Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Cabinet Minutes

Thursday, 8th March, 2012
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 Robert Cook (Chairman), Cllr Jim Beall, Cllr David Coleman, Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr David Harrington, Cllr Mrs Ann McCoy, Cllr Steve Nelson
Neil Schneider (CE0); Julie Danks, Leslie King, Beccy Brown, Emma Chesworth (R); Paul Dobson, Richard Poundford, Reuben Kench, Graham Clingan (DNS); Jane Humphreys, Betty Johns, Shaun McLurg, Ruth Hill (CESC); David Bond, Peter Mennear, Michael Henderson (LD)
In Attendance:
Councillor Phil Dennis and Councillor Eileen Johnson
Apologies for absence:
Cllr David Rose, Cllr Michael Smith
Item Description Decision
The minutes of the meetings held on 9 February and 23 February 2012 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.
Cabinet Decision Record D120030
RESOLVED that appointment be made to the vacant Governorship subject to successful List 99 check and Personal Disclosure, as follows:-

Junction Farm Primary School - Mr J Dunn
Kirklevington Primary School - Mr Steve Newton and Vicar Pam Sanders
Whitehouse Primary School - Mrs Susan Patricia Moppett
Yarm Primary School - Cllr Andrew Sherris
Cabinet Decision Record D120031

1. the Admission Policy for September 2013 amending the published information for oversubscribed schools with in zone applications and updating changes to looked after children to comply with the new School Admissions Code be approved.

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

3. admission numbers for September 2013 be approved.
Cabinet Decision Record D120032

1. the existing separation between specialist and targeted social work teams be removed and six fieldwork teams be created as outlined in section 6.1.1 of the report.

2. a permanence team (0 - 13) be established, as outlined in section 6.1.4.of the report.

3. the remit of the young people's Looked After Children team be reviewed and this team become the permanence team (14 - 18) in order to work coherently alongside the permanence team (0 - 13) as outlined in section 6.1.6 of the report.

4. a family support team be established as outlined in sections 6.1.10 - 6.1.13 of the report.

5. some family support resources be attached to fieldwork teams as outlined in section 6.1.10 of the report.

6. the existing protocol for the transfer of work between Referral and Assessment Team and the longer term social work teams be reviewed as outlined in section 6.1.14. of the report.

7. family and friend foster carer assessments be undertaken by the child placement team as outlined in section 6.1.15 of the report.

8. level M workers be spread evenly across fieldwork teams and that some less experienced workers be moved into the referral and assessment team in order to achieve a more balanced workforce across the children's social care service as outlined in section 6.1.16. of the report.

9. a small number of posts be formally reviewed to determine whether these functions could be more efficiently or effectively provided from elsewhere in the council as outlined in section 6.1.17. of the report.

10. a number of the existing temporary arrangements be 'mainstreamed' by establishing substantive posts to perform those functions as outlined in section 6.1.18. of the report

11. the proposed new management structure option B (appendix 3 to the report) be adopted as outlined in sections 6.2.1 - 6.2.4 of the report.

12. the recruitment and retention scheme ceases at 31 March 2012 as outlined in section 6.3.1 of the report.

13. the level M grade be reviewed as outlined in section 6.3.3. of the report.

14. the commencement of a 30 day formal consultation period be authorised, with staff included in the review.

15. authority be delegated to the Corporate Director of Children, Education and Social Care in consultation with the lead Cabinet Member to implement the new staffing structures on completion of the consultation referred to at 14 above.
Cabinet Decision Record D120033

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

2. further update reports be submitted to Cabinet on a quarterly basis in order to continue to monitor the impact of these workload pressures.
Cabinet Decision Record D120040

1. the support to be provided, in the form of expertise and support from officers in the areas of school specifically in teaching and learning and managing pupil behaviour and also financial support from within the approved MTFP be noted.

2. the Corporate Director of Children, Education and Social Care in consultation with Cabinet Member for Children and Young People be given delegated authority to agree final details of a support package.
Cabinet Decision Record D120034
RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted and the work being undertaken supported.
Cabinet Decision Record D120036

1. the Council utilises funding identified in the Medium Term Financial Plan to work in partnership with other public, private and third sector partners, to provide a complementary range of facilities and spaces for wheeled sports. Subject to further consultation and securing the necessary capital and revenue funding this should include:

a) Development of skate parks, including:

• one major ‘destination’ skate park (possibly in the vicinity of the Tees Barrage, Preston Park or central Stockton);

• one or more smaller ‘neighbourhood’ skate parks (at John Whitehead Park, Billingham and possibly other locations in the Borough).

These could all be outdoor facilities, or might include the provision of an indoor skate park operated by a private or third sector partner.

b) Management and possible development of selected areas of public realm to accommodate wheeled sports.

c) Development of dirt jumps and small pump tracks for BMX / mountain bikes in the Borough’s country parks or other ‘natural’ green spaces.

2. more detailed proposals for the development of facilities and spaces for wheeled sports are prepared by autumn 2012, and that delegation be given to the Corporate Director of Development and Neighbourhood Services in consultation with relevant Cabinet members to determine the final programme of work, subject to wider consultation.

3. the Council seeks opportunities to promote and encourage participation in wheeled sports; for example, through events and activities and by identifying appropriate third parties to operate the Council’s existing mobile and semi-static skate facilities.

4. users and other local partners and stakeholders be actively engaged in the development, delivery and on-going management of any facilities, and any events or activity programmes.
Cabinet Decision Record D120041

1. the progress on Hall works, with reference to the displays, collections work, future trading opportunities and heritage branding style be noted.

2. initial plans for the reopening of Preston Hall be approved.

3. the statement that Stockton Borough Council was committed to ensuring Preston Hall Museum & Park remained as a key visitor attraction, protected by the listed status of the Hall and the undertakings of the Green Infrastructure Strategy and Core Strategy Development Plan be supported.
Cabinet Decision Record D120035

1. the update on the national public health policy and its specific impact on the Local Authority with particular reference to the Public Health Transition Plan be noted.

2. delegated responsibility be approved to the Director of Children, Education and Social Care and/ or the Local Authority Director of Public Health, in consultation with the Lead Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, to oversee the public health commissioning arrangements and associated financial implications for the Local Authority during this transitional period.

3. further updates be received as the transition and implementation arrangements take shape.
Cabinet Decision Record D120037
RESOLVED that the minutes of the following meetings be received/approved, as appropriate:-

Safer Stockton Partnership - 20 December 2011
Northern Area Partnership Board - 9 January 2012
Western Area Partnership Board - 30 January 2012
Eastern Area Partnership Board - 31 January 2012
Cabinet Decision Record D120039
RESOLVED that the progress report be noted and ongoing work to implement the actions supported
Cabinet Decision Record D120038
RECOMMENDED to Council that:

1. it notes Cabinet’s recommendation, as part of the secondary consultation period, to reaffirm the Council’s previous response to the initial proposals.

2. it notes that the Director of Law and Democracy, in consultation with the political group Leaders will resubmit the previously agreed representations to the BCE, before the deadline for the secondary consultation period, using urgency delegated powers, under Council functions.

3. a further report be submitted to Cabinet following the end of the secondary consultation period.


Councillor Cook declared a personal, non prejudicial interest in the item entitled Procedure for Admission of Pupils to Primary and Secondary Schools in September 2013 as he had a grandson who would shortly be applying for a Secondary School place.

Councillor Cook declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the item entitled Parliamentary Constituencies Review as he was employed in a local MP’s constituency office.

Councillor Johnson and Councillor Dennis declared a personal, non prejudicial interest in the item entitled Procedure for Admission of Pupils to Primary and Secondary Schools in September 2013 as they were school governors.

Councillor Dennis declared a personal, non prejudicial interest in the items entitled Wheeled Sports:Provision of Purpose Built Facilities and Use of the Public Realm and Preston Hall Museum and Park Update as he was a Member of Friends of Preston Park.
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.
Cabinet considered a report that outlined the admission arrangements the Council was proposing for primary and secondary schools in September 2013. Members were also provided with an Equality Impact Assessment associated with the matter.

Cabinet noted that a new School Admissions Code (SAC) had come into force on the 1 February 2012. The SAC would apply to admission arrangements determined in 2012 for admissions in school year 2013/14.

Members were provided with details of proposed amendments to existing arrangements in order to comply with the new SAC.

Members also noted the priority the proposed Admission Policy would give to applications.

It was explained that the Council was responsible for administering a co ordinated scheme for the area in relation to all maintained community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and Academies . A copy of the Council’s Admissions Scheme, which included the relevant timetable was provided.

It was explained that, with regard to admission numbers there was a rising number of pupils within the primary sector. Members were reminded that Cabinet had previously agreed work to increase capacity in appropriate schools.

Details of the proposed Admission numbers for September 2013 were provided. With regard to the Admission numbers it was noted that St Michael’s RC Secondary would have an intake of 168 rather than the 196 as stated. St Michael’s would consider increasing the number taking account of the number of applications it received.
Members considered a report coming from the Efficiency, Improvement and Transformation (EIT) review of children's social care. The review had been a Gateway review under the auspices of the Arts, Leisure and Culture(ALC)Select Committee.

The review considered the full range of children's social care services provided by the Council and was undertaken against the backdrop of well documented workload pressures. Like the majority of local authorities nationally and regionally, the Council had experienced an upsurge in the numbers of referrals following the death of Peter Connelly in Haringey. It was also considered likely that the current economic climate was at least partially responsible for this rise, as financial hardship put families under increased pressure and stress. The increase in the numbers of referrals had translated into unprecedented workload pressures throughout the children's social care system. As a result of these pressures, it was accepted at the outset of this review that cashable savings were unlikely due to the statutory duty to provide children's social care services.

Although the review concluded that fundamental transformational change was not required, a number of areas were identified where service improvements were considered crucial, in order to ensure the service was able to cope with increasing workload pressures, was provided in the most cost effective manner and achieved the best possible outcomes for children.

The proposed recommendations were designed to achieve three key aims:

- To make the service more responsive and flexible to the needs of service users, by aiming to reduce the number of unnecessary changes of social worker and team required for any children and families in receipt of social care services.

- To ensure the service was better able to cope with increasing workload pressures, by sharing the workload more evenly across social work teams and enhancing the professional development of staff.

- To enable the service to be provided in the most efficient and cost effective manner by reducing the reliance on temporary arrangements and costly agency staff.

Taken together, these recommendations were considered crucial in order to ensure the service continued to move forward in a positive direction and was able to achieve the best possible outcomes for children in Stockton-on-Tees, within the available resources.
Cabinet considered a further report relating to workload pressures within Children’s Social Care. Members were updated on those pressures and were provided with information up to the end December 2011. Members were also provided with a Equality Impact Assessment associated with the matter.

It was explained that there had been a reduction in the number of referrals with figures reaching 204 in November then declining to 124 in December.

The number of children subject to a child protection plan had continued to rise reaching an all time high of 301 in December. This reflected the high volumes of referral and assessment activity earlier in the year.

The number of looked after children had risen to 336 in December.

It was noted that the overall staffing situation was positive. One Specialist Team Manager post remained vacant although it was being covered by an agency manager. In terms of social work posts there were no vacancies at the end of December 2011 and there were no unallocated cases.

Members noted the budgetary pressures facing the service and were informed of some key areas that continued to have an impact on the budget.

Cabinet was provided with details of progress relating to initiatives introduced via the EIT Review of Child Placements.
The Chairman explained that he had agreed to this matter being discussed as an urgent item as it was important that the support package referred to in the report was put in place as soon as possible.

It was explained that, in February 2012, following an Ofsted inspection, the North Shore Health Academy was placed in Special Measures.

Members noted that, where an Academy was placed in Special Measures, it was required, by the Secretary of State (through liaison with the Department for Education), to identify a suitable School improvement Partner with the capacity and expertise to produce and resource a plan that was deemed able to remove the Academy from a category and ensure it had the ‘capacity to improve’. Members were reminded of the transformation at Thornaby Community School, which followed the involvement of a third party organisation and enabled Thornaby Academy to move forward in such a positive way.

NHS Stockton-on-Tees, as Lead Sponsor of North Shore Health Academy had identified Northern Education as the School improvement Partner best able to make these necessary interventions. This proposal was submitted to the Department for Education. ‘Northern Education’ was a regional organisation with a strong national reputation that was keen to work alongside local authorities so that they could fit with existing local ethos and philosophy. Northern Education offered a wide range of expertise and significant capacity in education sector leadership and improvement through an Associate Membership structure.

As co-sponsor the Council was in a position to offer support and capacity to the Academy, which would, in turn, support Northern Education in delivering the improvement plan. The Council was committed to ensuring that the young people who attended the Academy got the best possible educational opportunities and through making support available it could play an active part in bringing this about as quickly as possible through ensuring they received the very best support.

Through a support package the Council would be able to

- offer expertise to support the production of the detailed intervention plan,

- utilise LA teams and expertise in school improvement, particularly teaching and learning and behaviour

- broker support from local schools in line with the Campus Stockton way of working

- provide a financial contribution to secure the expertise of the preferred School improvement Partner as appointed by NHS Stockton-on-Tees, as Lead Sponsor, with whom the Council would work as co-sponsor to secure value for money.
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 some of the positive and negative developments since the last report. Details of the support on offer to people and businesses was also provided.
Members considered a report that set out broad proposals for the future development of wheeled sports facilities in the Borough, catering for the needs of those who used skate boards, BMX bikes, in-line skates and scooters. It also explored how certain areas of public realm might be managed and developed in the future to accommodate wheeled sports.

During 2011 the Council received representations from many local young people and adults, requesting that the Council provided some purpose-built facilities for wheeled sports. Through subsequent consultation work it had been possible to gain an improved understanding of the needs and aspirations of users, and this had helped to inform the recommendations set out in the report. This suggested the Council should work in liaison with users,local communities and any potential public, private and third sector partners to develop a diverse range of facilities and opportunities for wheeled sports across the Borough.

The report provided a broad framework for future action. Specific projects and initiatives would be developed with the active involvement of young people and other users. Successful delivery of projects would also be subject to securing any additional capital and revenue funding.

Cabinet was provided with details of the types of wheeled sports provision that was possible, noted the extent of provision within the Borough and considered opportunities.

Following consultation and experience in other areas the ideal level of provision of skate parks for the Borough would include

• Provision of at least one large, ‘destination’ skate park to serve the Borough as a whole.

• Provision of one or more smaller ‘neighbouhood’ skate parks, serving more local needs and complementing facilities at the larger park.

With regard to BMX tracks it was noted that it may be possible to identify suitable areas in country parks or other greenspaces where dirt jumps and tracks could be developed.

Members noted that the Council owned mobile and semi static equipment and consideration was given to how this could be utilised.

Members noted that £200,000 had been identified in the Medium Term Financial Plan which would be used to match fund future bids for external funding in order to deliver a range of facilities.
Members considered a report relating to the the ongoing redevelopment of Preston Hall Museum & Park.

It was noted that Preston Hall Museum was currently closed to the public to enable the final phase of a major capital investment programme to restore and improve the Grade II listed building and the services it provided. This important project, funded through a variety of sources including a £3.581million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, formed the centrepiece of Stockton on Tees Borough Council’s Heritage Strategy, and would further cement the position of Preston Hall Museum & Park as a major visitor attraction within the Tees Valley.

The project included a rationalisation and re-housing of the Museum’s collections in purpose built stores, the creation of new Learning and Craft resources, a complete refurbishment and redisplay within the main museum building, and improvements to the popular Victorian Street.

In addition to this, further works, as identified through the 2008 Preston Hall Museum & Park Masterplan were being implemented. These included a recently completed £500k capital funding programme through Stockton Borough Council to provide improvements to park infrastructure including drainage works, creation and improvement of pathways and the installation of a new jetty. In addition to this, further success through the Heritage Lottery Fund had resulted in the restoration and re-interpretation of the Walled Kitchen Garden & Orchard, forming a physical link between Hall and Park.

The final stages of the work in the main museum building were under way, with case and display installation planned for completion by late May. Work to populate exhibition displays with the collection would take place during June, as would staff training and development. The Museum was projected to re-open to the public during the Summer of 2012 with a full programme of activities and events to attract visitors to the new facility including two theatrical performances in the park, special exhibitions and a wide range of learning opportunities. An official opening, aiming to attract significant media attention, was still to be scheduled.

The project had been supported by local stakeholders through the Preston Hall and Park Management committee which had incorporated work being undertaken through the Tees Heritage Park initiative.

Cabinet agreed that Stockton Borough Council was committed to ensuring Preston Hall Museum & Park remained as a key visitor attraction in the Borough and a gateway to the wider Heritage Park. The listed status of the Hall already extended legally binding restrictions to any changes to its landscape setting. Furthermore, the role of the Park as a gateway to the larger Heritage Park was also reflected in the Council’s Green Infrastructure Strategy and in the Core Strategy Development Plan Document (DPD).
Members considered a report relating to Government proposals for a new public health systems described in the white paper ‘Health Lives, Health People’.

In December 2011, a series of fact sheets describing public health in local government and the operating model for Public Health England were published. The fact sheets covered a range of issues but confirmed the NHS functions that would move to the Local Authority. Members were provided with details.

Further guidance on the public health outcomes framework (Improving outcomes and supporting transparency) was published late January 2012. Its focus had been on two outcomes around:

• Increased healthy life expectancy
• Reduced differences in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy between communities.

The indicators would be grouped into four domains:

• Improving the wider determinants of health
• Health improvement
• Health protection
• Healthcare public health and preventing premature mortality.

In February the Department of Health (DH) published “Baseline spending estimates for the new NHS and Public Health Commissioning Architecture”, which provided estimates of 2010-11 spend on services that would be allocated to different commissioners in the new commissioning arrangements post 2013. The estimates supported some initial planning but the figures did not necessarily represent the final budgets for 2013-14. The detail stated that there would be a review by Advisory Committee for Resource Allocation (ACRA) and it would inform the DH on allocations. It was anticipated that final allocations for 2013-14 would be set later this year.

The current allocation identified for Stockton was £11,914,000 (2012-13), which had been broadly based on a financial return that was submitted to the DH in September 2011. Detailed analysis was being undertaken to review the projected spend and assess the risks within the budget.

Further guidance was also awaited around the human resource toolkits and workforce strategy.

In order to address the various changes across the NHS System a number of transition plans had been developed which outlined the key actions and timescales to enable the revised infrastructure to be in place by April 2013.

Within Stockton, the Health and Wellbeing Management Team was taking responsibility for the various work streams supporting the public health transition arrangements. This had input from a range of Heads of Service and PCT managers.

The NHS had requested that the local Public Health Transition Plans were developed with input from the Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authority. Locally, the plans had been considered by a range of partners, including the Health and Wellbeing Board and Partnership. The draft plans were considered and reviewed by the Regional Director of Public Health in January and final plans were expected in March 2012. The detailed plan was provided for members’ attention.

As part of the transition planning arrangements a number of areas had been identified where the detailed guidance was outstanding and/or DH policy was awaited. As part of the Regional Director of Public Health arrangements these issues had been highlighted and concerns raised with the DH where necessary. Some examples of concerns raised had been around the operational implications within screening services if a recall was required and the responsibility of the different parts of the LA and NHS system in addressing this.

In order to enable the smooth transfer of services it was necessary to plan for the current commissioning and finance arrangements now, in order to work through the various implications for the Local Authority in 2013. Work was ongoing to assess the various transition arrangements and relative risks.

In parallel to the transition plans, the development of the Health and Wellbeing Board arrangements and the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) required significant focus to support the future oversight of health and wellbeing issues for Stockton. The Health and Wellbeing Board and Partnership continued to meet in shadow form and was developing its work plan over the coming year. A key planning document would be the JSNA which would inform the development of the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy. At this stage work was in progress around the completion of the various sections of the JSNA which would be considered by Cabinet in April 2012. The Strategy would be developed by Autumn 2012 which would influence future commissioning plans across health and the local authority.
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meetings of various bodies.
Members considered a report that presented progress on the implementation of actions applicable to Stockton Council, following the regional review of the health needs of the ex-service community.

Overall the actions sought to utilise existing generic support where possible, whilst recognising that, through better identification of clients within services, existing services would be better able to meet their needs, and potentially refer clients to other services if appropriate. The Council’s Policy Officers’ Group had been tasked with co-ordinating the implementation of the local action plan.

A report, summarising progress to date, was provided to members. It was noted that progress had been made in relation to the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, a number of service areas were improving their data collection, it had been agreed, with Catalyst, to use the Service Navigator to provide additional assistance to those who needed extra help gaining support, and Member Champions had been appointed (now including the Cabinet Member for Access and Communities).

The Regional Health Scrutiny Committee had previously agreed to formally monitor progress against its recommendations on a six-monthly basis and would next meet to do this on 16 April. The information provided in this report would be considered by the Regional Committee at that time.

Subsequent to the completion of the regional review, the Government had promoted the Armed Forces Community Covenant scheme. Community Covenants aimed to encourage targeted support for the local Service and veteran community at the same time as being a two way agreement with local Service personnel being encouraged to support the community.

At the meeting of 1 December, Council committed to adopting a Community Covenant with local partners and representatives of the Armed Forces, and this had taken place on 7 March 2012. Many of the actions in the draft version of the Covenant were based on the implementation of the actions emanating from the scrutiny review.
Cabinet considered a report regarding the Parliamentary Constituencies review being undertaken by the four UK Boundary Commissions.

Cabinet was reminded that the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) had published initial proposals for England, including the North East on 13 September 2011.

Members were also reminded of the views and comments that the Council had agreed to submit to the BCE, ahead of the initial consultation deadline.

The BCE had published all representations received, to the initial proposals, on its web site. Given the high level of response and the fact that the representations had only been published two days before this meeting officers had been unable to look at all the documents published. However, it did appear that the Council’s views had received support from other respondents and particularly with regard to its comments on Billingham North ward and Parkfield and Oxbridge ward.

Members noted that a further four week period of consultation had started on 6 March, ending noon on 3 April 2012.

Members were asked to consider if any further comments should be made to the BCE during this secondary consultation period. Members asked that the comments submitted by the Council, as part of the initial consultation period, be reaffirmed to the BCE. Members also asked that the Council’s position on the proposals be publicised and a note relating to the Council’s comments on the Billingham Wards be forwarded to Billingham Town Council.

Cabinet noted that Council was not scheduled to meet again until early May, after the closing date of the secondary consultation period. It was therefore suggested that, the Director of Law and Democracy be authorised to consult with political group Leaders and submit any representations prior to the deadline.

At the end of the secondary consultation period, all of the representations received from the outset of the initial consultation would be considered and a report would be prepared for each region. The BCE would then consider the report and decide whether, and to what extent, revisions should be made to its initial proposals.

A further report would be submitted to Council at that stage.

Members were advised that if the initial proposals were revised then there would be a final consultation period of eight weeks. Following this consultation, final recommendations, for the whole of England, would be produced. The submission of a formal report to Government would conclude the review process.

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