|Consideration was given to a report that proposed a series of measures to further the approach to corporate parenting in Stockton. It included measures to strengthen the accountability of the approach, improve its visibility and profile, to respond to the requirement of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, to ensure that all officers and Members were clear about their role and had options for how to be further involved if they choose to do so. Most importantly the measures would result in demonstrable outcomes and benefits for children and young people in care.|
With regard to the legal context the Children and Social Work Act 2017 required the Council to have regard to a set of corporate parenting principles when exercising its functions in relation to looked after children and care leavers (former relevant children). These were:
a. To act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and wellbeing, of children and young people;
b. To encourage children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings;
c. To take into account of the views, wishes and feelings of children and young people;
d. To help children and young people gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and its relevant partners;
e. To promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes, for children and young people;
f. For children and young people to be safe, and for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work;
g. To prepare children and young people for adulthood and independent living
The role of the Council was that it was determined to ensure that the children and young people in its care felt that their needs were given the highest priority and that they were valued and cared about not only by those who look after them on a daily basis but also by those who made decisions, politically, corporately and operationally. This meant:-
That the Council would work to deliver the priorities in the strategy for children in its care and care leavers, and that the Council would be open and honest about progress;
That the Council want to do more than deliver strategies, plans and duties - the Council recognises the many individual and organisational ways in which it can achieve much more;
That elected members would be clear about their roles, and the actions they can take to be good corporate parents;
That senior officers in the Council would go above and beyond their roles to achieve the best for children and young people in care, using their personal authority and resources to do more.
In terms of specific commitments:
a. The Council agree and sign a pledge each year, at the first full Council of the new municipal year
b. The Council develop ways in which it can go over and above the statutory roles to get the best outcomes
c. The Council consider the implications of all its decisions in all the reports to Cabinet
d. The Council prioritise the needs of looked after children in all of its services, and in everything it commissions where appropriate.
The commitment to children in its care was further enshrined in priorities in the Council Plan, and in the Children's Services Strategy.
The proposals in the report therefore refer to a system which was not broken, but which could be improved, both in response to the peer challenge, but also based on the views of partners and young people.
The proposals included:
c. Accountability and profile
d. Corporate parenting implications of decisions
f. Awareness and visibility
g. Helping hands scheme
h. Care leavers
i. Corporate offer for foster carers
There had been considerable national interest in avoiding the unfortunate shorthand of LAC' to describe children and young people in care.
Locally, the views of children and young people were sought on this issue in late 2016. There was no one specific term which young people prefer, and it was also the case that this issue was of less importance locally than in some other areas.
Nevertheless the Council was settling on the term children in our care' to describe children who were technically looked after by the Council. This was a deliberate attempt move away from the use of shorthand phrases such as LAC children, LAC kids' or simply referring to children in care as LAC'.
Consideration had also been given to the use of the term corporate parenting' which was widely felt to be a remote, cold term with little relation back to the young people it was aimed at. However, this was the legal definition of duties in the Children and Social Work Act 2017, and provided a useful framework to set out the approach. Rather than spend time on seeking an alternative definition or term, it was intended, though, to be much more specific about what corporate parenting means in practice.
The multi-agency strategy for children in care and care leavers was being refreshed for 2018. This set out a range of outcome and delivery priorities which fulfilled the Council requirements as part of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, and an ambitious range of commitments to more clearly position our work, this was attached to the report.
To respond to the recommendations of the peer challenge, the Council was proposing to replace MALAP with a Corporate Parenting Board as an official committee of the Council.
The rationale for this was that the move to a more formal arrangement could provide a more visible level of accountability, and provide the opportunity to refresh terms of reference and membership. It also enabled the Council to refresh the officer working arrangements in support of the Board.
The draft terms of reference was attached to the report.
The Council had, for some time, included corporate parenting implications on Cabinet reports. However, there was a lack of guidance to officers completing reports on what might be considered and documented.
The draft new guidance was attached to the report.
A guide to corporate parenting had been developed and circulated for members. Training sessions had also been held.
Officers awareness had been delivered through the Setting the Standard sessions held in February.
In order to maintain the visibility of the refreshed approach, a dedicated space was being developed on the intranet, which would be used as a space for updates and information, both on the strategy and on individual young people as appropriate. In the innovation challenge in 2016, the concept of the virtual fridge door' (ie to showcase the work and activity of children) was suggested, and this would be built into the intranet section.
The helping hands scheme would be launched in 2018 as a key mechanisms for ensuring that all Members and officers in the Council could make a practical contribution if they so choose, building on the example of the Christmas book project in 2017.
The proposed scheme was in two parts:
a. The opportunity to offer time to support children in care. This would be managed through the Talent Network. The principle was that officers may be able to support children in care through the giving of time - to support an activity, to mentor or to assist in a specific ask from a child or young person in care.
b. For those who feel less able to give time, there would be an opportunity to give financially towards a specific named fund' through a payroll giving mechanism. The fund would be managed by care leavers and would support their activity, be used to sponsor individual young people, and to enable the group to undertake or to fund specific community action. Young people would be trained to be fund administrators by the Tees Valley Community Foundation, who would manage the fund. The options for ensuring there was significant resource immediately available through the transfer of some funding from the Stockton Community Fund, matched by a corporate contribution, and the option for the fund to be one of the incoming mayor's priority charities.
In 2018, in line with the requirements of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, the Council would be co-developing, with care leavers a new care leavers offer. This would include the statutory and discretionary offer in Stockton which was made available to care leavers.
This would be developed via the proposed Corporate Parenting Board and reported into the Children and Young People Select Committee in autumn 2018.
Stockton-on-Tees was the first authority in the North East to exempt care leavers from Council Tax until the age of 25, and a range of other existing and potential support mechanisms would be reviewed to ensure care leavers benefit from a wide range of support.
As part of wider plans on the approach to children in care, the Council would also be reviewing the corporate offer' for foster carers as part of a package of measures to recruit and retain foster carers. Note that these were over and above what the Council was required to provide for foster carers through care planning regulations such as the scheme of training, support and allowances, which were also being reviewed as part of the children in our care review'
The corporate offer' was more focused on additional support and benefits which could be provided for foster carers.
Amongst the options being considered were:
a. Priority access to major events
b. For Council staff
.a foster friendly employer scheme, which we could encourage in other partners
c. Travel passes
d. Fostering network subscriptions
e. Access to all other employee benefits and additional potential shopping discount schemes
f. Council tax exemptions
The Council as the family business'
The Council would increase its efforts to identify suitable opportunities for work experience, internship and employment for children in care and care leavers.
This was the focus of the Employment, Education and Training Sub group of MALAP, but more could be done both to identify opportunities and to identify young people who would benefit from them. A series of roadshows' would be held with services to explore the opportunities as part of the new approach.
|Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on the activities on the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) and in particular activities associated with the borough of Stockton on Tees. The report set out the areas of responsibility the TVCA had and provided a brief summary of each of these activities. The report highlighted the position with the investment plan and the next steps in particular the pipeline of projects that were being developed by the Council.|
TVCA was established on 1st April 2016 and the Mayoral election was held in May 2017 which saw the creation of the governance structure, with a directly elected mayor and a Cabinet of 5 which was made up of the Leaders of each of the Tees Valley Councils. Each Leader in their role as Cabinet member took a portfolio lead and these were:
Darlington - Transport
Hartlepool - Education, Employment and Skills
Middlesbrough - Innovation, Culture & Tourism
Redcar & Cleveland - Investment and Business Growth
Stockton - Housing and Place
Each Leader received a portfolio briefing from TVCA staff and lead on that agenda across the Tees Valley. The Combined Authority's responsibilities include the economy, strategic transport, education employment & skills, culture, business growth, aspects of housing and European funding. The Combined Authority Managing Director attended a Stockton Borough Council Members Seminar on an annual basis to provide a verbal update on activities.
TVCA Cabinet and each Local Authority approved the use of Borrowing Powers for TVCA's use earlier this years and this was laid before Parliament week commencing 5 March 2018 offered and was an approved method of generating funding.
The report gave a summary of Combined Authority activity in the following areas:
South Tees Development Corporation
Strategic Transport Plan
Road & Rail
Sustainable access to Employment Programme
Tees Marshalling Yards
Education, Employment & Skills & School Improvement
Culture & Tourism
Preston Park Museum & Grounds Transformational Plan
Stockton Town Centre/Riverside - Transformational Change incorporating a new Tees Valley Giant
Northshore Future Phases
Central Stockton - Norton Road Gateway
Yarm Car Parking
Employment Land Development (Belasis)
|Consideration was given to a report that provided a review of the implementation of Phase 1 of the managed transition to a new senior management structure agreed in September 2015 and to present a proposal to deliver the second phase of managed transition up to and including the planned departure of the Chief Executive in December 2019.|
A report "Planning for the Future - Managing Transition" was presented to Cabinet and Council in September 2015 which approved proposals for a managed transition to a new senior management structure for the Council. The September 2015 report recommended a new senior officer structure for the Council and established a time-limited transformation team to deliver a programme of major projects to deliver savings and to oversee the delivery of specific significant Capital Investment projects. The report also included a commitment to a further update in April 2018 following full implementation of the new structure and completion of the work of the Transformation Team. The report provided that review and proposed a way forward to deliver the second phase of managed transition up to and including the planned departure of the Chief Executive in December 2019.
The previous 2008 management structure was attached to the report. The recommendations of the September 2015 report were put into place during the final quarter of 2015 and the new permanent senior management structure was fully implemented on 1 January 2016. A copy of that structure was attached to the report. The implementation of the new structure was achieved smoothly and had ensured that the strong performance of the Council had been maintained at the same time as delivering £800k of annual savings from the new leaner management team. The management team shared a strong loyalty and commitment to the organisation and were enthusiastic advocates of the culture of the organisation. They were committed to the aims of the Shaping a Brighter Future programme and the ongoing development of a people-focussed, learning organisation.
The Transformation Team model had worked successfully. The savings projects delivered through the team were completed ahead of schedule allowing the Council to release employees earlier than anticipated to achieve greater savings. The continuity and handover arrangements supported by the model had also ensured that the transition to the new permanent structure had been smooth and performance across services had not been adversely affected.
Performance of the organisation remained very strong under the new structure. Over the last two years the Council had continued to deliver the commitments in the Council Plan. During that period the Council had:
a. Continued to deliver further savings of £45m by 2020.
b. Handled a further reduction in staffing of 320 on top of reductions of 810 in the previous 3 years whilst maintaining union relations and achieving positive results in the Employee Survey.
c. Delivered cultural change in the organisation through the SBF programme which would have long lasting benefits in terms of greater resilience and capacity.
d. Played a lead role in the establishment of the Combined Authority - following on from our role as employing organisation for the LEP employees. The Combined Authority was now established and operating independently.
e. Achieved positive inspection reports from Ofsted and Peer reviews in Children's Services.
f. The Council had supported a big improvement in performance across schools in the borough.
g. Maintained good / outstanding ratings for our Children's homes.
h. Achieved outstanding CQC ratings for Lanark Close.
i. Undertaken a positive Peer Review of Adults Services.
j. Achieved positive inspection results in the Adults Learning and Skills service.
k. Submitted the Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate.
l. Progressed major investments in the Globe, the hotel, Ingleby Barwick Leisure Centre, the crematorium and in schools and roads.
m. Delivered a packed year round events programme.
n. Delivered 3 elections efficiently and effectively.
o. Retained Customer Service Excellence across all areas.
p. Retained our Investor in people status and achieved "Continuing Excellence" in the Better Health at Work Awards.
The strong performance had been recognised in the shortlisting as Council of the Year in the prestigious APSE, MJ and LGC awards. This was the first time ever achieved in a single year.
Whilst the position was positive it was also a fact that the Council continued to face a number of challenges and changes which meant that the Council must continue to develop and plan for the future with the second phase of managed transition in senior management roles.
The 2018-21 MTFP period included the challenge of delivering additional savings of £11m and there were significant uncertainties around future funding, as part of the requirement to deliver additional savings in the next MTFP period identified in the 2016 budget that the Council would be able to deliver further savings of £250k per annum in reduced senior management costs from 2020. Achieving these savings would be challenging given the ongoing pressures and funding reductions, however there was a financial imperative and if the Council continued with the ongoing managed programme of transition then the changes could be achieved in a way that would support the ongoing strong performance of the organisation.
The Council remained committed to the ambitious programme of development and regeneration in the borough and as part of this have a great deal of work to see through to complete the successful delivery of a number of major investments over the next year. However a number of the major capital programmes were due to complete in 2019 and then the Council would move into a period of operation and assimilation of these new assets rather than into a new capital investment programme.
The Council would need to continue to support employees to develop and grow through SBF to continually meet the challenge of delivering more with less.
The Council continued to face high levels of demand in Adults and Children's Social Care however it was hoped that the deeper embedding of the early help approach in both these services would begin to stem the growth in demand.
The planned departure of the Chief Executive at the conclusion of his fixed term contract must also be factored into the transition plans to ensure smooth leadership succession.
The managed transition which had taken place since September 2015 had been achieved successfully and there was confidence that if the Council continued with a managed and planned approach, it could achieve further successful transition.
The following managed transition proposal had been designed to address three key criteria:
a. To deliver the required annual savings of £250k.
b. To minimize disruption and achieve continuity and smooth succession.
c. To enable a thorough reassessment by a peer review in 2019/20.
It was proposed that the post of Chief Executive be deleted in June 2019 and replaced with a Managing Director reflecting the transformed smaller Council officer establishment. Whilst this was in effect a redundancy situation, The Council negotiated a fixed term contract in which any right to redundancy payment was waived.
It was proposed that the Chief Executive steps down from his role as Chief Executive immediately prior to the 2019 Annual Council Meeting in June 2019, however he would continue in a transitionary role until December 2019 and the expiry of his fixed term contract. As previously agreed by Cabinet and Council in 2015 the Chief Executive would leave the Council at the end of 2019, at the end of an agreed fixed term period. This arrangement was put in place to ensure retention, avoid redundancy costs and to allow for a planned succession process. In accordance with this plan it was proposed that following the move to an Interim Managing Director in June 2019, the Chief Executive would:
a. Oversee the transition to the new Council following the elections in May 2019 and oversee the new Councillor induction programme.
b. Prepare for a Corporate Peer Review.
c. Deliver a leadership development programme (as part of SBF) to continue the programme of increasing capacity in the organisation. A number of places on this programme would be made available to candidates from the local VCSE sector.
d. Provide mentoring and guidance to the Interim Managing Director to ensure a smooth transition.
e. Continue to provide mentoring and peer support work to other Local Authorities and public sector bodies.
It was proposed that additional responsibilities be given to the current Deputy Chief Executive to act as Managing Director on an interim basis from the AGM following the elections in 2019 until the completion of the LGA Peer Review in 2020 and permanent appointment of the Managing Director (as outlined in paragraph 16). At this point the Deputy Chief Executive post would be redundant.
It was proposed that one of the current Director posts would be adapted to include additional duties associated with the Deputy Managing Director responsibilities from June 2019. The allocation of the additional duties to a Director post would be determined in line with the Management of Organisational Change policy through a preferencing and Member-led interview process.
During the interim period described at paragraph 10 above, the Section 151 Officer role (currently part of the Deputy Chief Executive role) will be transferred to the current Director of Finance and Business Services role and the Deputy Section 151 Officer role to a post within the Finance and Business Services Directorate.
There would be no other changes to the senior management structure.
The Council had well developed and effective managing change protocols and procedures, developed with trade unions and set out in The Management of Organisational Change (MOC) policy, in line with this policy it was not anticipated that these proposals would require a formal consultation process. The Corporate Management Team supported these proposals and were committed to supporting the programme of smooth transition.
As with the first stage of the senior management review, support had been provided by NEREO to advise on the proposed revisions to the remuneration structure to accompany the new senior management roles. In line with Council policy, the new and revised posts had been subject to job evaluation by NEREO and a market testing of salaries had been undertaken. As a result of this, it was proposed that the new Managing Director role would be remunerated at a salary of £149,500. This salary reflected the changing scale of the organisation. It was proposed that the Deputy Managing Director role be remunerated at a salary of £125,000. This would deliver an annual saving of £250,000. The remuneration of all other senior management roles would remain unchanged.
An LGA Peer review would be undertaken in early 2020, this would provide a comprehensive review of the Council. The review would include an assessment of the structure to ensure that it provided sufficient capacity to meet organisational needs, a review of scrutiny and governance arrangements and support for Members. It was suggested that the recommended timing of the review was ideal as it could act as an assessment of the proposed new officer / leadership arrangements following the 2019 elections.
Moved by Councillor Bob Cook, seconded by Councillor Jim Beall:-
1. A Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director model which will deliver total proposed savings as a result of senior management reductions of £4,195,000 over the 4 year MTFP and £1,050,000 pa thereafter be introduced.
2. The transitional arrangements be agreed and the appointment of the Deputy Chief Executive as the Interim Managing Director to ensure smooth transition be agreed.
3. A Local Government Association Corporate Peer Review be undertaken.
4. A further report be received outlining options for the permanent appointment of a Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director following the Corporate Peer Review (Phase 3).
Moved by Councillor Matthew Vickers, seconded by Councillor Stefan Houghton that the substantive motion be amended as follows:-
Replace the second recommendation as follows:-
2. In appointing a Managing Director the Council will carry out an open transparent and professional selection process open to internal and external candidates and to commence at a time to be deemed appropriate by the Chief Executive.
All the other recommendations to remain the same.
A vote then took place on the amendment to the substantive motion. The amendment was not carried.
|At its Annual Meeting, held on Wednesday 3 June 2015, the Council approved appointments to its Committees, Panels and Joint/Outside Bodies for 2015/19.|
Appointments had been received and are presented for Council consideration
|The following motion had been submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12.1. The motion was moved by Councillor Matthew Vickers and seconded by Councillor Lynn Hall:-|
"In light of a recent judgment of the Information Tribunal relating to Hartlepool Borough Council, this Council commits, in principle:
1) to publishing information relating to the sale of its stake in Teesside Airport back in April 2003 and making public relevant key documents regarding its dealings with Peel since discussions of its acquisition began;
2) in the event DTVA is sold by Peel, to making full disclosure of confidential items relating to the 2003 sale, management and deals made between Peel and the Council;
Except where legal advice confirms that confidentiality must be maintained on an on-going basis."
The motion was carried.
|The following question had been submitted by Councillor Phil Dennis for response by the Leader of the Council:-|
"Can the Leader of the Council please outline what the Council's long term plans are for land in the councils ownership currently occupied by the Quarry Rd allotments and the Quarry wood nature reserve, both adjacent to Preston Park?"
The Leader of the Council responded with:-
"The Council has recently consulted on the Draft Local Plan which outlines land uses proposed going forward.
It is clear for those who have read the Draft Local Plan, the Council is not proposing any changes to Quarry Road Allotments or Nature Reserve."
Councillor Phil Dennis asked the following supplementary question:-
"There is an unused, un-kept footpath adjacent to this land which currently goes through a number of gardens, it is a throwback a couple of hundred years to when there was actually a quarry onsite. Residents there, myself, the Parish Council and the Rambles Association have each been asking our Officers if the Council would divert the path. There is currently next to the same location a path parallel 6 feet away onto Council land. If the Leader of the Council requires any further information I would meet him with residents onsite so we can move this forward as at the moment it is a question that is going round in circles?"
The Leader of the Council responded with:-
"I'm happy to look into the situation. At our next Cabinet meeting we are looking into Public Rights of Way. It may be relevant to look at within the current Rights of Way document to see what can be done, depending on who owns the land."
|The Leader of the Council gave his Forward Plan and Leader's Statement|
Cabinet last met on the 24th May 2018 and considered reports on:
JTAI (Joint Targeted Area Inspection) Action Plan
Community Participation Budget Report
Autism Day Service at Ware Street, Stockton-on-Tees
Corporate Parenting - Refreshing Our Approach
Tees Valley Combined Authority Update
Planning For The Future - Managing Transition (Phase 2)
Cabinet would next meet on 21 June and receive reports on:
Council Plan - Annual Report 2017/18
Apprenticeship update 2018
National Democracy Week 2018
Tees Valley Combined Authority (Adult Education Functions Order)
Introduction of a Licenced Premise Award Scheme (Setting the Bar)
Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2018
Rights of Way Improvements Plan 2018 - 2023
Housing Strategy 2018 - 2023/ Homeless Reduction Strategy 2018 - 2023
Review of Alderman Criteria.
The Spring and Summer events programme was in full swing with specialist markets, Supercar Saturday and Free Comic Book Day, Stockton Duathlon Festival, Stockton Stages with a special tribute to Stockton Town F C for getting to Wembley. And three events to look forward to Fire Engine and Vintage Vehicle Show, Armed Forces Day which would include the Freedom Parade and Stockton Cycling Festival.
The Leader of the Council looked forward to seeing Members at the next Council Meeting on the 18th July 2018.