Council Minutes

Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday 4 July 2012
Time:
7:00 p.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Lowes (In the Chair); R Mallon, The Mayor, Councillors Arundale, Biswas, Brunton, Budd, Carr, Cole, Coppinger, Cox, Hanif, Harvey, Hawthorne, C Hobson, J Hobson, Hussain, Junier, Kerr, P Khan, S Khan, Mawston, McPartland, McTigue, Morby, Pearson, G Purvis, P Purvis, Rehman, Rooney, Rostron, Sanderson, Saunders, P Sharrocks, Taylor, Thompson, N J Walker and Williams.
Officers:
M Braithwaite, A Hoy, J Lewis, R G Long, G Rollings and M Storey
Apologies for absence:
Bloundele, Brady, Clark, Davison, Hubbard, Hudson, Lancaster, McIntyre, Michna, J Sharrocks and J A Walker.
Declarations of interest:

There were no declarations of interest for this meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
12/14 MINUTES

The minutes of the previous meetings held on 16 May 2012 and 20 June 2012 were taken as read and approved as correct records subject to the addition of Councillor Junier to the list of those present on 20 June 2012.

12/15 ANNOUNCEMENTS/COMMUNICATIONS

COUNCILLOR BLOUNDELE

 

The Chair extended the best wishes of the Council to Councillor Bloundele and wished him a speedy recovery following his recent operation.
 

COUNCILLOR KERR - ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY

 

Further to the previous meeting at which the Mayor reported on the recent spate of verbal against elected members and on the physical attacks on property owned by some Councillors. As Councillor Kerr had not been able to attend the meeting he asked for leave to extend his thanks to all concerned for the expressions of sympathy and solidarity received following the incidents.
NOTED

 

IAN PARKER - CHIEF EXECUTIVE - RETIREMENT

 

The Chair reported on the recent early retirement of Ian Parker, Chief Executive. Members thanked Mr Parker for his service as Chief Executive over the last three years and in his previous role as Executive Director of Environment. Members’ wishes for a long and healthy retirement were extended to him.

 

The Chair also took the opportunity to welcome to the meeting prospective interim Chief Executive, Gill Rollings. Ms Rollings appointment was subject to formal Council approval later in the meeting.

 NOTED

 

MIDDLESBROUGH MELA / CLEVELAND SHOW

 

The Chair reported that due to recent adverse weather conditions arrangements for the above events would be changed. Middlesbrough Mela to be held on 14 and 15 July would proceed at an alternative venue moving from Albert Park to Centre Square.

 

The wet weather conditions had rendered the grounds of Stewart Park unsuitable to accommodate the usual heavy traffic for the Cleveland Show. In order not to risk causing any lasting damage to the Park, particularly following recent refurbishment work carried out in the park, alternative sites had been considered including, the previously used Prissick site. As alternative sites were considered to be equally unsuitable, the show organisers had therefore reluctantly agreed to cancel the event.
NOTED

 

12/16 MAYOR'S STATEMENT AND REPORT

The Mayor reported on the future funding situation for the Council in which further unprecedented budget cuts of almost £12m would need to be made during 2013/14. There would also be a need to make similar significant levels of savings over a much longer term. It was crucial that key factors that would influence future budgets were identified and also how they may impact on Middlesbrough over the short, medium and longer terms.

The whole financial background to funding had changed and the financial outlook for the Council was bleak.

 

The deficit was the single largest issue facing the country. A pre-requisite for tackling the deficit was economic growth, however reading predictions from economic experts showed that recovery would take considerably longer than predicted. The Council had initially expected to make savings of £50m, this in addition to the loss of £8.9m from the termination of the Working Neighbourhood Fund.

 

In 2011/12 the Council achieved savings of £13.8m. In 2012/13 a further £13.8m is required. For subsequent years, 2013/14 £11.9m and 2014/15 and £10.8m would be required. The Mayor now also predicted that a further £9.9m would also be required bringing the overall total to £60m.

 

The Council would need to look to safeguard finances, ensure that the Council was fit for purpose, safeguard children and protect vulnerable people and examine other working priorities including Western Gateway, the skills agenda, employment and apprenticeships and threats that would impact on both the country and the town. These included: the deficit, economic growth, impact from the Eurozone, inflation, oil prices, national financial ratings (retain the present triple A rating), interest rates, the banking and financial services system.

 

The Council would shrink, job losses would be required and some services would no longer be provided. There would be greater focus on priorities so that they equal the money available. Budget planning would be required for the longer term not just the usual three year forecasting.

 

Details of the proposed consultation and approval timescales were reported. The Mayor urged Members to consider and submit suggested high value proposals that would achieve an additional £1m budget saving for the coming financial year. Members generally agreed that in order to achieve the required savings all political groups would need to work together and with residents for the benefit of the town. Potential areas for savings in a number of areas were also suggested.
NOTED
 

12/17 DEPUTY MAYOR AND EXECUTIVE MEMBER REPORTS

The Chair invited Members to raise items for general discussion arising from the Information Booklet of Executive Member reports (previously circulated) and which detailed activities carried out within the respective Executive Member portfolios (Section 1), Executive decisions taken (Section 2) or to be taken where known, prior to and following the meeting (Section 3 and 4).

 

Members commented or posed questions in relation to the following matters and Executive Members responded accordingly:-

 

(a) Engineering/Manufacturing Support Programme - The Executive Member for Regeneration responded to comments welcoming the assistance provided by the support programme. It was hoped that finance could be made available to continue with the programme which would assist in helping to provide high quality jobs in the engineering/manufacturing sectors.

 

(b) Torch Relay - In response to a Members express disappointment at the lack of publicity for the Olympic Torch Relay and the link to the memorial stone for Jack Hatfield on of Middlesbrough’s former Olympic medal winners, the Mayor explained that discussion had taken place with the Hatfield family but that due to ill health within the family it had not been possible to progress the laying of the stone to link it to the torch relay event. On-going discussions with the Hatfield family members were progressing with a view to making progress for a future event.

 

(c) Local Academy Research Project - The Executive Member for Children, Families and Learning responded to concerns regarding misleading press comments relating to the outcome of a research project conducted with a number of local authorities across the country by ISOS. The comments made by the Secretary of State for Education suggested that schools in Middlesbrough and Leeds were amongst the worst performing local authorities in the country and would be amongst those who would be forced to move to become privately sponsored academies.

 

The executive member explained that the comments emanated from a minor paragraph in a research project conducted by the DfE and LGA on the role of the council in education. He refuted the comments made which were felt to be damaging, irresponsible and unjustified and there had been no figures or statistics had been provided by DfE to back up the statement.

 

A number of Middlesbrough schools were already working toward the move to academy status, this would include 3 primary schools from September, 2 secondary schools at a later date and with a further 8 schools in discussions regarding similar possibilities. In addition, Pallister Park Primary School, one of the few schools in the country, had been designated teaching school status by the DfE / National College for School Leadership; 20 primary schools were already working in alliance with the Council acting as strategic partner; 74% of Middlesbrough’s schools had matched national standards; the rate of improvement at key stage 2 was above average and 75% of schools had been judged to be outstanding or good.

 

(d) Stewart Park Restoration - The Executive Member for Regeneration was asked by a Ward Member to pass on to staff thanks and appreciation for their hard work in helping to make improvements to the park which were appreciated by many visitors to the park.
NOTED
 

12/18 OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY REPORT

Council received and considered a report submitted by the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board outlining the work of the Board and Scrutiny Panels and highlighting the future work programmes for the scrutiny panels.

NOTED

Budget and Policy Framework Reports
12/19 STRATEGIC PLAN 2012/2013

Council received and considered the final draft 2012/2013 Strategic Plan, which formed part of the Council’s Policy Framework.

 

The plan was the Council’s overarching plan, derived from departmental business plans and the Council’s emerging transformation programme. The plan outlined for each service area: headline performance measures, standards and targets; and major improvement activity for the coming year and beyond. It provided the basis for the corporate performance management framework by which progress could be monitored on a quarterly basis.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the 2012/2013 Strategic Plan is approved.
 

12/20 URGENT ITEMS

APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE

The Director of Legal and Democratic Services reported verbally that the Chief Officer Appointments Committee held on 28 June 2012 agreed details for the appointment to the vacancy of Chief Executive and recommended to Council that Gill Rollings, Director of Children, Families and Learning, currently Acting Chief Executive, be appointed Interim Chief Executive for a period of 12 to 24 months.

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that Gill Rollings be appointed as Interim Chief Executive.

12/21 MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME

There were no questions.

12/22 NOTICE OF MOTION - NO. 103 - CITIES FIT FOR CYCLING

A notice of motion in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 11 was give by Councillor Michna. In view of Councillor Michna’s unavoidable absence it was agreed that the matter be deferred to the next meeting.

 

Moved, Seconded and ORDERED that consideration of the above motion be deferred to the next meeting.
 

12/23 NOTICE OF URGENT MOTION

There were no urgent motions.

Business Reports
12/24 TEESSIDE PENSION FUND AND INVESTMENT PANEL - ANNUAL REPORT 2011

In furtherance of the Governance and Communications Policy Statements recommended by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountancy (CIPFA) the Council as administering authority received a report of the Teesside Pension Fund and Investment Panel.

 

The value of the Fund had fallen from £2.57 billion as at 31 March 2011 to £2.44 billion as at 31 December 2011.

 

The Fund’s Investment Advisors continued to favour growth assets, such as equities and property over protection assets such as bonds and cash and recommended increased allocation to those sectors over the last year.

 

The Fund Actuary undertakes a full actuarial valuation every three years. This determines the extent to which the Fund’s liabilities are covered by assets. The latest valuation showed that at 31 March 2010 the funding level had risen to 99%. This meant that the Teesside Fund was the best funded of all the LGPS funds in England & Wales. Market conditions since the valuation was undertaken would have reduced the funding level.

In common with other public sector schemes, the Government was proposing significant reforms to the LGPS and had undertaken a consultation process. The Fund had submitted its response to the proposals and made other recommendations designed to promote a sustainable Scheme in the interests of Scheme members.

Reference was made to the excellent work and commitment of the small team of staff who managed the Teesside Pension Fund.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the report be approved.
 

Business Report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services
12/25 APPOINTMENT TO VACANCIES ON COMMITTEES

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:

 

1. That appointment to the following vacancies be approved:

 

Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel - Councillor Davison

Health Scrutiny Panel - Councillor S Khan

Teesside Pension Fund and Investment Panel - Councillor Brady

 

2. That nomination to vacancies on the following committees be deferred:

 

Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel
Children Families and Learning Scrutiny Panel
Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel
Teesside Pension Fund and Investment Panel
 

12/26 STANDARDS COMMITTEE - ROLE AND TERMS - CODE OF CONDUCT

At the annual meeting of the Council, pending the introduction of the new standards regime now required by the Localism Act 2011, Members re-established the Standards Committee in its original format. Corporate Affairs Committee on 22 June 2012 had subsequently agreed proposed new arrangements for the Standards Committee and for the establishment of a new Standards (Hearings) Sub-Committee. The new processes for dealing with future complaints against Members would take effect from 1 July 2012.

 

Under the new arrangements both the committee and sub-committee would now be politically balanced. Details of the proposed terms of reference for each committee, procedures for dealing with complaints and a copy of the recently adopted Code of Conduct were submitted.

 

The main committee would comprise 9 elected members and, if required, two parish councillors: 6 Labour; 1 Conservative; 1 Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association members and 1 spare place available for appointment by remaining councillors.

 

The sub-committee would comprise 5 elected members from the Standards Committee appointed on rota basis plus, if required, a parish councillor: 3 Labour; 2 Non Labour members.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:

 

1. That the following Members be appointed to the Standards Committee:

 

Councillors Brunton, Cox, C Hobson, Hudson, Hussain, P Purvis, Rostron, P Sharrocks and Taylor.

 

2. That membership of the Standards (Hearings) Sub-Committee comprise 3 Labour members and 2 non Labour members appointed from the Standards Committee membership on a rota basis, plus if required, 1 parish council representative.

 

3. That the terms of reference and Standards complaints procedures be approved.

 

4. That adoption of the Code of Conduct approved by Council on 16 May 2012 is reconfirmed.

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