Council Minutes

Council Minutes

Wednesday 20 February 2013
7:00 p.m.
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

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

There were no declarations of interest made at this point of the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution

The Minutes of the meeting of Middlesbrough Council held on 9 January 2013 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


There were no announcements or communications.


The Mayor focussed on a number of key issues in his full statement a copy of which had previously been circulated to Members. The statement reaffirmed the 2013/2014 budget proposals which amounted to £12.6 million of savings and gave an update with regard to the current position in respect of Ayresome Industries.


At the time of the Government's announcement of austerity measures in October 2010 it was believed that the Council would be required to find savings of approximately £50 million. Owing to slow economic growth and further public borrowing such a figure had risen to at least £73 million. In addition to the £12.6 million budget cuts for 2013/2014 it was considered likely that further savings amounting to £32 million would have to be found in 2014/2015 to 2015/2016.


Over the past two and half years there had been 549 job reductions with potentially a further 174 jobs in 2013/2014 and an estimated 600 posts in the following two years. 


Of particular concern was emerging evidence such as the findings of a recent study by the Association of North East Councils relating to local grant settlements for Councils in the North East which were shown to be disproportionate given the areas of higher deprivation in comparison with more affluent councils in areas of the South. The Mayor indicated that from the cuts so far the Town had lost £251 per head of population in Government support in comparison with Elmridge, Surrey having lost £46 per head.


Members concurred with the Mayor's sentiments and referred to the disproportionate funding which was considered unfair given the current position of Middlesbrough.


In terms of the specific budget proposals a Member expressed disappointment and referred to the potential implications of the proposal to move all staff to plain time rates of pay. In response the Mayor confirmed that such a proposal would be subject to consultation with the Trade Unions.


It was confirmed that the 2013/2014 budget proposals together with subsequent feedback would be considered by the Executive at its meeting to be held on 21 February 2013 and the Revenue Budget would be finalised by Council at its meeting to be held on 4 March 2013.




The Chair invited Members to raise items for general discussion arising from the Information Booklet of Executive Member reports (previously circulated) 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 (Sections 3 and 4).


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


(a) Budget Matters


A Member commented on a conference recently held in Liverpool which highlighted growing inequalities and referred to other recent studies which demonstrated the likely impact of Welfare Reforms. Specific reference was made to recently published research which included the Institute for Fiscal Studies which had estimated that a further 400,000 children would be forced into poverty by 2015. 


The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources referred to a recent meeting of the Health and Well Being Board which had given some consideration to the potential impact of Welfare Reforms. Child poverty continued to rise in the North East with four in ten Middlesbrough children living below poverty with such levels rising to 40%.


 (b) Winter Maintenance


The Executive Member for Environment acknowledged the positive comments of Members regarding the excellent work carried out by Streetscene during the period of severe weather conditions. It was confirmed that such comments and the expressions of appreciation from members of the public which had been received would be passed onto the relevant staff.


(c) The Change Programme


In response to clarification sought from a Member the Executive Member for the Change Programme confirmed that in the light of resources available to the Council continuing to decline the current focus of attention had been on the core activities of the Council to ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness. The principles around securing a living wage for Council Officers and employees were an important part of the overall process.




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.


Members' attention was drawn to the work undertaken by the Board in respect the Boundary Commission, Electoral Review 2013.




There were no urgent items to report.


There were no questions for this meeting.


Council received and considered a report introduced by the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources which sought approval of the 2013/2014 Pay Policy Statement as outlined in Appendix 1 of the report submitted in accordance with the Localism Act 2011. The statement set out details of the Council’s senior officer management and pay structures.


Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the Pay Policy Statement be approved.


Council received and considered a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services in relation to the Boundary Commission, Electoral Review 2013 which outlined the findings, considerations and recommendations of the Overview and Scrutiny Board regarding the future warding pattern of Middlesbrough.


 Based on the methodology set out by the Commission a projected electorate for 2018 of 101,559 had been agreed with the Commission and the Council view that the Council size should reduce from 48 elected Members to 46 elected Members plus the elected Mayor had subsequently been accepted.


In order to provide more meaningful opportunities for democratic participation by all Members the Overview and Scrutiny Board had managed the development of the Council's submission. The Board met on a weekly basis and organised workshops for all Members. The Board had received presentations on potential proposals from the Labour Group, the Conservative Group, the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors' Association and also Councillor Williams. The Labour Group proposals had subsequently been supported by the Board on the basis that they most accurately reflected community identity and the best fit in terms of electoral equality.


The Labour Group proposals adopted a radical re-warding of the Town comprising 23 wards all of which were two member wards with the exception of 1 three member ward and 1 one member ward. All of the proposed wards were within +/- 10% of the optimum elector/Councillor ratio and 18 were within the +/-5% preferred by the Board.


Councillor Williams referred to alternative proposals for 22 wards all of which had variances between -6.13% and +6.06%. and expressed concerns at the overall process in terms of the matter not being fully debated at a Council meeting and of the subsequent proposals in the preferred option by the Board. Of particular note was the proposed break up of the current boundaries of the Marton West Ward and impact on the Hemlington Ward. Concerns were also expressed in relation to the southern section of East Middlesbrough and the use of Cambridge Road and not Green Lane and Emerson Avenue as a ward boundary in Linthorpe.


Several Members concurred with the sentiments expressed by Councillor Williams and outlined objections to the proposals. Members acknowledged the hard work undertaken by Councillor Williams in submitting alternative proposals but reiterated the need to take a whole Town approach in accordance with the Boundary Commission's criteria. 


Moved, seconded and following a vote it was ORDERED that the Council adopts the warding pattern for the Town; the numbers of Members representing each of these wards; and the boundaries for the wards, as indicated in the report submitted: and that these recommendations are forwarded to the Local Government Boundary Commission as the Council's submission to the Commission's consultation.


Council received and considered a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services confirming the receipt of the resignation of Councillor P. Purvis as Chair of the Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel.


Nominations were sought for appointment to such a vacancy and resulting vacancy on the Overview and Scrutiny Board.


Moved, seconded and ORDERED that Councillor J Sharrocks be appointed Chair of the Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel and by virtue of the position replace Councillor P Purvis on the Overview and Scrutiny Board.


Council received and considered a report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services which sought approval to the schedule of indicative Council committee meeting dates for the Municipal Year 2013/2014, as detailed in the Appendix to the report submitted.


It was also recommended that with the exception of the following, ordinary meetings of the Council be designated as meetings at which written questions from members of the public may be considered:-


  • Monday 3 March 2014 (Budget/Council Tax Setting)
  • Wednesday 15 May 2013 and 14 May 2014 (Annual Meeting of the Council). 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the schedule of Council meeting dates for the 2013/2014 Municipal Year as set out in the Appendix to the report submitted be approved.

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