Council Minutes

Council Minutes

Date:
Tuesday 18 December 2012
Time:
7:00 p.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

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

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

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
12/66 PETITIONS

The Deputy Mayor, on behalf of the Council received a petition with 2,300 signatures requesting that Hemlington Library be saved from closure and a petition with over 100 signatures requesting that alternative options be considered in respect of Ayresome Industries. 

 

The lead petitioner in respect of Hemlington Library addressed the Council stressing the importance of its current use which extended beyond that of a library to a well-used community facility and gave an indication of the willingness of 20 volunteers to assist with the running of the library.

 

The campaign manager with the Community Union addressed the Council and spoke in support of Ayresome Industries and suggested the need to diversify in an endeavour to secure its future. 

 

The Deputy Mayor acknowledged receipt of the petitions which would be the subject of further discussion as part of the Mayor’s statement on the 2013/2014 budget proposals.
 

ORDERED that the petitions be received, noted and forwarded for consideration as part of the budget consultation exercise.
 

12/67 2013/2014 BUDGET

Further to the meeting of the Council held on 22 October 2012 the Mayor presented a further statement which focussed on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement; a summary of the budget consultation feedback; the original 111 proposed budget cuts and details of those which were intended to be made into recommendations or to be changed; further proposed cuts in order to achieve a further £2.4m of savings required for 2013/14; and the Council Tax.

 

The Mayor reaffirmed the original budget proposals with the exception of those which had been changed as outlined which together formed part of the budget process for the financial year 2013/2014 and beyond.

 

The Mayor stated that in the majority of cases, he had sought to protect frontline services and, where possible, ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable would still be met. An assurance was given that the impact of all recommendations would be fully assessed and where necessary, endeavours would be made to mitigate any disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups.

 

WELLBEING, CARE AND LEARNING

 

1. Commission out some of the support services to schools that we currently provide directly, based upon school led priorities for improvement, which will save £225,000.

2. Merge the Children Centres and Youth Support Services Teams, which will save £500,000.

3. Reduce the support costs for the Children’s Safeguarding Service, which will save £53,000.

4. Reduce the operating costs of the School Meals and Catering Service, which will save £50,000

5. Streamline the welfare rights services and develop partnerships with other financial advice services in the town, which will save £25,000.

6. Reduce the management costs of the Mental Health Service, which will save £60,000.

7. Reduce the number of Older Persons’ Day Care Centres from three to one, which will save £140,000.

8. Reduce staffing within Learning Disabilities Day Services as people choose to use their personal budgets for other activities, which will save £50,000.

9. Commission out the Learning Disability Community Support services, which will save £40,000.

10. Reduce the use of agency and bank staff in the Supervised Contact Service for Looked after Children, which will save £10,000.

11. Cease school clothing grants, which will save £13,000.

12. Reduce travel costs for social workers through the use of purchase cards, which will save £15,000.

13. Reduce the costs of Workforce Development within Adult Social Care, which will save £90,000.

14. Create a single commissioning unit to reduce the cost of purchasing care, which will save £75,000.

15. Reduce Family Placement Panel meetings, from weekly to bi-weekly, which will save £13,000.

16. Consolidate Children’ Services Information Technology systems removing the need for two software packages, which will save £9,000.

17. Recharge neighbouring authorities for the provision of some family support services within Gleneagles, which will generate income of £10,000.

18. Introduce a charge to the Health Service for the care management of people with an identified health need, which will generate income of £50,000.

19. Increase the residential care charge clients pay by an amount equal to pension increases, which will generate income of £22,000.

20. Provide more beds in local Children’s Homes to reduce the number of out of area placements, which will save £226,000.
21. Create a single point of contact for Adult and Children’s Social Care services, which will save £40,000.

22. Create a shared Tees Valley service for public health, which will save £60,000.
23. Increase the rates of awards for continuing health care, which will save £100,000.

24. Renegotiate the costs and provision of Learning Disability day services at Upsall Hall, which will save £101,000.

25. Transfer the charge for managing direct payment allowances from the Council to those receiving direct payments, which will save £120,000.

26. Reduce the level of support to failed Asylum Seekers, which will save £30,000.

27. Close Sunningdale Mental Health Residential Home and purchase beds from the private sector, which will save £125,000.

28. Reduce the costs of high cost residential care placements for adults, which will save £180,000.

29. Reduce residential care costs through a more effective use of the Intermediate Care Centre, which will save £20,000.

30. Increase in-house fostering and reduce placement fees for looked after children, which will save £340,000.

31. Reduce the level and cost of residential placements for looked after children, which will save £570,000.

32. Cease providing employment support advice to those receiving social care and redirect individuals to other external employment support advisors, which will save £50,000.

33. Stop using external agencies to research Adult Social Care service options, which will save £15,000.

34. Reduce services that help people in their homes such as housing wardens and carelink services, which will save £200,000.

35. Secure alternative funding to transport children with special needs to the Cleveland Unit, which will save £58,000.

36. Cease providing transport to school due to a temporary disability on medical grounds, which will save £5,000.

37. Cease providing the Teen Mover pass for half fares on all bus services, which will save £119,000.

38. Provide transport support for foster care children, currently by taxi, through alternative means, which will save £35,000.

39. Provide home to school transport support for children with Special Education Needs through alternative means, which will save £134,000.

40. Cease providing Dial a Ride transport for people with difficulties in using public transport, which will save £60,000.

41. Commission out transport to Day Care Centres and stop using Council mini buses, which will save £230,000.
42. Close the Ayresome Industries factory, which produces UPVC goods and road brushes utilising disabled employees, which will save £180,000.

I now recommend that this proposal is deferred.

 

NEIGHBOURHOODS AND COMMUNITIES

 

43. Restructure the Strategic Asset Management Team, which will save £72,000.

44. Undertake a merger of property related functions and services across the Council, which will save £250,000.

45. Increase mobile working and rationalise accommodation across the Council, which will save £350,000.

46. Reduce Council costs through the sale of surplus properties, which will save £125,000.

47. Charge to the capital programme the staffing costs for regeneration projects, which will save £140,000.

48. Reduce services and supplies within Neighbourhoods and Communities, which will save £74,000.

49. Further rationalise community buildings and centres, which will save £75,000.

50. Transfer the operation of Newham Grange Leisure Farm to a third party, which will save £30,000.

51. Merge Environment, Community Protection and Regeneration services, which will save £623,000.

52. Reduce Public Health improvement funding, which will save £10,000.

53. Delete the vacant Student Environmental Health Officer post, which will save £18,000.

54. Cease all but statutory and commercial metrology, which will save £6,000.

55. Commission and charge to the capital programme the staffing costs in relation to the Staying Put Agency, which will save £50,000.

56. Delete the vacant post within the Sustainability Team, which will save £36,000.

57. Reconfigure Highways and Transportation structures, which will save £125,000.

58. Restructure the Planning Development Division, which will save £84,000.

59. Merge the Town Centre Team within Economic Development, which will save £70,000.

60. Reduce library back office support and management costs, which will save £25,000.

61. Reduce the book fund, which will save £42,000.

62. Close Hemlington Library, which will save £64,000.

I now recommend that this should now be withdrawn.

63. Reduce Librarian Services, which will save £22,000.

64. Cease providing the CCTV service, which will save £150,000.

I now recommend that this should be withdrawn.
65. Further reduce litter picking, street cleansing, grass cutting and horticultural resources, which will save £125,000.

66. Delete one vacant post from the Food Safety and Food Standards Team, which will save £40,000.

67. Reduce spend on Emergency Planning, which will save £14,000.

68. Reduce the number of tests undertaken by Trading Standards, which will save £12,000.

69. Reducing costs within the kerbside recycling contract, which will save £100,000.

70. Relocate the Laboratory and Traffic Signals’ services to the Central Depot, which will save £50,000.

71. Introduce alternative enforcement arrangements for parking, which will save £80,000.

72. Reduce staffing within the Sports Development Team, which will save £60,000.

73. Further reduce, by natural wastage, school crossing patrols, which will save £18,000.

74. Further reduce Environment Services’ education and marketing related budgets, which will save £50,000.

75. Remove the Community Council Environment budgets, which will save £75,000.

76. Buy out the wheeled bin lease when it expires, which will save £120,000.

77. Cease the Green Waste collection service, which will save £300,000.

I now recommend that this should now be withdrawn.

78. Cease grant funding to the voluntary group UNITE, which will save £14,000.

79. Reduce grant funding to St. Mary’s Centre by 50%, which will save £12,500.

80. Cease grant funding to the North of England Refugee Service which will save £9,900. The Council will however work with the organisation to help reduce its accommodation costs.

81. Cease grant funding to Tees Valley Arts, which will save £5,000.

82. Cease grant funding to Families Talking, which will save £5,000.

83. Cease grant funding to the Women’s Support Network, which will save £10,000.

84. Restructure grant and other funding to Harbour, reducing by around 5%, which will save £10,000.

85. Reduce grant funding to the Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency by around 10%, which will save £5,000.

86. Reduce grant funding to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau by around 5%, which will save £5,000.

87. Cease funding for the Shopmobility scheme, which will save £40,000.

88. Reduce evening, morning and weekend bus services contracted by the Council, which will save £82,000.

I now recommend that this should stand but on a point of clarification the £82,000 saving will be achieved through withdrawing funding for the weekday evening and Sunday services 627 (serving Nunthorpe and Marton) and 631/632 (serving Saltersgill and Longlands).

89. Reduce costs and increase income so that the subsidy associated with organising the 5k and10k road races are reduced, which will save of £30,000.

 

SUPPORT TO SERVICES AND MANAGERS

 

In respect of support services provided centrally, within Departments and by the Mouchel Partnership:

90. Streamline the support to services and managers including the standardisation of business processes and the removal of internal trading, which will save £350,000.

91. Simplify procurement processes, which will save £150,000.

92. Replace a paper based expenses and car mileage claim system with an electronic based system, which will save £50,000.

 

CHIEF EXECUTIVE / ASSISTANT CHIEF EXECUTIVE

 

93. Streamline senior management, which will save £156,000.

94. Reduce supplies and services across the Council, which will save £220,000.

95. Streamline support staff across the Council for Information Technology and Management Services, which will save £100,000.

96. Reduce staffing in the Executive Office, which will save £10,000.

97. Reduce corporate policy support, which will save £30,000.

98. Reduce trade union facility time, which will save £40,000.

I now recommend that this should be withdrawn.

99. Reduce the costs of the Press Office, which will save £10,000.

100. Streamline administrative processes, which will save £50,000.

 

STRATEGIC RESOURCES

 

101. Reduce staffing in the Accountancy and Financial Planning Teams, within Strategic Resources, which will save £60,000.

102. Reduce supplies and services within Strategic Resources, which will save £32,000.

103. Reduce subscriptions and external agency payments, within Strategic Resources, which will save £30,000.

104. Reduce external audit fees, which will save £76,000.

105. Additional external grant support and contributions from public sector partners, which will save £1.2m.

106. Revise the court cost recovery fees for Council Tax and Non Domestic Rates, in line with the Teesside average, which will raise additional income of £145,000.

 

LEGAL AND DEMOCRATIC

 

107. Reduce staffing within Legal Services, which will save £50,000.

108. Reduce spending on the political assistants posts, which will save £15,000.

109. Reconfigure the Members’ one-stop shop service, which was proposed to save £20,000.

I now recommend that the saving should be reduced to £12,000.

110. Freeze Members’ Allowances, which will save £5,000.

111. Streamline staffing for scrutiny support, which will save £50,000.

I now recommend that this should be withdrawn.

 

In the light of Government statements and based on current assumptions the Mayor referred to the need to identify additional savings of £2.4m and outlined the following further 22 proposals which would again be the subject to consultation.

WELLBEING, CARE AND LEARNING

 

1. Revise the terms and conditions for Integrated Youth Service Staff, which will save £50,000.

2. Revise the terms and conditions for the Family Resource and Home Support Teams, which will save £50,000.

3. Additional savings in the current year within the Supported People Service, including procurement and efficiency savings, which has achieved savings of £200,000.

4. Secure additional income from amendments made to fairer funding that will generate £300,000.

5. Secure additional funding towards the purchase of equipment for people with physical needs, which will save £60,000.

6. Achieve additional savings from external contributions and grants within Social Care, which will save £350,000.

 

COUNCIL WIDE

 

7. Move all staff to plain time rates of pay, which will save £125,000.

8. Remove all essential car user allowances, which will save £87,000.

9. Introduce charges for staff car parking, which will save £200,000.

 

STRATEGIC RESOURCES

 

10. Achieve additional savings from revenue financing costs, which will save £200,000.

11. Secure administrative savings through the delivery of the new Social Fund, which will save £21,000.

 

NEIGHBOURHOODS AND COMMUNITIES

 

12. Further reduce the Book Fund, which will save £50,000.

13. Further reduce litter picking, street cleansing, grass cutting and horticultural resources, which will save £150,000.

14. Secure alternative funding for staffing costs within the Active Travel Service, which will save £50,000.

15. Reduce cleaning and security costs, which will save £76,000.

16. Increase Concessionary Fares for pre 9.30am journeys to half fare, which will save £25,000.

17. Increase the Transporter Bridge charges from £1.30 to £1.50, which will generate additional income of £6,000.

18. Reduce our contribution to the Joint Tees Valley Transport Unit, which will save £23,000.

19. Reduce opening and weekend hours by 12 hours at the Southlands Centre, which will save £50,000.

20. Achieve savings from more efficient purchasing arrangements, which will save £26,000.

21. Secure efficiency savings from the integration of Environment, Community Protection and Regeneration services, which will save £200,000.

22. Reduce costs as a result of the `weekly bin` grant funding from Government, which will save £75,000.

 

In terms of the changes to the original proposals the Mayor gave detailed explanatory comments in respect of Ayresome Industries, Hemlington Library, Green Waste and CCTV.

 

It was noted that further reports had been requested in relation to Ayresome Industries on the various matters raised which together with any other issues considered relevant arising from visits to a similar facility in Glasgow would be considered further.

 

In relation to Hemlington Library a significant number of people had commented and submitted reasoned arguments about the impact of such a closure on the local community. Considerable support had been shown for practical alternatives to closure, which would still enable savings to be made, including the use of volunteers.

 

Instead the Mayor stated that he would now ask the local community to get involved, and with their support he very much hoped that Hemlington Library would move to a volunteer-supported service in 2013/14.

 

With regard to green waste, it was confirmed that Officers had been successful in securing additional external funding to not only continue, but to enhance service provision in the future which would not only enhance the Council's recycling rates but also generate further revenue savings in waste disposal and related budgets of £75,000.

 

Reference was made to the significant contribution of CCTV to the protection and wellbeing of the community 24 hours a day and supporting the police and Council services providing reassurance to residents and businesses. The Mayor considered it essential to seek service efficiencies and improvements both internally and in consultation with neighbouring Authorities which also included the need to explore and introduce alternative methods of delivery where considered appropriate.

 

In overall terms it was confirmed that there would be a five-week consultation period ending on 25 January 2013 and thereafter a final set of budget recommendations for 2013/2014 would be presented.

 

Members’ attention was drawn to next year’s level of Council Tax. Central Government had indicated that any Council Tax increase in excess of 2% should be subject to a referendum which was a costly process and resulted in a high level of uncertainty to residents and the Council. The Mayor stated that the Council should not set a Council Tax increase in excess of 2% and taking into account a number of factors as outlined indicated that the freeze grant should not be accepted and that the Council Tax should increase up to 2%. It was suggested that such an important issue should be debated further at a meeting of the Council to be held in January 2013.

 

Members referred to a number of factors which had impacted on the current overall economic situation and reiterated their concern at the reduced level of Government funding and the difficult task in implementing significant budget reductions in a Town which had high levels of social deprivation and other factors such as an ageing population and increased number of people with complex needs.

 

Members spoke in support of a number of changes to the original budget proposals with particular regard to Hemlington Library, Ayresome Industries, CCTV and maintaining the good relationship with the trade unions.

 

ORDERED as follows:

 

1. That the proposals as outlined above be noted.

 

2. That the issues highlighted regarding the level of Council Tax be considered further at a meeting of the Council to be held on 9 January 2013.

 


 

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