The Scrutiny Support Officer presented a report to outline the purpose of the meeting which was to provide Members of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel with information to assist in the consideration of suitable topics for inclusion in the Panel's Work Programme for 2014-2015. Each of the Council's Scrutiny Panels agreed an annual Work Programme of topics for investigation which was then considered and approved by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
All Council Members had been consulted on possible topics for inclusion in the Work Programme and suggestions received from the public were also included in the submitted report. Members were reminded that the list of possible topics was not exhaustive and additional topics could be added and considered at the meeting.
The Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel had a responsibility to address certain issues each year as follows:
The Safer Middlesbrough Partnership (SMP).
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
The Panel would also receive an update on the Coroners Service.
Scrutiny Panels had also previously responded on an ad-hoc basis to emerging issues - such as considering relevant new legislation, guidance or Government consultation documents. This approach occasionally resulted in further topics being identified for investigation or review throughout the year. In addition, the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board had requested that scrutiny panels consider how they could be involved with, and influence, the Council's Change Programme.
The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board was present at the meeting and explained that scrutiny would take a more pro-active role in influencing Council policy at an earlier stage in the process, rather than scrutinising issues once decisions had been taken. It was also suggested that Task and Finish Groups could look at topics as well as those scrutinised by the full Panel.
To assist in determining possible work programme topics, the Assistant Director, Environment, Property and Commercial Services and the Community Safety Manager, Supporting Communities were present at the meeting to provide an overview of key issues facing the service in the year ahead.
Members discussed the suggested topics in detail and the Assistant Director, Environment, Property and Commercial Services and the Community Safety Manager, provided additional information as appropriate. Issues discussed in more detail included Community Safety, the future delivery model for Sports and Leisure Services and the progress of the Prissick Sports Park development.
The Council had recently established a new Supporting Communities Department and its portfolio included 0-19 Services, Community Hubs and Centres, Community Protection, Regeneration, Homelessness, Libraries, Neighbourhood Safety and the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership (SMP). It was anticipated that the new management structure for Supporting Communities would be in place by July.
The Safer Middlesbrough Partnership covered two elements - crime and disorder and drug and alcohol intervention. Whilst some of this work now came under public health, the crime and disorder element was within the new Department and would include issues such as re-offending and the Prevent agenda. With regard to the 0-19 Services and Community Regeneration, the Department would be seeking to improve early intervention to prevent families entering the social care system.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 would come into force in October 2014. The legislation reduced the previous nineteen tools and powers to six, to allow for much quicker processes and focus on victims and witnesses. The Police and Local Authorities would be able to use all the powers and Registered Social Landlords would have some powers, but not others. It was anticipated that the introduction of the Act would have a huge impact on resources. The Act also introduced the Community Remedy and the Community Trigger. Staffing in the Police Community Safety Unit had reduced from 28 to 7 staff and the Unit now dealt with Cleveland as a whole, rather than individual authorities. Therefore the Community Remedy and Community Trigger would need to be a Cleveland-wide approach.
In 2013 the Panel had received updates on Sports and Leisure Needs Analysis, Playing Pitch Strategy and Prissick. The Assistant Director explained that the Options Appraisal Process had started with assistance from Max Associates, a company that specialised in providing services to Councils looking at different delivery models. The four options available were:
Re-configuration and re-provision of the existing services.
Establish a locally based Trust.
Procure an existing Trust (perhaps work with other Councils).
Community Asset Transfer for leisure facilities.
A half day workshop would take place on 18 July 2014 to look at the options in detail and score each one against the Councils strategic objectives including public health in the town. A recommendation on a model for future delivery would then be made to the Transformation Board by 19 August 2014. Subject to Executive agreement, a procurement exercise would then take place and a new model would be operational from October 2015. This would tie in with the opening of the new Prissick Sports Village in April 2015.
The Assistant Director stated that scrutiny involvement in the process to get to the preferred option would be welcomed and suggested that the Chair of the Panel meet with representatives from Max Associates. It was acknowledged that the timescale was very tight but the project had to fit in with the Change Programme timetable.
The proposed topics were as follows:
1. Future delivery model for Sports and Leisure Services (Change Programme Topic)
2. How the Council linked with the Police and Crime Commissioner - PCC progress to date and how the Council could help.
3. How the Council could use health related evidence when ruling on licence applications.
4. Improving standards and behaviours of direct debit street fundraisers 'Chuggers'.
5. Events in Town/operation of Safety Assessment Group.
6. Influence of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
7. Mental Health support for Offenders.
It was anticipated that Items 3 and 4 would be short topics.
AGREED that the topics listed at 1 to 7 above, would be submitted to the Overview and Scrutiny Board for approval.