Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Monday 18 January 2016
10:30 a.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor F McIntyre (Chair), Councillor L Lewis (Vice Chair); Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor A Hellaoui, Councillor J Hobson, Councillor B A Hubbard, Councillor T Lawton (Substitute for Cllr Walters), and Councillor P Purvis.
Councillor J Sharrocks - Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Board.
R Beard, C Breheny, J Dixon and T Punton.
Apologies for absence:
Councillor Z Uddin, Councillor M Walters
Declarations of interest:

There were no Dclarations of Interest made by Members at this point in the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution

The Minutes of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 21 December 2015 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


A Panel Member sought clarification in relation to the figures provided by the Head of Cleveland Probation Service regarding to the caseload management split between the NPS and the CRC, the numbers of Probation Officers employed within Middlesbrough and their caseloads, the breakdown of caseloads by area and the numbers of category one, two, three and four tier cases currently being managed. The Scrutiny Support Officer agreed to obtain clarification and confirmation of the figures from the Head of the Cleveland Probation Service.


The Scrutiny Support Officer submitted a covering report to provide an update on the Panel’s previous scrutiny topic 'Alternative Delivery Model for Sport and Leisure Services'.

The Panel first considered the topic in 2014-15 as part of its work programme. On 9 December 2014, the Council’s Executive considered a report on the alternative delivery model which advised that a range of options for an alternative delivery model for sports and leisure services had been considered during the options appraisal process. It was concluded that an external trust provider would be the most likely to deliver the desired reduction in financial subsidy whilst contributing to the Council’s strategic outcomes. The Panel’s final report on the topic was also approved by the Executive at that meeting.


The Panel was provided with an update at its meeting on 26 October 2015 and, following the information presented, the Panel requested that the Assistant Director of Environment, Property and Commercial Services be invited to attend today’s meeting.


In accordance with the Panel’s request, T Punton, Assistant Director of Environment, Property and Commercial Services was in attendance at the meeting to respond to queries from Members.


The Assistant Director advised that on 1 December 2015, the outcome of the procurement process was presented to the Executive and agreement to formally award the contract was sought and subsequently awarded to the preferred bidder. This followed on from a 12 month procurement process and competitive dialogue. A ten day 'stand still' period had now passed without any challenge and the new contractor would assume management of the Council’s leisure facilities on 1 April 2016 (namely the Neptune Centre, Rainbow Centre, Middlesbrough Sports Village and the Golf Centre). The TUPE process for the transfer of existing staff was now underway.


It was confirmed that there had been five bidders and these were short-listed to three. One of the three bidders had dropped out of the process at the final stage which left two remaining bidders submitting detailed business cases.


It was confirmed that the selected contractor had extensive experience in this field and currently operated 30 leisure trusts with Councils around the country. The contractor had extensive investment programmes in place and was able to focus purely on sport and leisure.

During the course of discussion, the following issues were raised:-

  • Clarification was sought on the position in relation to the Southlands Centre as it was now known that the Centre was no longer part of the Council’s plans to transfer to the leisure trust. The Assistant Director advised that the Southlands Centre had originally been included in the scoping exercise. The Council had set targets within the change programme for what it expected to pay for leisure provision in the future and despite considerable savings being made by the in house service, a point had now been reached where further savings could not be made within the Council. At the outline solutions stage of the procurement process, none of the bidders were able to demonstrate that they could achieve the savings being sought by the Council due to the cost of running the Southlands Centre. The information was communicated to the Project Board and the three short-listed bidders were asked to revise their business cases without the Southlands Centre. At the final tender stage the two remaining bidders were able to demonstrate the required efficiency savings without the Southlands Centre as part of the business case.
  • It was highlighted that during the Panel’s meeting on 26 October 2015, the Panel had not been informed that the Southlands Centre had been taken out of the scope. The Assistant Director explained that he had been unable to attend that particular meeting and the Officer who had attended, at short notice, had not been aware that Southlands had been removed from the scope as the procurement process was confidential at that stage.
  • In response to a query, the Assistant Director stated that the Southland Centre had not been taken out of the scoping exercise until after the outline solutions stage when it became apparent that the management of the centre was not affordable. Following agreement by the Project Board, the Southlands Centre was then taken out of the scoping exercise and whilst the Assistant Director did not have the date to hand, he estimated that this part of the process would have been in the period May - June 2015.
  • It was queried what would happen to the Southlands Centre and the Assistant Director stated that it was planned to re-designate the centre as a commercial business centre. The process over the next two - three months would be to invite expressions of interest to maintain the current businesses based at the centre and also what the current leisure space might be used for. Some interest had been expressed and consultation was ongoing with the existing businesses at the Centre and a timetable was being devised. The outcome would be reported to the Executive or Executive Sub Committee for Property at some point in the future. It was highlighted that the sports pitches would be maintained and remain within the management of the new Trust contractor.
  • In response to a query it was clarified that around half of the buildings at Southlands were currently for leisure use with the other half housing more than 50 small businesses. The Trust would take over the management of the outdoor sports pitches only.
  • The Panel requested that the issue be moved on as quickly as possible as the current businesses at the centre were struggling due to reduced footfall.

The Chair thanked the Assistant Director for his attendance and the information provided. The Chair suggested that Members might wish to visit the Southlands Centre to look at the site and that an invitation should be extended to all Members of the Council.


AGREED as follows:-

  1. That the information provided be noted.
  2. That arrangements be made for all Members of the Council to visit the Southlands Centre.



The Scrutiny Support Officer submitted a covering report outlining the purpose of the meeting.

It was reported that responsible authorities had a statutory duty to work with other local agencies and organisations to develop and implement strategies to tackle crime and disorder including anti-social and other behaviour, including drug misuse, which had an adverse impact on the local environment.


The Panel would be provided with information in relation to the structure and operation of the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership and an outline of the Partnership’s Annual Strategy for 2015.


R Beard, Community Safety Partnership Manager, was in attendance at the meeting and made a presentation to the Panel in relation to the Community Safety Partnership.


Members were advised that the 'Safer Middlesbrough Partnership' no longer existed and had been replaced by the Community Safety Partnership under the new arrangements. The Safer Middlesbrough Partnership had existed from 1998 to April 2013. In April 2013, responsibility for Public Health transferred from the NHS to the Local Authority and, together with the Safer Middlesbrough Partnership, formed Public Health and Wellbeing. The Community Safety Partnership function sat within Public Health until June 2014, prior to transferring to Supporting Communities. In March 2015, the member of staff aligned to the CSP moved to Supporting Communities. In June 2015, a staffing review of Stronger Communities created two Community Safety Officer posts to support the work of the CSP. The first meeting of the revised CSP strategic meeting was held in July 2015.


The current governance arrangements for the Community Safety Partnership were explained to the Panel and it was noted that the CSP ran alongside the Middlesbrough Health and Wellbeing Board and the Middlesbrough Achievement Partnership.


The CSP was a statutory function that brought together the responsible authorities (Local Authority, Police, Fire, NHS, CCG, Probation) and third sector organisations (such as substance misuse) to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour, substance misuse, environmental crime and issues around re-offending. The CSP met once every two months and was responsible for delivering the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (including reducing reoffending) and the Prevent duty (Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015), agreeing the Partnership Plan and driving it forward, monitoring and challenging performance, receiving regular updates on the priorities and holding officers to account, agreeing collaborative actions to achieve partnership objectives.


Whilst the CSP linked into the Health and Wellbeing Board and the Middlesbrough Achievement Partnership, there were also a number of monthly tactical meetings that fed into it. The monthly tactical groups were as follows:-

  • Domestic Violence Strategic Partnership.
  • Reducing Reoffending Strategic Group.
  • Victimisation Strategic Group.
  • Prevent Operational Group (Bronze).
  • Stronger Neighbourhoods Strategic Group.
  • CCTV Steering Group.
  • Selective Licensing Board.

In turn, a number of operational groups fed into the appropriate tactical groups, including Retail Crime Partnership, Hate Crime Forum, Street Begging Action Plan. The purpose of this mechanism was to identify links between certain issues and identifying appropriate solutions. Action plans were developed where prevalent issues were raised. The Panel was provided with information in relation to each of the groups.


It was highlighted that three Joint Action Groups (JAGs) had been established - in Grove Hill, Newport and Beechwood. The Groups fed into the Stronger Neighbourhoods Strategic Group, CCTV Steering Group and Selective Licensing Board. The groups aimed to tackle issues on a local level, such as anti-social behaviour. Any issues in other areas of the town could be discussed at the established JAGs or a separate time-limited meeting could be convened in a particular area if there was an urgent matter to be discussed.


During the course of discussion in relation to the various groups, the following issues were raised:-

  • It was confirmed that Cleveland NPS was one of the responsible authorities and was involved at all levels with the CSP. Information was shared to prevent and detect crime and all of the partner agencies had signed up to an information sharing protocol.
  • In response to a query it was confirmed that there were links to the Cleveland Police’s Restorative Justice programme through the Victimisation Strategic Group.
  • In response to a query, the Panel was advised that Lifeline was the CSP’s substance misuse provider and sat on the relevant groups as well as at a strategic level.
  • In response to a question in relation to staffing, it was confirmed that, under the new arrangements, there were now four (previously eight) Neighbourhood Safety Officers for the whole of Middlesbrough and they were the lead officers on the Joint Action Groups.
  • Clarification was provided that, in an emergency situation, there was currently no 24-hour response available from the Community Safety Team for residents. If a resident was an Erimus tenant they would need to contact Erimus direct as they had their own Neighbourhood Safety Team.
  • Reference was made to the CCTV control room and the cameras situated across Middlesbrough and the Panel expressed a wish to undertake a site visit. The CSP Manager advised that arrangements could be made, however, CCTV was currently being reviewed and Members might wish to wait until the review had been completed as the location of some cameras was likely to change.

Members were provided with a 'current crime snapshot' showing the types of crime and how many had taken place in the 12 month period ending September 2014 and September 2015.


Crimes of violence against a person had increased by 49.4% from September 2014 to September 2015. During the same period, sexual offences had increased by 66.8%, robbery had increased by 18.8%, criminal damage/arson had increased by 16.3% and theft overall had increased by 2.2%. It was highlighted that the reasons for the increases were potentially due to the fact that the CSP had not existed for some time and also the impact of financial cuts imposed on the Police and Local Authority. It was hoped, now that the new arrangements were in place, there would be a reduction in crime as information would be shared between meetings and agencies to ensure the appropriate interventions and actions were implemented.


It was noted that domestic burglary had increased whilst non-domestic burglary had reduced and it was explained that there were small groups of individuals that targeted domestic dwellings and those that targeted commercial properties. The figures fluctuated when certain individuals returned to prison.


The focus over the next few months would be on reducing violence. This was a complex issue and it was planned to establish a group to look at the types of violent offences that were being committed, whether there were any particular hotspots or particular individuals involved and how it could be best addressed. The group would also explore links between violence and the night time economy and how to change public perceptions.


Members were also provided with a current snapshot of anti-social behaviour which was broken down into three categories - Personal (anti-social behaviour deliberately targeting an individual or group; Nuisance (causing trouble/inconvenience to the local community); Environmental (something affecting a particular environment rather than an individual). Between September 2014 and September 2015, there had been a 0.5% increase in total anti-social behaviour.


The current priorities for the 2015/16 financial year were as follows:-

  • To create a revised CSP and operating model (this was now in place).
  • To establish a 'dashboard' of partnership indicators for current tactical groups (currently being developed to be used by all tactical groups and to identify crime hotspots).
  • To develop an annual Strategic Assessment and Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) (analytical data providing a breakdown of offenders and crime types).
  • To produce the Community Safety Plan setting out the priorities and how they would be addressed.
  • To prepare an information sharing protocol to be signed by all Responsible Authorities, agreeing to disclose depersonalised data on a quarterly basis.

In terms of future priorities, the following had been identified for the 2016/17 financial year:-

  • Work with partners to tackle violence in the town.
  • Enhance collaborative working with Police in neighbourhoods to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • Maximise the use of CCTV throughout the town.
  • Continue to tackle domestic violence.
  • Adopt the Troubled Families approach to tackle high cost/complex, vulnerable adults.

The priorities would be achieved through successful delivery of the Community Safety Plan, creating and monitoring 'time-limited' tactical groups and continuous management of 'dashboard' indicators.


The Chair thanked the Officer for attending and the information provided.


AGREED as follows:-

  1. That the information provided be noted.
  2. That, following the review of CCTV across the town, Members be given the opportunity to visit the CCTV control room.



The next meeting of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel was scheduled for Monday, 8 February 2016 at 10.30am.

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