Wrensfield House - Poor condition, demolish & create open space
Alma House (already approved) - Vacation already planned
Billingham Council Offices - Already planned, link to Integrated Health Facility
Gloucester House - Links to Town Centre Regeneration
16 Church Road - Links to Town Centre Regeneration

There were a number of other buildings which included an operational service element and a small amount of office accommodation. This would supplement the buildings retained above but further work may also identify rationalisation options in these buildings:-

Ideal House
Stirling House
Nightingale House
Bishopton Lane (Connexions)

Although there may be some up front costs for developing some of the accommodation, the closure of these buildings would save the Council approximately £350,000 per annum, as well as generating potential capital receipts and alleviating significant future maintenance costs. Where appropriate, the decant from buildings would be linked to regeneration activity in order to avoid buildings standing empty for long periods of time.
Consideration was given to a report that provided an overview of the draft Compact, developed jointly with Catalyst, which covered the principles under which Stockton Renaissance and the voluntary and community sector (VCS) work together in the Borough. The existing Renaissance Compact (developed 2008) had been refreshed to reflect changes to the Compact with the voluntary and community sector at the national government level.

The main changes from the 2008 Compact were:-

The document has been streamlined into chapters
Includes a contact for any Compact compliance issues
Specific chapter on advancing equality
Commissioning chapter strengthened

Compacts cover the principles under which both the Local Strategic Partnership and Third Sector operate in their relationship with each other. It can cover a variety of factors including consultation, representation of the Third Sector, commissioning etc. Stockton Renaissance and the Third Sector have had a Compact in place for a number of years which had been refreshed regularly.

The former government undertook a major consultation on their Compact in 2009, which the Council responded to, and launched nationally a new document in December 2009. In light of the new document Stockton Renaissance, its partners and the VCS started the process of refreshing the local Compact document.

Subsequently the new Coalition Government released their own Compact for the Coalition Government and the civil society organisations in December 2010. The proposed draft Compact between Stockton Renaissance and the Voluntary and Community Sector reflected the changes.

The draft Compact had been developed in collaboration with Catalyst and other public sector partners- the Police, Fire Brigade, Job Centre Plus and Primary Care Trust. Other VCS infrastructure bodies actively involved included Stockton Community Groups and Residents Association and Tees Valley Rural Community Council. The draft had developed and strengthened the old document including commissioning arrangements and a contact for compliance. The Council’s Procurement and Diversity teams had been actively involved in drafting the relevant chapters. The draft consultation document was launched at the Catalyst event in September 2010 and closed at the end of December 2010. All comments received had informed the draft document which also reflected the principles within the new government compact.

Areas that the new Compact strengthens in particular were set out in the chapter on advancing equalities and in the chapter on commissioning. Examples of the main commitments were included within the report.

Review programmes and services with relevant VCS organisations to inform future practice.

It was proposed that the Compact would apply to the relationship and activities between Stockton Renaissance Partnership Board and the Voluntary and Community Sector. There would also be an opportunity within the document for public sector organisations to sign up to adhere to the principles in the document within their own organisations; recognising that some may have other arrangements in place. The Council had previously taken the opportunity to sign up to the Compact in this in this way.

The draft Compact would complement the work that was being undertaken around the VCS including the Third Sector Strategy that Catalyst had developed.

It was proposed to take the draft Compact to Stockton Renaissance Partnership Board on 14th June 2011 before a formal launch that month.

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