Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Wednesday 14 August 2013
10:30 a.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

McIntyre, (Chair), Biswas, Brady, J Hobson, Hubbard, Junier, Kerr, Lowes, P Purvis
Councillor Brunton
P Clark, S Fletcher, S Harker and N Harkin
Apologies for absence:
All Members of the Committee were present at the meeting
Declarations of interest:
Name of Member Type of Interest Item/Nature of Interest
Councillor Brady Non pecuniary Agenda Item 7 - Governor at Middlesbrough College
Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the meeting of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel held on 19 June 2013 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.


The minutes of the meeting of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel held on 17 July 2013 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.


The Scrutiny Support Officer presented a report to provide the Panel with an outline purpose of the meeting. Members were recommended to receive the information presented regarding updates on domestic violence and Leisure Services. The Panel could then determine Terms of Reference for either or both topics, if appropriate.


It was confirmed that the Panel’s Work Programme, as determined at the previous meeting, had been approved by the Overview and Scrutiny Board without amendment at its meeting on 2 July 2013.



A report was presented to provide Members with the updated position in respect of the delivery of the Middlesbrough Domestic Violence Strategy (2011-2014). The submitted report provided a summary in respect of current commissioning arrangements and identified risks, challenges to delivering the domestic violence agenda, considerations following organisational restructure and proposed future actions and recommendations.


Domestic Violence impacted upon families and whole communities with consequences for the individual victim, their wider family network and society as a whole. It could have a serious detrimental effect on the physical and emotional wellbeing of those suffering and often required intervention from a range of public services including police, health, housing and safeguarding services.


Domestic Violence had recently been redefined by the Home Office to include young people aged between 16 and 17 years and to make more explicit that coercive control was also a form of abuse alongside physical, sexual, emotional and financial factors already included. Domestic Violence was an under-reported crime type but statistics nationally showed that one in four women, and one in seven men had suffered abuse at some point in their lifetime since the age of sixteen.


Domestic Violence remained a significant issue for Middlesbrough with an average of over 4,000 reported incidents per year. Collecting reliable data was difficult and relied on police recorded data as an indicator of prevalence. An average of over 300 incidents per month were reported to Cleveland Police over the last three years. Repeat victimisation was common and within 2012/2013 repeat incidents in the highest-risk cases, although on a positive downward trend, still remained high at 46.31%.


Where a pattern of repeat offending was recognised, a number of provisions were put in place to try and support families including sanctuary, advocacy, criminal justice support and counselling.


The Domestic Violence Strategy Group (DVSG) was established in April 2010 to develop a Domestic Violence Strategy for Middlesbrough and to provide strategic direction and accountability. A member of the Co-ordination and Development Team at Safer Middlesbrough Partnership (SMP) was tasked as the Lead Officer to the group and with the development and co-ordination of a 2011-2014 Strategy, which was launched in September 2011.


The Middlesbrough Domestic Violence Strategy 2011-2014 committed to delivering on four key areas which were: prevention and early intervention, support for victims and families, healthy relationship work with perpetrators, and protection and justice, strengthening the criminal justice response to abuse.


Within the Strategy it was agreed that the DVSG would be accountable to the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) and link with the relevant LSP theme groups. However, in practice this had not been an effective structure and there had been no formal reporting mechanism established. Since these structures were put in place there had been a number of developments locally, notably that Middlesbrough Council was in the process of an organisational restructure and review of partnership arrangements including the LSP, Children’s Trust and Safer Middlesbrough Partnership.


Responsibility for the public health agenda was moved to Local Authorities from the 1 April 2013. Domestic Violence was included in the Public Health Outcome Framework (PHOF) published in 2012, which was a three-year indicator set and was recognised as contributing to the wider determinants of health within the community of Middlesbrough. Traditionally funding to tackle domestic violence had come through the Home Office but the Police and Crime Commissioner would take over the role from 2014. It was vital to ensure that domestic violence remained on the agenda within all forums. One of the other key challenges was to increase provision around prevention.


Currently all the provision in Middlesbrough was funded, however in March 2014 some of the funding would cease and replacement funding streams would need to be sourced. There were some risks to current service provision within the next twelve months, highlighted in the table attached at Appendix One to the submitted report and most notably this included Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA) and perpetrator work.


The voluntary sector also provided an influential role in the delivery of services, in particular through the One Stop Shop initiative at My Sister’s Place. The charity secured 60% of its income from charitable trusts, 18% from central government grants, and 22% from Middlesbrough funds, delivering a service worth over £350,000 with a local investment of under £90K. There were risks to approximately £100,000 of the overall funding by 2015 as the North Rock Foundation would cease its grant funding. The Charity was currently working with the Foundation to put sustainability plans in place to offset this risk.


Middlesbrough Council was trying to link with other partners to share initiatives such as introducing an advocacy service in Accident and Emergency departments. The Council was also looking at how to share data to make early intervention better.


The DVSG had conducted a review of the partnership arrangements in place. This highlighted a number of achievements since the establishment of the group which included improved co-ordination, mapping of provision, and maintained funding for key services. It also identified areas for further consideration, including:


  • The need for the Domestic Violence partnership to develop a strong accountability framework and clear outcome measures within the new structures.
  • Recognition that the culture of domestic violence within Middlesbrough needed to be challenged, requiring the championing of domestic violence at a senior strategic level.
  • Review of the current operating model in place around domestic violence to ensure that pathways for victims and families were clear and to prevent escalation of risk. Targeting of the right support at the right time was key to keeping families safe from further harm.
  • The prioritisation of resources in line with identified need including an allocated resource to strengthen the prevention agenda around domestic violence.
  • Data exchange between agencies to be strengthened in order to inform the processes and pathways for the benefit of victims and their families.
  • Reviewing value for money in both in-house and commissioned services to ensure best utilisation of resources.

The current Domestic Violence Strategy was live until 31 March 2014, the DVSG would use the period leading up to this time to develop a new operating model with partners. This would aim to address the issues raised by the self-assessment process and establish the position of this agenda within changing structures. It was vital that Domestic Violence remained a high priority for the local authority.


Recent evidence suggested that consideration should be given to a more family-focussed approach to tackling domestic violence than had been the case with traditional domestic abuse models. This would ensure that the needs of the whole family were identified and addressed and would ensure that all members of a family received the appropriate support.


Health agencies had a fundamental role in identifying and addressing the impact of domestic violence and the DVSG should consider how it could strengthen the role of health systems including the role of local health and wellbeing boards, clinical commissioning groups, and the NHS area team. The movement of Public Health functions into local authorities might present opportunities for this agenda and this should be explored.


The current period of transition across the local authority and partner organisations should be used to strengthen the future position of domestic violence service provision and to ensure that mainstream resources were used to best effect.

AGREED that the information provided be received and noted.


Sports and Leisure Needs Analysis and Playing Pitch Strategy


The purpose of the submitted report was to provide an update on the current position with regard to the Leisure Needs Analysis (LNA) and an outline of the options regarding the outcome of a town-wide Playing Pitch Strategy which had been carried out by Strategic Leisure consultants. Members received a presentation providing further detail at the meeting.


Middlesbrough Council appointed Strategic Leisure and FMG Consulting to undertake a comprehensive Leisure Needs Analysis (LNA) earlier this year. The LNA would replace two existing strategies that required reviewing and updating which were: Active Middlesbrough 2008-2020: The Sport and Physical Activity Strategy for Middlesbrough, and Middlesbrough Playing Pitch Strategy 2009.


The Leisure Needs Assessment included a review of current provision and services, demographic analysis, identification of neighbouring provision, analysis of participation data and health profiles as well as options for the way forward. Consultation had taken place with stakeholders including local, regional and national groups, schools and youth clubs, members of the Council and other individuals. The key aims of the Assessment were to identify the level and nature of future sport and provision required, reduce the financial cost to the Council by 50% and increase participation in sport and physical activity in Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough Council currently provided a £3.4 million subsidy for sport and leisure.


Increased participation would improve health and the long term financial implications of health. In line with the Council’s Strategic Plan the transformation programme would be driven by engaging and enabling people and promoting early intervention and enterprise.


The need for Local Authorities to take a strategic approach to the provision of sport facilities has become even more important in the current economic climate, given that significant austerity measures have been put in place for Local Authority spending. Non statutory services, such as sport and leisure, were under particular pressure. This had resulted in the Council reviewing many of its services to determine whether there were more cost effective methods of operating. In terms of leisure provision, options could include closure of some sites to improve the footfall in others, investment in new, purpose designed facilities which were more cost effective to operate than older buildings, and working in partnership with other providers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.


The study considered outdoor and indoor sport and active leisure provision plus casual physical activity. It covered not only Council-run existing provision, but the full range of provision and providers. The LNA covered existing swimming pools, sports halls, squash courts, tennis courts, leisure centres, ice rinks and climbing walls, as well as outdoor facilities for football, rugby, hockey, cricket and athletics.


A diagram outlining the future Vision for Sport, Leisure and Physical activity provision in Middlesbrough was shown on page 3 of the submitted report. Delivering this model of provision would require a major investment in high quality, centralised facilities, providing for both competitive sports and community provision at Prissick.   

Facilities on this site would also offer specialist provision for example, indoor tennis, for some sports.


The main focus for participation in formal facilities, and organised sport/physical activity would be in sports centres, secondary school facilities (with a formal community use agreement), and on formally provided all-weather pitches (AGPs) and grass playing pitches.


The very local, or doorstep provision, which was crucial to developing and increasing participation, particularly amongst those who were currently inactive or did very little physical activity, would be focussed on the use of information places and spaces, in community settings, including primary schools, community centres, children’s centres, old people’s homes, parks and outdoor green spaces.


Middlesbrough College had recently built a very high quality playing surface for rugby and football that did not exist elsewhere in the town. Discussions were ongoing with the College as to the community use of this facility. The College was also promoting participation in water sports. Regular Park Runs in Albert and Stewart Parks were proving popular and gym membership had been increased by approximately 150 young people by targeting schools.


The Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS) was a strategic document to allow the Town to assess planning requirements and also set the Local Development Framework (LDF). In doing this the PPS outlined the current playing pitch provision against national governing bodies’ requirements for Middlesbrough. In February 2013 Strategic Leisure were appointed to carry out the PPS.


The general overview of the Town’s PPS was very good but did highlight that two additional football pitches were needed to fill requirements. This was based on a town-wide provision of Council pitches but excluded schools. As such, once the pitches within school provision were included, the provision was well within the requirements of the sports governing bodies. However, the Council believed that the information provided by the Consultants in relation to the availability of football pitches was inaccurate and had asked for it to be qualified.


The final report was due to be issued by Strategic Leisure in August 2013 and would be presented to the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel at a future meeting.




Funding for a Sports Village at Prissick would be drawn from land sales and a Section 106 agreement and it was anticipated that partners such as Middlesbrough College and Teesside University would also invest money for certain facilities. An Iconic Bid for £2million had also been made to Sport England and financing was also being sought from various sports’ Governing Bodies.


A mix of facilities were being considered for Prissick including an eight lane event running track, shot putt and long jump facilities, a grandstand, football and cricket pitches, cycle facility, velodrome, skate park, provision for tennis, a 100 station gym, basketball and badminton courts, cafe and possibly a 50 metre swimming pool. Clairville Stadium was due to close in October 2014 and replacement facilities needed to be available at Prissick by then.


In response to a query as to whether other Council facilities would be under pressure, it was emphasised that the key remit was to encourage more people to use the facilities available.
The Council was considering options of how to maintain the current standard and offer delivery of services through partners, whilst reducing the current £3.4 million subsidy.

AGREED that the information provided be received and noted.


The Chair requested that the Panel note the content of the submitted report which provided an update on business conducted at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meetings held on 2 and 23 July 2013, namely:


2 July 2013

  • Attendance of the Executive Member for Regeneration and Transport.
  • Executive Forward Work Programme.
  • Executive Feedback on Scrutiny Reports.
  • Revenue Outturn 2012/2013.
  • BME Communities Access to Social Care Services - Final Report of the Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel.
  • Children with Complex Needs - Final Report of the Health Scrutiny Panel.
  • Scrutiny Work Programme.


23 July 2013

  • Attendance of the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources.
  • Scrutiny Panel Progress Reports.
  • Any Other Business.



Work Programme


The Scrutiny Support Officer reminded Members that the next item on the Panel's Work Programme was the scrutiny on the removal of the Police Horses from the Cleveland Police Force.


The Scrutiny Support Officer also highlighted the visit by several Members of the Panel to Kirklevington Prison in connection with the next scrutiny topic of the day release of prisoners for work placements.


AGREED that:


1.    Representatives from Cleveland Police be invited to a Panel meeting to discuss the consequences and arrangements in place to cover the recent removal of the mounted section of the Force.

2.    A representative from Kirkleatham Prison be invited to a Panel meeting to provide further information in relation to work placements for prisoners.


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