Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Monday 6 March 2017
11:00 a.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor D J Branson, Councillor D Davison, Councillor S Dean, Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor A Hellaoui, Councillor M Storey, Councillor Z Uddin, Councillor J Sharrocks(Also in attendance)
C Breheny, P Harrison, A Pain and S Hydon
Apologies for absence:
Councillor L Lewis, Councillor F McIntyre
Declarations of interest:

None declared

Item Number Item/Resolution

The Minutes of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 6 February 2017 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


The Operation Manager at South Tees Youth Offending Service (YOS) was in attendance to provide further information on this topic. It was advised that YOS dealt with young people entering the criminal justice system. The Police take a very sensible approach on this issue and following national Police Guidance matters would be dealt with to ensure the best outcome possible were delivered. In 2013 the triage system was introduced to engage with young people and address their behaviour without resulting in a formal charge or mark on the young person’s criminal record. One of the biggest challenges being faced was the grooming of young people by adults.


It was advised that a couple of case studies had been provided for the panel, however, it was evident that sexting was part and parcel of everyday life for young people. The issue was how best to deal with it as a safeguarding issue. Any young person referred to YOS would come through Cleveland Police. In terms of the local picture there had been 13 notifications received from Cleveland Police since April 2015. This included 9 young people from Middlesbrough and 4 from Redcar and Cleveland. The youngest young person was 12 years old and oldest were 17, with 10 of the young people of school age. However, only 2 of the young people were girls. Despite the relatively low numbers of reports it was clear that a lot of this behaviour goes on in the school environment.

The Operation Manager stated that there were 2 main issues; the first was that children were not aware of the legal issues and had even expressed the view that “it was alright as long as there was only a year between them”; the second related to parental education. Many parents were completely unaware that this was quite common behaviour amongst young people. It was confirmed that in incidents where YOS became involved parents were invited to partake in the discussions along with the Police and the triage worker. The parents would be asked to complete a self-assessment and undertake their own piece of work. It was advised that getting parents on board was the biggest factor in preventing further issues arising.


Reference was made to the article featured in the Gazette relating to the publication of this report in the public domain. The Operation Manager expressed the view that in sensationalising the report the media had missed a massive opportunity to educate young people in Middlesbrough about this issue.


Reference was made to the fact that young people in society can sometimes be socially isolated, which was a real issue. The Operation Manager advised that his background was in youth work and they had previously been 15 large youth centres operating across the town. These were no longer funded and a massive resource to socially educate young people had been lost. It was unknown as to whether it would ever be possible to restore this provision. The centres provided an opportunity for young people to develop a level of trust and talk about their lives.

Prior to the above discussion the panel was informed that on 1 March 2017 the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities had announced that Relationships and Sex Education would be put on a statutory footing schools would be required to teach this content from September 2019.

The amendments created a power enabling the Government to make regulations requiring PSHE to be taught in academies and maintained schools. As the statutory guidance for Sex and Relationship Education introduced in 2000 was becoming increasingly outdated. It failed to address risks to children that had grown in prevalence over the last 17 years, including cyberbullying, ‘sexting’ and staying safe online.

The point was made that although this was a positive development, the quality and quantity of Relationships and Sex Education to be delivered in schools was important. This was an area that would need to be measured. The view was also expressed that introducing a statutory, legal framework for Relationships and Sex Education would be beneficial but needed to start in reception class and build up to year 6. Covering friendships, personal space, relationships and how to interact with each other. It was very much a process that schools should lead.

The Chair asked Members who had undertaken visits to schools across the town to highlight their key findings and during discussion the following points were raised:-


  •  Information on sexting is better coming from schools than YOS, as once it comes from YOS we’ve already failed that young person.
  • Schools have really good relationships with parents, especially primary schools and were in a strong position to educate parents on this issue.
  • Members were generally impressed with the level of awareness in primary and secondary schools. Most academies took the issue seriously - the most concerning aspect was that parents were not engaged and did not know what their children were up to.
  •  The answers provided by the children at one primary schools were fantastic. The children talked about their digital footprints having a lasting effect on them. 
  • It was clear that young people were very media and technology savvy. One of the key lessons is learning from the young people’s experiences. 
  • Many of the schools visited were adhering to the advice contained in the latest guidance document for schools: “Sexing in schools and colleges: responding to incidents and safeguarding young people (August 2016)”. However, all schools could use more training.
  •  Encouraging the children to write and put on a production for parents was one way of creatively engaging parents in discussing the issue with their children. 
  • Schools had specific named staff members to deal with online safety and a clear open door policy was in place. 
  • Efforts had been made to put on educational events for parents, however, these had not been well attended. 
  • Some responses had been surprising, for example, where it was reported that there had been no issues involving sexting in the last 2 years.
  • It was apparent that many of these incidences were not recorded and therefore the support available was not being accessed. If young people encountered any difficulties they sorted it out themselves or they ignored it.

The view was expressed that some children were more socially aware and able to deal with these types of issues than others. However, in many cases the response needed to be institutionalised and could not be left for 14, 15 years olds to sort out themselves. It was felt that one of the reasons many young people dealt with these issues themselves was due to the fact that Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram had effectively become background noise for young people. It was part of their everyday life. There was also a cultural aspect to this in how young people reacted which was also really important. The Operation Manager advised that one of his concerns were the different expectations that were now in place when young people were developing relationships. Young people’s eyes were much more open to sex because of the amount of porn online.

The view was expressed that often parents did not have a clue’ about what their children were accessing via social media and nor were they interested. The view expressed by one young person was that “only very overprotective parents” would ask to look at their child’s phone. Reference was made by Members to the public safety campaigns used in the past, for example ‘do you know where your lads are tonight?’ This campaign sought to ensure parents took responsibility for the whereabouts of their lads and their behaviour. It was advised that a recent public safety campaign by West Yorkshire Police entitled ‘Who are you really talking too?’ had been developed in response to an online grooming case.


AGREED as follows:-

1. That the evidence presented at the meeting be incorporated into the panel’s final report on this topic.


The Chair agreed that an interim update on the Alternative Delivery Model for Sport and Leisure Services by the Sports Development Manager could be presented at the meeting. The officers apologised for any confusion caused around the scheduling of this item and the Chair requested that further information from the Contract Manager at Everyone Active be provided to the panel at the next meeting.

The panel was informed that Sport and Leisure Management/Everyone Active (SLM) commenced a 15 year contract on April 1 2016 to manage the Middlesbrough Sports Village, Neptune, Rainbow, Manor, Gold Centre, Southlands pitch and Run Middlesbrough programme. The panel informed that since that date SLM had invested over £2,000,000 on capital developments and these had included:-



- The refurbishment and extension of the Neptune’s gym
- The relocation of Joe Walton’s Community Room
- The creation of a virtual exercise space
- The relocation and upgrading of dry side changing and shower facilities


Middlesbrough Sports Village

- The upgrading and extension of MSV’s gym
- The extension of the strength and conditioning area
- The building of a mezzanine floor to create a purpose built fitness studio and virtual fitness space



- The refurbishment and extension of the Neptune’s gym
- The relocation of Joe Walton’s Community Room
- The creation of a virtual exercise space
- The relocation and upgrading of dry side changing and shower facilities

In addition to the above the following development were still to be completed

- The building of 6 additional 5 a side 3G pitches at Middlesbrough Sports Village
- The refurbishment of the bar and changing facilities at the Golf Centre
- The installation of a virtual golf simulator at the Golf Centre
- The relocation of the Golf Centre’s reception to the Professional Shop
- The upgrading of the driving range at the Golf Centre
- Then conversion of the pitch and putt course at the Golf Centre course to football golf


Outside of the capital development programme SLM had also invested the following into the maintenance of the Council’s facilities

- £15k on pool filters
- £7k on pool and air humidity
- £10k on electrical testing

Six members of staff had left SLM through the measures process resulting in a total cost of £109,306.51.

The management fee for year 1 of the contract was £911,512. The provisional management fee for year 2 is £274,536 though this was yet to be finalised due to a delay in installing new 3G pitches at Middlesbrough Sports Village. Governance of the contract was through a Project Liaison Group (PLG) that met quarterly. Key performance indicators were maintained by SLM and a copy of these were provided for the panel.

Members were advised that a strong relationship between SLM and Middlesbrough Public Health was in place. SLM had delivered two successful Run Middlesbrough events through 2016. The overall membership across all sites managed by SLM on behalf of Middlesbrough Council was 6,712, this was an increase on the closing membership figure prior to transfer of 2,928.


AGREED as follows:

1. That the Contract Manager at Everyone Active be invited to attend the next meeting of the panel to provide further information.

2. That the information provided be received and noted


It was agreed that the date of teh next meeting would take place on Monday 3 April 2017.

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