Council Minutes

Council Minutes

Date:
Wednesday 2 July 2014
Time:
7:00 p.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

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

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

Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
14/17 INTRODUCTION

The Chair welcomed all Councillors, members of the public and reporters to the meeting and confirmed that in view of the agenda item relating to proposed changes to the Council’s Constitution regarding reporting he confirmed that he was happy to permit filming at the meeting, subject to adherence to the draft Code of Conduct.

 

Amy member of the public who did not want to be filmed was asked to sit on the bench seats to the left of the Council Chamber as indicated on the notices displayed.
 

14/18 MINUTES- COUNCIL 14 MAY 2014

The minutes of the meeting of Middlesbrough Council held on 14 May 2014 were submitted and approved as a correct record.

14/19 ANNOUNCEMENTS/COMMUNICATIONS

The Chair reported the receipt of an online petition to allow filming of public meetings, the subject of a separate report on the Summons for this meeting.

 

NOTED
 

14/20 SUSPENSION OF COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE NO 10 - ORDER OF BUSINESS

In accordance with paragraph 10.1 (c) of the Council Procedure Rules Members agreed to vary the order of business to deal agenda item 11 in relation to Filming of Council Meetings and the Code of Practice be considered as the next item of business in view of the subject matter.

14/21 FILMING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS - CODE OF PRACTICE

Council received and considered a report of the Executive Director of Commercial and Corporate Services regarding the adoption of a Council Code of Practice in relation to filming, photographing and making audio recordings of Council meetings to which the public have a right of access as outlined in Appendix A of the report submitted.

 

Reference was made to anticipated change in legislation which was expected to be effective from mid-July which would allow for the public to film public meetings of the Council.

 

It was reported that steps were being taken for the Council itself to film the proceedings of Council meetings and where feasible and practical to do so, other meetings which were open to the public. It was intended to then place the footage taken on the Council’s website for public viewing.

 

The report submitted together with the Code of Conduct had been considered by the Constitution and Member’s Development Committee at its meeting held on 24 June 2014 when the following recommendations had been agreed:-

 

(a) That the Council adopt the proposed Code of Conduct detailed at Appendix A;

 

(b) That the Assistant Director of Organisation and Governance be authorised to make the necessary consequential changes to the Constitution, in consultation with the Chair of the Council.

 

(c) That the Code of Conduct and procedures in relation to filming, photographing and making audio recordings of Council meetings to which the public have a right of access, be reviewed by the Constitution and Members’ Development Committee in six months’ time.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED that the recommendations of the Constitution and Member’s Development Committee at its meeting held on 24 June 2014 as outlined (a) to (c) be approved.


 

14/22 MAYOR'S STATEMENT AND REPORT

From the outset the Mayor indicated his intention to focus on the finances facing the Council at this time and by analysing the past try to understand the way forward for the Council.

 

As previously indicated October 2010 was regarded as the start of recent changes when the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his speech on the Comprehensive Spending Review the proposals from which he regarded as being too deep, too quick and too savage as all indicators showed that the Council would have to save approximately £50 million over a four year period.

 

Since that time figures had changed and over the past three and half years the Council had achieved savings of £60 million excluding £8.9 million WNF which had ceased. Additionally, between April 2015 and 2020 the Council would need to find further savings of £85.6million without mitigating actions so probably £65.5 million.

 

Members were reminded of the loss to date of 700 staff since 2010 and the likelihood of another 900 staff over the next three years hopefully by voluntary means and avoiding compulsory redundancies.

 

Like many other local authorities across the UK the Council faced many challenges and continuing change. As previously stated the main challenges facing the Council remained a declining budget and increased demand on adult social care (additional £1.9 million per year) given the rise in the elderly population and projected increase in the incidence of dementia, and looked after children (additional £2.3 million per year). Currently such services accounted for 53% of total budget but by 2020 it was expected to increase to 73%.

 

In order to demonstrate the likelihood of more difficult economic times ahead the Mayor gave an indication of the Government's intention with regard to the national deficit and public borrowing. Of concern was the extent of the source of funding to the Council to deal with its challenges. Percentage figures were given of the four main sources of Government Formula Grant (35%), Council Tax (21%), Business Rates (10%) and Fees and Charges (34%).

 

The Mayor stated that in order to deal with the current situation the way forward was to attract an increased population number to Middlesbrough resulting in an increased Government Formula Grant allocation and Council Tax and to ensure that the housing stock was more balanced. Comparative information was provided which showed that Band A to C properties in Middlesbrough accounted 87% of the total in comparison with the national average of 66%.

 

Reference was made to the Local Development Framework regarding the number of houses to be built up to 2029 and the need to increase the number of Band D properties but not excluding other Band properties. In view of the prevailing economic circumstances the Council had to be self-financing to a greater extent than before to safeguard the Town and meet increasing demands on services.

 

Members endorsed the Council's direction of travel and outlined the need to attract people to the Town not only by re-balancing the housing stock but emphasised the importance of investment in jobs and provision of good facilities such as schools, sport and theatre. The need for continued efforts in trying to influence the Government regarding the impact of high levels of deprivation together with declining budgets in comparison with other local authorities across the UK was acknowledged. In supporting the Local Development Framework Members referred to the importance of ensuring appropriate phasing of housing development.

 

The Mayor acknowledged the comments made and referred to continuing discussions with local businesses and common themes arising from such meetings with particular regard to the need for a robust planning regime and skilled workforce.

 

In relation to comments regarding the Local Development Framework with particular regard to the demolition of properties in Grove Hill and Gresham the Mayor referred to the reasons for pursing the proposals at Gresham mainly  to halt the number of people leaving town and buying houses elsewhere in the Tees area. The importance of achieving a balanced housing stock in Middlesbrough was re-iterated. 

14/23 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, 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 and posed questions in relation to the following matters and Executive Members responded where appropriate:-

 

(a) Devolution

 

Members referred to national politicians’ recent suggestions that a future government would devolve power to the regions to assist in tackling the cost of living crisis through better balance, sustainable growth and a higher skilled, higher waged economy. The creation of a National Investment Bank would assist businesses and ensure investment came to the north east and areas with high unemployment. In addition, the creation of not-for-profit lending organisations would tackle the issue of pay day lenders. The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Finance and Governance agreed with the comments made and added that through devolution, £30 million that was current spent centrally could be spent in local areas.

 

(b) Children Looked After

 

Reference was made to the number of Looked After Children in Middlesbrough which, as of June 2014, was 364. The Executive Member for Children’s Social Care agreed that austerity measures could be having an impact on the increasing number of Looked After Children and this was likely to continue. The Forum For Looked After Children co-ordinated corporate responsibility for the welfare of Middlesbrough children. Attention was also drawn to the reductions in under 18 conception rates in Middlesbrough which were the lowest since records began. The reductions were attributed to the change in approach to risk taking behaviour and a large amount of work by a number of different agencies. The Executive Member confirmed that she was also looking at the development of sexual relationship education in schools. It was also highlighted that the Government had provided additional funding for the recruitment of more adopters.

 

(c) Stewart Park - Grow Wild Project

 

The Friends of Stewart Park had submitted a bid to the Grow Wild Project and was on a shortlist of eight at the present time. Grow Wild was a project led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with the winning Park receiving up to £130,000 for education projects for 12 to 25 year olds. A public vote would be held between 1 and 21 October 2014 to determine which Park would become the flagship park for England. The Executive Member for Environment congratulated the Friends of Stewart Park for their hard work and commitment in preparing the bid and urged everyone to take part in the public vote.

 

(d) The Change Programme

 

The Executive Member for the Change Programme updated Members on current activity. The re-negotiation of the Council’s Partnership with Mouchel was approved by the Executive in June and it was anticipated that the new contract would provide £2.2 million in savings to the Council. A number of services would transfer back to the Council in 2015 including an estimated 280 staff. A new finance and HR system would be implemented in April 2014 as well as a new ICT contract. Additional reviews had been agreed within the Council to look at areas not previously covered with the intention to find as many savings as possible.


(e) MIMA

 

In relation to the transition of MIMA to Teesside University, the Mayor confirmed that he was not aware of any proposals to build on the lake in Centre Square. In discussion with the University it had been agreed that the MIMA brand, which was known world-wide, would not be compromised. It was possible that new building work would take place in Centre Square, and if it did, it would be sympathetic to the environment. The Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development clarified that the cost to the Council of maintaining MIMA was approximately £0.5 million per annum.

 

(f) Middlesbrough Mela

 

Members paid tribute to the Council, Events Team and other sponsors who supported the Mela. The annual celebration of music, dance, fashion and culture had been very successful with over 30,000 people attending over the weekend. The Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development added his thanks to the organisers and all the staff involved in this fantastic community event.

 

(g) Armed Forces Day

 

It was reported that the Armed Forces Day on 21 June 2014 had also been a great success and thanks were given to the organisers. 

 

(g) Newport Road Bus Priority Measures/Camera Enforcement of Bus Lanes

 

Responding to a Member’s comment that the new measures were not welcome, the Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development explained that the improvements were designed to ease traffic flow and improve public transport. With regard to the enforcement camera, it was clarified that for the first two weeks anyone not compliant with the new restrictions would receive a warning letter rather than a fine. 

 

(h) Reducing premature deaths in Middlesbrough

 

Following Members’ comments in relation to actions that needed to be taken to reduce the number of premature deaths in Middlesbrough, the Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health agreed that good progress was being made. The Executive Member voiced her concern that as more elements of the health service were privatised there would be a big impact on social care and public health.

 

(i)  LA OFSTED inspection

 

In response to a question regarding OFSTED’s requirement for better involvement of Elected Members in improving leadership in schools, the Executive Member for Education and Skills suggested that Ward Councillors could volunteer in schools and build relationships with pupils, staff and Headteachers. It was acknowledged that as a result of schools converting to academies, many no longer wished to appoint Local Authority Representatives. A School Effectiveness Strategy had been developed to address a number of areas highlighted by the OFSTED inspection including the quality of teaching and learning and encouraging schools to work together.

14/24 OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY BOARD

Council received and considered a report presented by the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board outlining the work of the Board and Scrutiny Panels.

 

Specific reference was made to the opportunity for the Board and the Scrutiny Panels to become involved with, and influence the future development of the Council’s Change Programme.

NOTED

14/25 URGENT ITEMS

There were no urgent items to report.

 

NOTED

14/26 MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME

There were no questions for this meeting.


NOTED
 

14/27 NOTICE OF MOTION NO. 112 - DURHAM TEES VALLEY AIRPORT

Council received Motion No. 112, moved by Councillor C Hobson and seconded by Councillor J Hobson of which notice had been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 9 as follows:-

 

'That in order to provide the best opportunity for the future commercial viability of Durham Tees Valley Airport we call upon Middlesbrough Council to support the retention of the Airport for passenger use by asking the Government to distribute some of the Regional Air Connectivity Fund. This funding is to be used to encourage airlines to start up new routes from regional airports. Durham Tees Valley has one of the longest runways in the UK and we should be utilising this not closing it down. Other regional airports are almost at full capacity, we should be encouraging Peel Airports in developing further the Passenger flights rather than turning companies away. The council recognises the role of airports in creating employment, investment and attracting businesses to the Tees Valley region.

 

As Labour's own aviation white paper in Government said, one of the key issues in the North of England is support for extensions to both terminal facilities and runway length, and enhancements to the existing taxiway system at Durham Tees Valley Airport, to be provided within existing airport land.

 

We ask the council to support this motion as this could be the best opportunity to save the airport in its current form.'

 

The following amendment was moved by Councillor Budd and seconded by Councillor Rooney:-

 

' That in order to provide the best opportunity for the future commercial viability of Durham Tees Valley Airport we call upon Middlesbrough Council to support the retention of the Airport for passenger use by asking the Government to distribute some of the Regional Air Connectivity Fund.

 

The Council will write to the Government to confirm our support to Durham Tees Valley Airport and to urge the Government to return funding and decisions making to a more local level.'

 

The amended Motion became the substantive motion and the Motion was put to the vote.

 

On a vote being taken the substantive motion was APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY.

14/28 COUNCIL COMMITTEES - MEMBERSHIP 2014/2015

Council received and considered a report of the Assistant Director - Organisation and Governance to update Council on group appointments to Committees and Sub-Committees for the 2014/2015 Municipal Year and to determine the appointment of Chairs and Vice-Chairs (where applicable) in respect of those Committees and Sub-Committees appointed by the Council as shown in Schedule B (pages 7 to 13 in the yellow Appendix) and Schedule C (pages 14 to 26 in the pink Appendix) of the report submitted, and to appoint to vacancies and unallocated places in accordance with Sections 15 and 16 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.


Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:-


1. That the establishment of the committees, sub-committees, boards, panels, working parties be noted and the terms of reference as detailed in Schedules B and C of the report submitted be approved for the 2014/2015 Municipal Year subject to the following:-


Corporate Health and Safety Committee - one vacancy deferred
Casino Licensing Sub-Committee - add Councillor Williams
Works Council - add Councillor P Sharrocks
Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee - add Councillor P Purvis
Licensing Committee - following a vote add Councillors Harvey, Rooney and J Sharrocks
Overview and Scrutiny Board - add Councillor Cole
Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel - one vacancy deferred
Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel - two vacancies deferred
Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel - one vacancy deferred
Environment Scrutiny Panel - add Councillor Clark - two vacancies deferred
Health Scrutiny Panel - add Councillor M Thompson
Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel -two vacancies deferred
Staff Appeals Committee - one vacancy deferred
Teesside Pension Fund and Investment Panel - add Councillor Brady.


2. That the membership, appointment of Chairs and Vice-Chairs, size and terms of reference of the Executive, its sub-committees and advisory bodies approved by the Mayor for the 2014/2015 Municipal Year as set out in Schedule A of the report submitted be approved.
 

14/29 APPOINTMENT BY THE COUNCIL AND EXECUTIVE TO JOINT COMMITTEES AND OUTSIDE BODIES 2014/2015

Further to the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 14 May 2014 when the item had been deferred the Council received and considered a report of the Assistant Director - Organisation and Governance regarding the appointment of representatives to joint committees and outside bodies for the 2014/2015 Municipal Year.

 

Members proposed the following changes to the nominations in respect of the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel for which four nominations had now been received (Councillors Loughborough, Rooney, B Thompson and Taylor) for three representatives.

 

Moved, seconded and ORDERED as follows:-


1. That the Members indicated in Appendix A (Council nominations) attached to the report submitted be appointed to the organisations shown for the Municipal Year 2014/2015 subject to the following changes:-


Appendix A - Council Appointments:


River Tees Port Health Authority - one vacancy deferred
South Tees Health Scrutiny Joint Committee - add Councillor J A Walker
Cleveland Show Society Committee - add Councillor N J Walker
Cleveland Police and Crime Panel - following a vote, Councillors Rooney, B Thompson and Taylor be appointed
Durham Tees Valley Airport Consultative Committee - Councillor Budd be replaced by Councillor P Sharrocks
Cleveland Combined Fire Authority - following a vote Councillors Biswas, Brunton, Clark, Hussain and Sanderson be appointed


Appendix B - Council/Executive Appointments:


Middlesbrough CAB Management Committee - one vacancy deferred
Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education - two vacancies deferred
Tees Valley Environmental Protection Group - add Councillor N J Walker


Appendix C - Executive Appointments:


Langridge Crescent Initiative Centre Management Committee - one vacancy deferred
Older Persons’ Partnership - three vacancies deferred.


2. That the nomination of representatives for appointments as set out in Appendix B Council/Executive appointments and Appendix C Executive appointments of the report submitted be noted.


3. That the organisations/outside bodies identified in the schedules to the report submitted be regarded as approved duties for the payment of travel and subsistence allowance.


4. That subject to consultation with the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Finance and Governance (for Executive appointments), the Group Leader (where a vacancy rests specifically with that political group), or the Chair of the Council (for all other nominations/appointments), the Monitoring Officer be authorised to remove or replace representatives on outside bodies in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.
 

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