The Chair invited Members to raise items for general discussion arising from the Information Booklet of Executive Member reports 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) Economic Snapshot News
A member referred to Point 9 of the report of the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration and he commented that it was pleasing to see the number of high end new businesses that had opened in Middlesbrough, in particular Great, Mac, Smiggle and La Patisserie Valerie.
The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration advised that the Centre for Cities recognised Middlesbrough as the centre for the wider area and he acknowledged the work carried out by officers and politicians in bringing the new business to town.
b) Breast Feeding Welcome Scheme
A member commented on the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme which was launched on 21 November 2016. The Health Scrutiny Panel had looked at the low take up of the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme in Middlesbrough and it had recommended that the scheme be strengthened and rolled out across more businesses. The scheme was a good opportunity for women in Middlesbrough to give children a good start in life. The member indicated that she was very supportive of the scheme and congratulated the staff involved in setting up the project.
The Executive Member for Communities and Public Health advised that he was very grateful to the Chair of the Health Scrutiny Panel, Councillor Dryden, and the members of the Health Scrutiny Panel who had driven the project forward. He stated that he had attended the launch, alongside public health professionals and had met with some of the mothers at the Muffin Break cafe, one of the premises that had signed up to the scheme, to find out about the scheme.
c) Lighting up Bottle of Notes for World Aids Day
A member indicated that she had attended the Lighting Up the Bottle of Notes for World Aids Day which was an opportunity for those who had lost friends and family to AIDS to remember them. The member commented that it was a very positive occasion for the town.
The Executive Member advised that he had attended the Lighting Up the Bottle of Notes for World Aids Day to speak on behalf of the Council. He advised that the occasion was a clear demonstration of the Council's philosophy and politics.
d) Stronger Families
A member referred to Page 2 of the Executive Member for Communities and Public Health in relation to The Junction - Making a Difference to the Lives of Young Carers and their families. The member indicated that she would like to have it noted that the Council were very grateful to the young carers for looking after family members suffering from a wide range of ailments. The Junction local charity was established in April 2016 supported carers from Middlesbrough from the age of 15-18 years. The charity was currently working with 109 carers, of which four were only six years old.
The young carers had been invited on a residential trip to the Isle of Tiree, in the Inner Hebrides, supported by the Hebridean Development Trust. The trip had developed co-operation and team building for the carers. The residential trips had been running for a period of four years.
The Executive Member advised that he did not want to miss the opportunity of paying tribute to the young carers in the town. They carried out fantastic work and the Council was doing all it could to support them. He acknowledged the excellent work carried out by The Junction, who provided a wide range of services and was pleased that the Council was working in partnership with the group.
e) Neighbourhood Safety Staff Member Award
A member stated that he wished to congratulate Julie Pearce on winning an award at the Annual Police and Crime Commissioner's Community Safety Awards ceremony for her work in tackling anti-social behaviour and he also wished to thank the Council and the team.
He also commented on the expansion of the Safe Places scheme throughout Middlesbrough and congratulated the Council on the expansion.
f) Captain Cook Birthplace Museum
A member queried whether the contract in respect of the building work on Captain Cook Museum had been awarded and whether work had commenced.
The member also congratulated Chris Hudson from the Environment Department on his presentation to the Stainton and Thornton Community Council with regard to the work of Middlesbrough Environmental Services which was received positively by members of the Community Council.
The Executive Member advised that work had commenced and was due to be completed by February 2017. The teams were also working on engagement and exhibitions. Members of the Council would be invited to a tour of the museum once the work was completed.
A member advised that he welcomed the refurbishment of the museum. The member advised that he had been contacted by one of the park runners who had raised £1600 within four weeks towards a defibrillator for Stewart Park which would be attached to a wall on the museum. The park runner had also organised for the ambulance service to provide training on the use of the defibrillator for free and the member congratulated the park runner on her efforts. Members were advised that on 30 January 2017, it was the tenth anniversary of Friends of Stewart Park and to mark the occasion, the group intended to purchase another defibrillator for the park.
g) Outwood Acklam - National Support School
A member commented on the fact that the Outwood Academy had been designated a National Supported School for Teaching and Leadership. He advised that he had visited the school a number of times and had been very impressed with the staff and pupils and the ethos in which the school operated especially in relation to respect.
The Executive Member advised that all the schools in Middlesbrough should be congratulated as they all operated around the ethos of respect.
h) Reading Town
A member referred to the Northern Children's Book Festival Gala Day held on 19 November 2016 at Central Library and mima. The member commented that reading with children from infancy was critical but it was also a source of pleasure. For Middlesbrough to have an identity as a Reading Town was good for children and their parents and she urged everyone to support the scheme.
The Executive Member advised that she concurred with the member's comments. Members were advised that it was a wonderful event and the Executive Member thanked those Councillors that turned up to the event with their favourite book.
i) Abingdon Road
A member thanked the Executive Member for the comprehensive report. He commented that Abingdon School was the first of the schools in the Tees Valley to be recognised as a School of Sanctuary. He advised that as a proud member of the Governing Body, he was pleased with the achievement and he congratulated the staff, children, Governing Body and the parents on achieving the award.
The Executive Member advised that schools in Middlesbrough worked hard to teach children and teach them respect and to do things in the community. Abingdon School was very welcoming particularly to children coming into the country as were other schools in Middlesbrough. The Executive Member advised that she was very proud and wished to thank all those involved in achieving the School of Sanctuary award and she advised that it was cascading to other schools in the town.
j) Safeguarding in Schools
The member requested that this question be deferred to the next meeting of the Council.
k) Programme Management Framework - Progress Reports
A member advised that he was pleased that the Programme Management Framework was being rolled out across the authority to ensure consistency and governance was applied across the authority in the delivery of projects.
The member referred to the fact that the Executive Member received briefings and updates in respect of major projects. He requested that the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel receive details of the information received.
The Executive Member explained that her role was to challenge and the meetings usually involved verbal dialogue. The Executive Member advised that if the member wanted information in respect of a specific project then he could discuss with the Chair of the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel which information was required and the officers concerned could be contacted to provide the information.