Overview and Scrutiny Board Minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board Minutes

Tuesday 24 July 2012
4:00 p.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Brunton (Chair), Dryden, C Hobson, McIntyre, P Purvis, Sanderson, J A Walker, Williams.
J Bennington, P Clark, A Crawford, J Shiel and K Whitmore.
Apologies for absence:
were submitted on behalf of Councillors Arundale, Cole, Harvey, Kerr and Mawston
Declarations of interest:
Name of Member Type of Interest Item/Nature of Interest
Councillor Brunton Non Pecuniary Agenda Item 4: Capital Outturn and 4th Quarter Review 2011/2012 in so far as it related to Levick Trust - Trust Member
Councillor Brunton Non Pecuniary Agenda Item 4: Capital Outturn and 4th Quarter Review 2011/2012 in so far as it related to Acklam Grange School, Ashdale, Oakfields - School Governor
Councillor Dryden Non Pecuniary Agenda Item 4: Capital Outturn and 4th Quarter Review 2011/2012 in so far as it related to Levick Trust - Trust Member
Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 3 July 2012 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


A report of the Director of Strategic Resources was presented which provided an update on the Council’s capital programme (2008/2009 to 2012/2013) based on the 4th quarter review of capital expenditure.


It was reported that the change in overall net expenditure across all schemes since the last review had resulted in an increase of £2,999,000 in Council wide resources to support the capital programme (0.9% of the total programme) as outlined in Appendix A.


As part of the medium term financial plan, savings proposals for 2012/2013, £505,000 per annum had been agreed from capitalising existing revenue expenditure and had now been included in the capital programme for the next four years.


Members’ attention was drawn to a figure of £1,529,000 in respect of Desktop Strategy which related to part of the IT programme ensuring the Council’s IT infrastructure was fit for purpose.


Specific reference was made to significant variations to the programme as outlined in the report and appendix submitted. One of the key areas related to the Tees Valley Bus Network for which the overall level of DfT grant for 2011/2012 for the scheme which incorporated the other Tees Valley Local Authorities had increased by £1,080,000.

In terms of re-profiling capital expenditure, £10,093 million had been re-profiled from 2011/2012 to 2012/2013 and future years of which £0.562 million related to block budget provisions. Details were shown by service and individual scheme in the report submitted Appendices B and C. The Board’s attention was drawn to the Stewart Park Heritage Lottery Fund Phase 2 project which had slipped due to the contracted work taking longer than anticipated following several issues that had arisen during the contract period. Reference was also made to the Levick House replacement and a figure of £1,663,000 following delays due to variations to the schedule and changes that had been made as a result of TEWV now not being a partner in the capital project.

The detailed allocation of block budgets held by service areas was shown by individual scheme in Appendix D of the report submitted. It was noted that under-programming at Quarter 4 had reduced to £1,137,000 from £3,937,000 at Quarter 3.


It was reported that the gross expenditure had increased from £344,283 million to £350,371 million and the level of under-programming at Quarter 4 was currently estimated at £1,137 million (0.32%).


The overall programme position as at Quarter 4 review was shown in Appendix E submitted.

Members sought clarification on a number of areas including details of the rationalising of depot provision across the Council as part of the agreed 2012/2013 medium term plan savings. It was confirmed that the main focus of such action had been on the operational requirements and consolidating depot provision in one area.


In response to a Members’ query it was confirmed that Council owned land such as that identified off Linthorpe Road in the Park Ward were being pursued as potential areas of land for sale.


In overall terms the Board acknowledged the improvements and savings which had been achieved in difficult financial circumstances.


ORDERED that the Officers be thanked for the information provided which was noted.


The Principal Corporate Development Officer presented a report which sought Members’ comments on the Mayor’s draft vision (Appendix 1 of the report submitted) for Middlesbrough Council and proposed timetable and process to formally agree and launch the vision to Members, staff, partners and the public (Appendix 2) . It was proposed that the final draft would be presented to the Executive on 14 August 2012 and then to Council on 5 September 2012.


It was reported that the document was essentially a refresh of the previous vision and focussed on three main priorities:


  • A town that is clean, safe and healthy.
  • A learning town, in which families and communities thrive.
  • A town that continues to transform.

In discussing the areas of highest priority Members referred to the current and possible future involvement of scrutiny and suggested that it should be discussed further with individual Scrutiny Panels and subsequent comments forwarded to the Assistant Chief Executive.


ORDERED that the Officers be thanked for the information provided which was noted.


The Chair of the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel at the time of the scrutiny review outlined the Panel’s findings, conclusions and recommendations following a scrutiny investigation of the Transport Element of the Local Development Framework.


The Board considered the following recommendations of the Panel based on the submitted evidence: -


1. That all planning applications for large sites should include measures to improve traffic flows and avoid congestion and, where possible, provide funding for public transport subsidies.


2. That, where appropriate, the agreed transport infrastructure is put in place prior to the development of a particular site.


3. That efforts should be made to ensure that the Tees Valley Area Action Plan (AAP) and Local Development Framework (LDF) are aligned as closely as possible. Since the AAP covers all developments across the Tees Valley it should be regularly reviewed to ensure any resultant transport infrastructure measures have a positive impact on proposed developments in Middlesbrough.


4. That the Highways Agency decision on outstanding planning permissions for south Middlesbrough is provided as soon as possible in order to accurately inform the revised AAP.


5. That further consideration should be given to the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), in consultation with neighbouring Local Authorities, to assess how it could be implemented equitably to improve transport network schemes for the mutual benefit of all Authorities.


6. That in respect of the transport infrastructure options for Middlehaven, the Scrutiny Panel’s view is that, finance permitting, Option Three, to include a swing bridge, would be the preferred solution. Although Option Two may be the most deliverable option in the current financial climate, this should not preclude the development of a swing bridge in the future.


In discussing the aspects covered by the scrutiny investigation Members referred to concerns which had been raised especially with regard to young persons in relation to the transport links and pedestrian access to Myplace, Middlehaven. 


In terms of the larger sites for development the Board was advised that decisions were awaited from the Highways Agency regarding road infrastructure requirements in respect of major housing developments proposed for South Middlesbrough. Such information was required at the earliest opportunity so that the works required by developers under Section 106 Agreements could be clarified and agreed. It was confirmed that in the case of certain sites, the Council had put in place transport infrastructure prior to the sites being fully developed.


In terms of measures to prevent flooding specific reference was made to the steps taken as part of a sustainable drainage strategy in respect of Hemlington Grange site although Members referred to problems which had been experienced with regard to Grey Towers Park.


ORDERED that the findings and recommendations of the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel be endorsed and referred to the Executive subject to a reference and additional recommendation with regard to the need to address the concerns raised regarding the transport links and pedestrian access to Myplace, Middlehaven.


The Chair reported upon the receipt of a number of requests for scrutiny review in respect of the following topics:-


  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
  • Children with Complex Needs Review
  • No Paper Council.

The Board was advised of the intention for further discussion with the Chairs of the various Scrutiny Panels including the possibility of the Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel undertaking one of the scrutiny reviews.



A report of the Chair of each Scrutiny Panel was submitted which outlined progress on current activities.


Members referred to recent publicity in the local media highlighting the key issues raised in a Final Report of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel into Substance Misuse Among Parents and Carers which had been considered by the Executive at its meeting held on 17 July 2012.


It was noted that in relation to the work programme of the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel, Members had agreed at its meeting held on 12 July 2012 to consider the topics of the regeneration of Gresham and Grove Hill separately, commencing with Gresham.


In relation to the Environment Scrutiny Panel Members referred to concerns which had been raised at recent Community Council meetings regarding problems associated with salt bins which had remained in situ following the winter period. It was suggested that an update be requested on current arrangements.


With the agreement of all concerned a report was tabled at the meeting which outlined evidence that the Health Scrutiny Panel had received relating to proposed developments to Public Health Funding as indicated in the published Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Update on Public Health Funding. The key determinant that would establish levels of funding would be on the premise of a standard mortality rate of 75 (SMR U75). The Panel had heard the view expressed that such an approach would run the risk of not playing sufficient attention to levels of deprivation in a given area and result in areas such as Middlesbrough receiving reduced allocations for discretionary, locally driven work.


Members had heard that the Department of Health had assured local authorities who would take on public health responsibilities in April 2013 that funding for 2013/2014 would not be less than current funding levels but there was uncertainty after that date. Statistical data had been provided to the Panel which demonstrated that as a local authority, Middlesbrough spend per head in 2010/2011 was shown to be £99.29 and the estimated budget per head based on the proposed formula was likely to be £58.49.


It was noted that the Health Scrutiny Panel would be considering the matter in detail at its meeting to be held on 1 August 2012 prior to the submission of a formal response to the Department of Health. The Board agreed that in order to continue to raise awareness to such concerns a report be submitted to the Executive.


AGREED as follows:-


1. That the information provided be noted.


2. That an update report be submitted in respect of the current arrangements with regard to salt bins.


3. That a report concerning proposed developments regarding Public Health Funding be referred to the next meeting of the Executive.



It was confirmed that no requests had been received to call-in a decision.



The Chair reminded Members of a letter which had recently been circulated which confirmed that additional meetings of the Board had been arranged in order to consider reports in relation to the Council’s budget and policy framework. Such meetings were to be held on 30 August 2012 (10.00 a.m.), 22 November 2012 (2.00 p.m.) and 14 March 2013 (3.00 p.m.).


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