Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Monday 11 July 2016
11:00 a.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor J Blyth, Councillor S Dean, Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor A Hellaoui, Councillor J Hobson, Councillor B A Hubbard, Councillor L Lewis, Councillor Z Uddin
C Breheny, R Brown, J Dixon and E Kunonga
Apologies for absence:
Councillor F McIntyre
Declarations of interest:

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

Item Number Item/Resolution

Nominations were sought for the appointment of Vice Chair of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel. Councillor Uddin was nominated and seconded and, therefore, appointed as Vice Chair of the Panel until amended by the Panel.


ORDERED that Councillor Uddin be appointed Vice Chair of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel until amended by the Panel.


The Minutes of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 11 April 2016 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


The Scrutiny Support Officer submitted a report to provide Panel Members with information to assist with consideration of suitable topics for inclusion in the Panel’s Work Programme for 2016/17.


Background information relating to how each of the Council’s Scrutiny Panels agreed its annual work programme was included in the report. It was highlighted that once agreed by the Panel, the Work Programme would be submitted to the Overview and Scrutiny Board for approval. Detailed terms of reference would then be agreed by the individual Panels at the start of each scrutiny investigation.


Suggested topics for consideration for inclusion in the Panel’s Work Programme were set out at paragraph 4 of the report. The issues had been suggested as possible topics following consultation with all Council Members, Directors and members of the public. This was not an exhaustive list and Members were reminded that additional topics could be considered.


It was noted that when considering the suggested topics outlined in the report, consideration should also be given to how investigating those topics could add value to the local authority’s work. In addition to the agreed work programme, Scrutiny Panels had previously responded to emerging issues on an ad-hoc basis and, on occasion, ad-hoc Panels might also be established throughout the year to undertake additional investigations or to examine areas of work that overlapped more than one Scrutiny Panel.


Paragraph 14 provided the Panel with a work prioritisation aid to assist in determining the topics for the work programme.


It was highlighted that the Panel had a responsibility to address certain issues each year and to request updates in relation to the following:-

  • Middlesbrough Community Safety Partnership.
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
  • Domestic Violence.
  • Preventing Terrorism.

In addition to any agreed work programme topics, the Panel had previously requested update reports in respect of the following previous scrutiny topics:-

  • Child Sexual Exploitation.
  • Alternative Delivery Model for Sport and Leisure Services.
  • Reoffending and Rehabilitation.
  • Prevent agenda.

Members were advised that, in relation to the previous topic of Reoffending and Rehabilitation, the Panel had been invited to visit Holme House and Kirklevington Prisons, both of which had been named as reform prisons in the Prison Reform Bill 2016. The Scrutiny Support Officer would liaise with interested Members in relation to possible dates for the visits.


To assist the Panel in determining its work programme topics, a summary of the Supporting Communities Outcome Delivery Plan up to 2020, underpinning the Council’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020 was attached at Appendix 1.


To assist in determining possible Work Programme topics, R Brown, Head of Stronger Communities and E Kunonga, Director of Public Health, were in attendance at the meeting to provide an overview of key issues facing their respective services during the coming year.


The Head of Stronger Communities stated that the two key priorities for his Service for the forthcoming year were the Prevent agenda and reducing sexual violence.


A copy of the Strategic Needs Assessment on Crime had been circulated to the Panel and reference was made to an increase in crime, with a particular increase in sexual. Crime and anti-social behaviour were complex issues that linked to a variety of wider issues including drug/alcohol misuse, begging, violence/sexual violence, shoplifting.


Reference was made to 'Project Griffin' - the national counter terrorism awareness initiative for business which advised managers, security officers and employees of public and private sector organisations in relation to counter-terrorism issues. The Panel requested that an update on Project Griffin be provided as part of its update on the Prevent agenda.


The Director of Public Health addressed the Panel and highlighted the key priorities within his service area for the coming year. It was noted that Community Safety and Health were very much related and that it was important to ensure both Services aligned.


One issue that Health had explored was how to ensure community spirit was maintained and to promote the importance of social inclusion. A study in relation to social isolation had been carried out and it was found that social isolation had 15 times more negative impact on health than smoking. There were many reasons as to why social isolation might exist and it affected many people - including older people, young people, working people. A changing population in Middlesbrough might also be a contributory factor. The BME population in the town had almost doubled over the past 10 years and longer term planning would be needed to deal with any associated issues linked to having a larger BME population.


Another priority issue for the Service was drug and alcohol misuse and whether enough was being done to tackle the problem as close to the source as possible. Reference was made to licensing applications - in terms of alcohol licences - and it was stated that Health was not a Licensing Objective under the Licensing Act 2003. However, Middlesbrough’s Statement of Licensing Policy had used data on children’s safeguarding and alcohol-related admissions to James Cook University Hospital to establish five cumulative impact zones in Middlesbrough in relation to off-licensed premises which made it more difficult to obtain a licence to sell alcohol in those areas. An alcohol strategy was currently being developed and the Panel could be consulted on the strategy as part of the consultation process.


Members were advised that an annual report was produced in relation to public health and this year focused on dementia and making Middlesbrough a dementia-friendly town. It was a comprehensive document to raise awareness around dementia and associated issues and to ensure that barriers were removed.


The Panel suggested that a briefing paper be produced and submitted to Full Council to make all Elected Members aware of the report and the work that had already been undertaken in the town to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their carers.


Ensuring appropriate and robust emergency planning arrangements were in place to respond to a variety of emergencies was another important element of the Service. A multi-agency emergency plan was in place and monthly meetings were held to ensure arrangements remained appropriate with the priority being the protection of the public. The Panel expressed an interest in receiving a briefing in relation to the current emergency planning arrangements.

Members discussed the list of potential topics and identified the following topics for its work programme:-

  • Homelessness and street begging, linked with causes of anti-social behaviour and support services for drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Sexting/sex education in schools.
  • Social isolation.

The Panel considered that the issue of preventing childhood obesity in schools should be referred to the Health Scrutiny Panel for consideration but highlighted that it would be willing to be involved in the topic if necessary.

AGREED as follows:-


1. That the information contained in the submitted report, and information provided by the Officers at the meeting, be noted.


2. That the Panel’s Work Programme for 2016/17 be approved as follows:-

  • Homelessness and street begging, linked with causes of anti-social behaviour and support services for drug and alcohol misuse.
  • Sexting/sex education and healthy relationships in schools.
  • Social isolation.

Update Reports:-

  • Middlesbrough Community Safety Partnership.
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Sexual Exploitation.
  • Alternative Delivery model for Sport and Leisure Services.
  • Reoffending and Rehabilitation.
  • Prevent agenda (including Project Griffin).

Reference was made to the Middlesbrough Mela that had taken place over the weekend. The event had now been running for 26 years and was one of the largest multi-cultural events in the North East. The event had been very successful with approximately 30,000 people attending over the course of two days, bringing together people from all communities.


The Panel was also reminded that the Sikh festival, Nagar Kirtan, was due to take place on 17 July 2016 and, again, all were welcome.


It was agreed that the next meeting of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel would take place on Monday, 12 September 2016 at 11.00am.

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