Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Monday 19 November 2018
1:00 p.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor R Arundale, Councillor R Brady, Councillor D Davison, Councillor S Dean, Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor L Lewis, Councillor Z Uddin
Chris Kemp, Claire Kemp, Joanne Richards, Susie Blood, Rachel Beard and Marion Walker
Apologies for absence:
Councillor S Biswas, Councillor D J Branson
Declarations of interest:

None declared

Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2018 were submitted and accepted as a true record.


Councillor Goodchild expressed her thanks again to the young people who attended from the Youth Employment Initiative.


Joanne Richards, Manager of the Community Learning programmes provided a presentation to the panel. This was the final presentation regarding the projects Middlesbrough Community Learning offer to assist individuals gain work skills and employment.


The officer outlined that the purpose of community learning was to develop the skills, confidence, motivation and resilience of adults (19 years or over) of different ages and background in order to:


  • Progress towards formal learning or employment
  • Improve their health and wellbeing, including mental health and
  • Develop stronger communities

Joanne reminded the panel that the adult education budget was now being managed by Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA). Aline to this, the Common Spectrum Framework changed to delivering skills (rather than leisure courses) and in turn the TVCA was focussed on outcomes, linking to how courses can help individuals seek employment, with the purpose of ensuring individuals can gain a level of English which they can survive within a work setting.

Community learning was based across Middlesbrough within the Community Hubs, Libraries and schools and is priority driven, linking to Middlesbrough Council’s 2025 vision; Fairer, Safer, Stronger. Community learning was done with partnership with Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation, NUR fitness, SAVVY and the NHS.

Courses provided included:

  • Family learning- positive parenting, fun with numbers (address the needs of parents within schools)
  • Confidence building
  • ICT- basic, intermediate and ECDL
  • Health and wellbeing e.g. SAVVY provide health and beauty but provide health and wellbeing training.
  • Employability course- Steps towards, a project whereby individuals gain 2 weeks experience in a skilled job e.g. housekeeping within a hotel. At the end of their experience, they are guaranteed an interview and success rate is high.
  • Healthy eating/ cooking on a budget - working towards the obesity strategy.

In terms of the Community learning learners, in 2018, there had been 2,930 learners and the breakdown was as follows:

Gender- female (61%), male (39%)
Ethnicity- White British (63%)/ BAME (37%)
Age- 19-24 (10%), 25-36 ( 31%), 37-48 (27%), 49- 60 (22%) and 61+ (10%), =it is noted that those 61+ tend to enrol on basic ICT skills.

There was a 96% attendance, 95% success and 70% are from deprived communities.
The panel learnt that like the Youth Employment Initiative, each learner has an Individual learning plan (ILP) which outlined their outcomes they wish to achieve from the course.

Of the learners:


  • 35% go onto further learning (most learners may have just left college, so this can often be their first step since finishing education. They may not have been able to go elsewhere so this provides them with the opportunities for their first step into training)
  • 24% go into employment, which can be linked from the Steps towards scheme
  • 4% go into volunteering, however there was a push to encourage more volunteering after the courses.
  • 20% not into employment, for example due to parental responsibilities
  • 17%, those are learners that due to circumstances do not go onto anything further e.g. mental health issues, lone parent.

Family learning- Abingdon and Ayresome primary schools

The officer advised the panel that community learning were approached by Abingdon and Ayresome primary school, who found a number of their parents spoke little English consequently they had issues communicating with the school .For example when they sent letters out to these parents they often didn’t get a response. Parents also didn’t have the confidence to talk to their child’s teacher about any issues. Due to the needs within the school, Middlesbrough Community learning ran a basic ESOL course for parents. The success rate was incredible, as parents had increased confidence, their English improved, many went onto further training and some looked for work. School attainment and homework improved as there was more understanding from parents.

The panel further learnt that a steps towards course would be running in the new year within Abingdon primary school, as they had been struggling to recruit lunchtime supervisors and they were hoping that this would enable parents to gain employment within the school.

Steps towards working in the NHS

The offficer further gave the panel a good example of excellent partnership working with a partner (NUR fitness) and the NHS. The rationale was to increase numbers of BME working within a support worker role. From the scheme, 26 ladies from the BME community were engaged in the project. Of those 26, 6 went into volunteering with the NHS and 1 went into paid employment. The scheme was also nominated for Tees Valley BME achievement award.

Feedback regarding community learning has been excellent, as seen from the below:

“We would definitely recommend the partnership with other schools and organisations” (Ayresome Primary school)

“We have worked with MCSL for a number of years and have witnesses some great outcomes in terms of preparing parents for learning and to return to the labour market” (Corpus Christi Primary school)

“Once on the course I realised I had made the best decision of my life! “

“6 months ago I thought my life was over .....but now I feel life is just beginning.”


The officer introduced Lisa Fallows, Managing Director of Savvy Health, Hair and beauty salon and training academy and Natalie, one of her learners. Joanne was an advocate of Lisa due to her determination and drive.

Lisa shared her story with the panel:

“ I left school when I was 16 years old, with no qualifications. I didn’t know what to do, and college just wasn’t for me, so I went to Middlesbrough Community Learning and got my English and Maths. Whilst I was there I knew there was a huge demand for hair and beauty. I have 6 children and know the strain being a Mam, wife, work and supporting others can be. I opened Savvy in North Ormesby, which is a deprived area and I share the same story as a lot of my learners. I did eventually go to College and university and I am now a qualified teacher, but I wouldn’t have done that without community learning as they gave me the confidence to do this.

As I understand the strain go being a Mam, I try and help people in the community who need help. Our courses are flexible, so they can be done round the school run. Having parental responsibilities can be hard when you have to attend college 9-5. But our courses don’t just offer health and beauty, we also tough on health and wellbeing, because when you face barriers, you can sometimes feel isolated and your self -confidence goes low.
Because of our flexible courses, we have excellent success rates and retention on courses- you’re not just a number, who are someone who we will offer support and advice.

I like to share my story with my learners, because I came from nothing and now own my own business. We get a lot of learners approach us, through word of mouth, because we are based in the centre of the community but because we are unique. We encourage the learners to volunteer in the salon and our courses are hands on. We deliver the course in a working salon, where the learners are taught how to take bookings, do a consultation etc. We work with a number of partners so quite often the volunteering will lead to other things for our leaners and some have got jobs. But without community learning, this wouldnt be possible, so I would like to thank you for helping me and supporting me”.

It was outlined to the panel that Lisa recently ran an awards ceremony for her learners, and it was inspirational to listen to the stories of those woman.

The officer lastly introduced Natalie, a learner and volunteer in Savvy. Natalie shared her story with the panel:

“ I went to Savvy, because college wasn’t for me. I’m 30 and I have 5 children. I wouldn’t get to college because of transport and childcare but with Savvy it is in the community, I can walk there and I can juggle the kids.
Before I went to Savvy it was really hard. The night before I approached Lisa, I was in a really dark place and I wanted to end my life, but something in me stopped me. I felt selfish and knew that my kids needed me and I somehow got the courage to go to Lisa. She took one look at me and said “are you alright?” and a year on I am now volunteering in the salon.

Lisa listened to me and safeguarded me and she made me feel like I was something and not worthless. I think she is amazing and she is a role model. I know now that I was being selfish but my mental health was so low. I wouldn’t get out of bed, or do my hair or makeup. My Mam had to take the kids to school. I do still get down days but I am out of that way of thinking and now look forward to my days.

I love working in Savvy and when I started my course we had to do role play of welcoming clients and doing bookings, to me this is the best way to learn”.

Lisa provided further information of Natalie’s story:

“Natalie approached me because of the networking we do in the community. I saw something in Natalie and through community learners was able to safeguard her. She now volunteers 3 times a week and she supports other volunteers who come into the salon privately and she is well liked and a huge success. Natalie is now writing a business plan to open her own business but Natalie asked to volunteer because she wanted hands on experience and wanted to be ‘work ready’. Natalie in on the road to her own business but community learning has changed her life and they have helped me as a business grow.”

The panel thanked Lisa, Natalie and Joanne for their contributions and praised Lisa and Natalie for their determination and drive to get where they are today. The panel saw the true meaning of community learning through their stories.


Following the evidence provided, the Democratic Services officer outlined that they have heard evidence in relation to the terms of reference of the review. After discussion, the panel agreed that a short report would be established detailing what Middlesbrough Council is currently doing to help individuals gain work skills and employment. The report would drawn together the evidence provided over the past few meetings and conclude and recommend accordingly.


Agreed as follows:


1. That the information presented at the meeting be considered in the context of the scrutiny panel's investigation.

2. That a final report be developed and presented to the panel at a future meeting.




The Chair welcomed Marion Walker, Head of Stronger Communities and Rachel Beard, Community Safety Partnership and Neighbourhood Safety Team Manager to the meeting who provided an update regarding the Community Safety Partnership.

The Community Safety Partnership and Neighbourhood Safety Team Manager outlined that the update had come at an ideal time as the Community Safety Partnership had recently been reviewed and there had been a restructure within the Joint Action groups (JAGs).

The officer outlined that the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) was a statutory partnership made up of key ‘Responsible Authorities’ who had equal responsibility for reducing crime and antisocial behaviour under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (As amended by the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2014 and the Policing and Crime Act 2017)

Joint Action Groups (JAGs) were one element of the sub groups that sat under the CSP and feed into the bigger picture for reducing crime and ASB across Middlesbrough. They provided an opportunity for Ward Members and partners to feed into the process and bring any concerns that they have to the table to be considered when developing local action plans.

Middlesbrough historically had the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership and now have Middlesbrough Community Safety Partnership, which officers feel with the capacity the Council has and partners’ capacity can deliver a decent responsibility in dealing with anti-social behaviour, crime and substance misuse.

The officer outlined that the Community Safety Partnership was chaired by Cllr Mick Thompson and each year a Strategic Intelligence Assessment was completed which formed the basis for the Community Safety Plan. This year a review of the sub groups that sit under the CSP and a consultation exercise (survey) helped to inform this review had been undertaken. This pinpointed where the key hot spots of anti-social behaviour and crime are so officers could be deployed accordingly e.g if there was a particular issue in one ward, a group can be established to tackle these issues in a timely manner on a task and finish basis.

Responses from the 4 JAGs indicated that partners valued the meetings and felt that they were achieving their desired outcomes however they felt there was a level of duplication and that the number of JAGs should be reduced to improve coordination of response.

This also fitted into the new integrated community safety and prevention model which has now been rolled out across the Borough in 2 geographic areas that fit in with the 2 JAG areas.

The officer outlined a diagram which provided the panel with the new structure of the Community Safety Partnership.

The panel were advised that there were now two themed groups:


  • Prevent operational group, and
  • Domestic abuse strategic partnership

Under the operational groups, there were:


  • Joint action groups (x2)
  • Reducing reoffending
  • Multi agency case conference (complex clients)
  • Task and finish groups

The structure was more streamline and the main difference was that there was a partnership performance group to hold ourselves to account. Performance group- two meetings have taken place, the first involved speaking to partner agencies and understand what information these agencies hold in terms of crime to create a full picture (e.g. information from the police, ambulance service and fire service).


The officer provided an overview of crime and anti -social behaviour rates in Middlesbrough. From the graph it is apparent that crime is increasing, however the Head of Stronger Communities outlined that had been recent changes in the way crime is recorded and there has been a shift e.g. offences that were anti-social behaviour are now classed as crime. However it was apparent that this did not account for the huge increase in crime.
The officer further gave a brief update on the differences of time since 2016. She outlined that the increase in Violence may be due to changes in recording which now means that the crime was now recorded at the point of contact with the Police rather than following investigation, also, patterns of incidents that individually would previously have not been crimes were now being combined into a crime, reducing the recording of incidents and increasing the recorded crimes.


The officer commented that due to the increase in crimes, they have commissioned the Analyst to carry out a piece of work to create a problem profile, and from there set up a task and finish group. This would identify where the problems were and increase our awareness and understanding.


In terms of anti-social behaviour in 2016, it was apparent that levels were decreasing however there were peak months, historically and again this year there had been a peak in October around Halloween and Bonfire night.

Joint Area Groups (JAGs)

The officers went on to explain that within the new Community Safety Partnership the Joint Action groups had been revamped, which had moved from 3 JAGs to 2JAGs in line with the new Policing Team areas and new integrated model. The new JAG meeting role out commenced in November 2018.


There were now two elements to the sessions, the first hour consisted of an open session for Councillors and partners and the second, closed session was to discuss personal and sensitive information following the open session.


The key objectives of the JAG were to:


  • Reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and deliberate fire setting across Middlesbrough
  • Share information between partners to identify community issues
  • Coordinate a multi-agency approach to address issues using a range of tools focusing on; victim offender, location to develop positive interventions
  • Develop and monitor the delivery of actions
  • Support the delivery of time limited sub groups e.g. Op Autumnus and task and finish groups
  • Monitor and refer Community Tension issues
  • Identify and develop Community Engagement opportunities that help meet the objectives of the JAG
  • Consider requests for mobile CCTV deployment

The officers also outlined that role of the elected member, advising that:


  • Councillors were an important part of the JAG process- highlighting residents’ concerns and feeding back to residents in their wards
  • Councillors were requested to report residents’ concerns via the One Stop Shop process. Community Issues will be sent to the Neighbourhood Safety Team who take the issues to the JAG if a multi-agency response was required
  • Councillors were invited to attend the open JAG that covers their ward to hold agencies to account on outstanding Community issues
  • Councillors were requested to feed information gained at the open JAG back to interested residents as a way of keeping the community up to speed with actions taken to resolve crime and Anti-social behaviour in their community.

As well as the Community Safety Partnership, the panel were made aware that there was now an Integrated Community Safety and Prevention model. The model was designed to develop and implement integrated service delivery between key Council and Policing services with a focus on using a problem solving approach to reduce prolific and priority issues across Middlesbrough. The teams would adopt a holistic approach reducing duplication across multiple partners (statutory and voluntary) with a focus on prevention and streamlining the process for responding to the needs of victims or offenders/service users. A prolific or priority issues could be a victim, offender/service user or location and they are likely to be subject to intervention from a number of partners.


The new model was more person centred “team around” approach for the most prolific and priority people with multi complex needs. The services needs to ensure that the right information is shared at the right time between key partners and to coordinate involvement of appropriate partners at the earliest opportunity in the customer journey to prevent people from being stuck in the revolving door of crisis and complex needs; this may be support from Children’s services/ community safety partnership or Health and wellbeing Board. It has been proven if that we resolve an issue at the beginning of the journey, this prevents further issues down the line.


The panel were reminded of the town centre approach, which had been discussed in previous meeting, this had been hugely successful and had led to a number of outcomes, including:


  • 14 homeless individuals rehoused
  • 2 individuals received white goods, furniture and 4 individuals received clothing.
  • 6 individuals supported to move out of area (to be near family)
  • 6 individuals now receiving benefit entitlements
  • 2 now with registered GP, 2 pending & 1 accompanied to Freeman Hospital
  • 7 referred to Big Issue for employment, 1 referred to MIMA
  • 14 referrals to other agencies i.e. CGL, DISC, Community Campus
  • 24 signed Acceptable Behaviour Contracts
  • 3 Criminal Behaviour Orders granted
  • Survey results - 30 businesses reported decrease (initially 7% to 60%)

The officers outlined that without the multi-agency approach, this would not have happened, as even working with on individual cam have a massive impact within the community and reduce crime and disorder.

Finally, the good news stories from the JAGs were shared with the Panel. In JAG1 - Westbourne Park, Linthorpe, they had been experiencing youth anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, bricking taxi windows along Acklam Road and fire setting in the play area.

The issues were raised at the JAG by the Neighbourhood Safety Officers and officer due to increased complaints from members of the public and taxi drivers. The JAG developed a site visit group which included; Ward Members, Youth Provision, Fire Brigade, Police, Neighbourhood Safety Officers and Area Care.


The following outcomes were as follows:


  • Overgrown bushes were cut back to increase visibility
  • litter bin was installed,
  • rapid deployment camera was installed to identify perpetrators.
  • Letter drop and door knock were carried out within the area to encourage incident reporting.
  • Late night patrols and Youth Outreach Work was carried out.
  • CCTV captured incidents and names were provided by local residents, resulting in 3 youths being prosecuted for criminal damage, others were visited by Police & Council Officers and warnings/ ABCs were conducted.
  • Safe in Tees Valley also agreed to conduct outreach youth provision twice a week, and
  • Local residents and Ward Members reported significant reduction in ASB and reported incidents to Police reduced substantially.

Following the presentation, members questioned how officers publicised the JAG’s and success stories from these.


The officers stated that all members had been invited to the JAG meetings via an outlook invitation and any changes to these meetings would be automatically updated on the invitation.


In terms of outcomes from the JAGs, the Head of Stronger Communities stated that outcomes were shared within the Executive Member report to Council (Executive member for Culture and Communities), however there needed to be better communication with members and that a newsletter would be produced and circulated. This information could then be shared with the public if members saw fit.

The Chair thanked the officers for their presentation.


Agreed as follows:


That the information provided be noted.







The panel agreed that they would receive an update on the progress of the final report regarding Middlesbrough Community Learning, however the main focus on the meeitng would centre around the next scrutiny investigation- The Council’s partnership working with Voluntary Community Sector (VCS). It was agreed that Mark Davies, Chief Executive of Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency (MVDA) would be invited to the next meeting.

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