Overview and Scrutiny Board Minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board Minutes

Tuesday 29 March 2016
4:00 p.m.
Mandela Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Sharrocks, (Chair), Cole, Dryden, Higgins, C Hobson, Hussain, McGee, McIntyre, Rathmell, D Rooney, J A Walker
Councillor Young, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport
A Crawford, L Henman, S Lightwing and P Stephens
Apologies for absence:
were submitted on behalf of Councillor Mawston
Declarations of interest:

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

Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 1 March 2016 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


By way of introduction the Scrutiny Officer submitted a report  to provide information in respect of the scheduled attendance of Members of the Executive at the Overview and Scrutiny Board (OSB).   It was intended for Executive Members to provide updates on their respective work in terms of their aims, aspirations, objectives, priorities and any emerging issues.


The Chair welcomed the Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport. 


The Executive Member explained that his portfolio was relatively new; culture having previously been included in the Economic Regeneration portfolio and leisure and sport development within the Environment portfolio. The Mayor had introduced the Culture, Leisure and Sport portfolio to enhance its importance and contribution to the economic prosperity of Middlesbrough as well as being key to education, attainment and community engagement. Some discussions had taken place with the Mayor regarding a stated vision for culture in Middlesbrough and the Executive Member agreed that there would be wider consultation on this.

In terms of culture, the portfolio included cultural services and provision of two museums, the theatre, town hall and MIMA. The cultural events programme included the facilitation of Christmas events, the Cleveland Show and the MELA. Within the current financial constraints the focus was on maintaining the current events programme. However, the Council was also keen to promote other events in the town wherever possible.

The re-development of the Town Hall was an £8 million investment which would see the opening up and refurbishment of the old carriageway, law courts and the crypt. A new cafe or restaurant and improved bars would also be developed with the aim of encouraging more people to visit the Town Hall. It was also envisaged that new learning and education spaces would be provided for community use.

Another forthcoming opportunity to showcase Middlesbrough on an international scale was the Tour De Yorkshire Race and associated events which were taking place from 29 April to 1 May 2016. A programme of promotional events had been arranged and the Council was keen to involve the community as much as possible. As well as the Council offering a range of sponsorship packages for businesses, Tees Valley Community Foundation had provided £10,000 funding in the form of ten grants to local schools and community groups. The Council had also been working with other organisations including Land Art and Welcome to Yorkshire. A procession would be held in the Town Centre on Sunday 1 May 2016 with a carnival theme. In addition to the main race, an amateur race would take place in the town, and the idea was to create a legacy of the Tour and repeat the amateur race annually.

The Executive Member had recently organised a working group comprising Ward Councillors, the Heritage Champion, Councillor Brunton and Officers, to consider the future use of the old Town Hall which was situated in Middlehaven. At the first meeting the group had discussed the minimum cost required to maintain this heritage building in its entirety. Consideration had also been given to erecting a hoarding to promote the building and invite community views on potential uses for the building. 

Reference was made to the regeneration of Baker and Bedford Streets and the Council’s desire to animate the town and change present culture of the night time economy. Middlesbrough was a University City and the student environment should be promoted. Two recent events highlighted by the Executive Member were 'Don’t be Afraid of the Dark' and 'Creative Bloom'. A new map of cultural venues had also been produced. Middlesbrough was bidding to become the next City of Culture and had a rich and diverse cultural programme to promote as well as being part of the wider Tees Valley area.

Concern was raised that many of the events outlined by the Executive Member took place in the centre of Middlesbrough and other venues such as Stewart’s Park, Albert Park and the Dorman Museum should be more involved. The Executive Member noted these comments and also explained that the Council was aiming to develop the provision of tourist information on a similar model to 'Welcome to Yorkshire'.

A request was made to reinstate the former 'Music Live' event which had been successful in the past. The Executive Member explained that this type of event had been discontinued after a charge had to be levied due to the economic climate. The Executive Member commented that whilst he would be keen to promote such an event it would rely on having the finances available to invest in it.

Libraries were also included in the Executive Member’s portfolio as well as within the portfolio of the Executive Member for Communities and Public Health. It was noted that the recent Corporate Peer Review had praised the Council for saving its libraries and developing Community Hubs. The T-Junction Poetry Festival and a number of reading festivals were included in the cultural programme. 

A review of museum provision was currently underway and the Executive Member commented that Middlesbrough had two very good museums in different locations but that both were in need of a refresh. The Executive Member had been visiting other museums throughout the country to look at what they offered. A Member referred to the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum and the Arts Council Grant of £0.5 million that had been awarded in 2015 for its re-development. The Executive Member confirmed that when the funding was awarded the Council was only given four months to spend it on the Museum. The Council since had the time limit on the funding extended until 2017 and that plans were in place for its use.

It was suggested that, as part of the Museums' review, consideration should be given to using the Old Town Hall as a Museum itself. The Executive Member commented that he would be keen to see an Ironopolis heritage exhibition housed there.

Another suggestion put forward was the use of secondary schools and academies as venues for cultural events as well as sport. It was noted that a great deal of investment had been made into schools and they had some fantastic venues. The Executive Member agreed to look into this possibility.

With regard to Leisure and Sport, Middlesbrough had several sports venues including the Neptune, Rainbow and Golf Centres and Sports Village. The Sports Village was the newest facility and included a high quality gym,  a running track which was suitable for international competitions, and the north east’s only outdoor velodrome. Several sports teams including Middlesbrough Futsal Club and a Basketball Team had made the Sports Village their base and schools from all over the region were also using the facilities. It was hoped that the Sports Village would become a hub for both amateur and professional cycling.

From April 2016 the Council had agreed an Alternative Delivery Model (ADM) and signed up to a 15 year lease with Sports Leisure Management (SLM) to manage Middlesbrough’s sport and leisure facilities. The ADM would guarantee future investment in the facilities as well as jobs and apprenticeships. Discussions were ongoing with SLM regarding future investments and provision. 

SLM offered a very good programme of sports development and their tag line was 'Everyone Active'.  A Member highlighted that the facilities needed to be accessible to everyone and that cost might sometimes make this prohibitive, especially for families. The Executive Member confirmed that prices would be kept as low as possible and some concessions were available.

The Executive Member also clarified that the Council would maintain ownership of the facilities and the branding would retain a local identity and include the tag line 'Everyone Active - Middlesbrough Council with SLM'.

The Chair thanked the Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport for attending the meeting.

ORDERED that the information provided was received and noted.


The Head of Performance and Partnership gave a presentation in relation to Balanced Scorecards in terms of reviewing them for the next financial year. The presentation covered the aims of the Balanced Scorecard, the progress that had been made in the current year, issues that had been identified and some options and proposals developed by the Leadership Management Team (LMT).

The aim of the Balanced Scorecards was to provide a single report which provided a 'traffic light' view of performance across the four areas of Customer, Business, Finance and People. The Scorecards had been developed at corporate and the three most senior management levels within the Council. The system enabled cause and effect to be considered within Scorecards, for example between financial and performance information; and also between Scorecards, for example between community support and safeguarding services. The Scorecards also aimed to promote transparency on areas for improvement and performance improvement in services.

Details of the progress made during the first year of implementation included the following:


  • 'Balance of power' in choice of measures/target setting now with services.
  • Demonstrated potential of single Value for Money (VFM) report.
  • Implemented standard measures for comparability.
  • Implement review meetings in most Outcome Areas and initiated corporate clinic process.
  • Reinstated periodic report of performance from Officer level through to Overview and Scrutiny Board.

It was highlighted that the Council was able to demonstrate that between quarters performance improvement on business and process measures was easier to effect. So, for example, in one quarter LED street lighting was off target and but in the next quarter it improved. However, it was more difficult to show improvement in outcomes and to demonstrate that. This was something that LMT had discussed for next year.

Several issues had been identified and these included:

  • The appropriateness and number of measures.
  • Alignment and integration of other data and processes.
  • Scoring/weighting mechanism.
  • Embedding, particularly at Tiers 1 and 3.
  • Frequency of publication and formal reporting.
  • Format of formal reports.
  • The challenge process.
  • Resulting actions.
  • Demonstrating improvements.

Following the review, LMT proposed the following amendments to the Balanced Scorecards:


  • Fully integrate performance, risk, revenue and capital expenditure monitoring at a frequency to be agreed with a single report to be produced quarterly. The Executive and OSB to agree the format of the report.
  • Ensure that targeted outcomes were fully represented in Scorecards and that service contribution to these was clear. 
  • Limit the number of measures to those which were key priorities.
  • Remove weighting of quadrants and scoring, retain RAG rating and implement limiting judgements.

Members commented on the proposals and the following additional suggestions were made:


  •  Member training would be useful and should be extended to any interested Members.
  • The possibility of marrying up scrutiny recommendations to performance should be considered.
  • Clarification would be useful as to which Performance Indicators (PIs) were statutory and which were not.
  • Information on the approach of other authorities might be beneficial - was there a best practice format.
  • How were the percentage targets set.  If these targets are exceeded, were they revised up?
  • Although trends were shown, a comparative figure from the previous year would be useful.
  • If it  was intended to submit less information, there could maybe be an emphasis on underperformance/failing areas. These could possibly be considered by individual scrutiny panels and examined in more depth.
  • The radar charts were not understood. Either training was needed or a different form of illustration.

The Head of Performance and Partnership indicated that the above comments from OSB would be fed back to the Executive Member and LMT would then produce a report confirming the changes. The new process would be implemented from August 2016 (Quarter 1).


ORDERED that the information presented was noted.


The Chair of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel outlined the Panel's main findings, conclusions and recommendations following a scrutiny investigation of the topic of Safeguarding and Children in Care.


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


 a) That the Local Authority’s Market Position Statement contains detailed information on strategies and measures that will be used:


  • To develop a common and shared perspective of supply and demand for care services.
  • To seek active cooperation of providers.

b) That the Virtual School conducts a review of the support that is offered to children in care in primary and secondary schools and works to implement best practice across the sectors, using the sub-group’s findings as a basis for evidence gathering.


c) That the Virtual School facilitates and supports the development of a forum, whereby designated teachers are invited to meet with key professionals from the Local Authority and the health sector to share best practice, expertise, take early preventative action and commission services.


d) That the Virtual School works with schools to facilitate and effectively manage an extended transition between primary and secondary education, ensuring children in care are provided with effective and seamless support.


e) That the Local Authority engages with schools to:


  • Actively promote the use of the pupil premium to access additional tuition and one-to-one support
  • Ensure that the pupil premium is primarily used to improve the educational attainment of those entitled to the funding.

f) That the Virtual School put measures in place to ensure:


  • That the PEP process is streamlined - each PEP being completed electronically and the document being held in one centralised location, enabling all the relevant people to access, develop, review and update the document as and when required.
  • That each PEP details specific steps that inform pupils what it is they need to do to progress.
  • That social workers undertake a central role in the PEP process (this links with recommendation h)
  • That each PEP contains information on how the school uses the pupil premium to raise the attainment of that particular child in care.

g) That the Local Authority works in partnership with CPOMS:


  • To encourage every Middlesbrough school to sign-up to CPOMS.
  • To investigate whether CPOMS could be used by the Local Authority to track the progress of individual child cases.

h) In respect of all the organisations involved in providing services for children in care - that a joint working protocol is developed that outlines the responsibilities of each professional, what each organisation can expect from the other, how the work will be managed and when and how information should be shared across organisations.


i) That the Local Authority works with the health sector to:


  • Investigate ways to improve access to services for children and young people placed outside of the Middlesbrough area, therefore, ensuring timely access to appropriate health and mental health services.
  • Implement mechanisms to ensure schools can gain access to expert advice and guidance from the Specialist Nurse for LAC and the LAC Practitioner for CAMHS - in respect of Middlesbrough’s children in care.

j) That the Health Scrutiny Panel investigates the provision of services to promote the emotional and social wellbeing of all young people.


k) That the Local Authority implements measures to ensure that information obtained from strengths and difficulties questionnaires (SDQs) is used and analysed effectively to:


  • Determine the scale of the emotional/ behavioural problems of children in care in the area, therefore helping to inform the appropriate levels of service provision.
  • Provide an indication on how effective the service provision provided is in meeting the needs of children in care.

l) That the Specialist Nurse for LAC remains located in the Pathways Team.


m) That the feedback received from applicants, attending the Family Placement Panel, is collated and analysed to support continuous improvement in Children’s Services.


n) That the Local Authority reviews arrangements to ensure that working relationships are improved between foster carers, social workers and the contact team.


o) That the Local Authority financially invests in networking to recruit more foster carers, particularly for older children and teenagers.


p) That the Local Authority continues to work with children’s homes and that a working group is established to identify, discuss and implement best practice across the sector. The primary aim of the group being to achieve and sustain an outstanding status for children’s homes - using Ofsted’s research and analysis documents. Furthermore, that Children’s Services facilitate Regulation 33 visits, therefore ensuring visits are undertaken regularly.


q) That the Local Authority develops a detailed action plan to improve the participation of care leavers in education, employment and training.


r) That the Pathways Team makes every effort to ensure completion of post-18 and post-21 questionnaires and that information obtained is collated and analysed in order to improve service delivery.


s) That the Local Authority:


  • Implements a recruitment campaign to actively recruit to the social worker vacancies.
  • Undertakes a review of the current staffing structure of the IRO service.
  • Works with other local authorities in the region to identify and address recruitment and retention issues.

t) That the Local Authority develops a more efficient monitoring system and parallel support mechanisms to ensure that all care plans are sufficiently specific and measurable to drive progress and enable effective monitoring and review.


u) That the Local Authority arranges formal training for Councillors, which provides an overview of the role and functions of the corporate parent and supports them to champion the needs and interests of children in care.


v) That the Local Authority implements practices to ensure corporate parenting responsibilities are considered across all services.


ORDERED that the findings and recommendations of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel be endorsed and referred to the Executive.


The Chief Executive submitted a report with regard to the decisions of the Executive in relation to the Overview and Scrutiny Board's final reports on Albert Road Regeneration and Health Inequalities: Improving Breastfeeding in Middlesbrough.


The Executive supported the service response in respect of both reports.



The Executive Office Manager submitted a report which identified the forthcoming issues to be considered by the Executive as outlined in Appendix A to the report.


The report provided the Overview and Scrutiny Board with the opportunity to consider whether any item contained within the Executive Forward Work Programme should be considered by the Board or referred to a Scrutiny Panel.




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


In relation to the Health Scrutiny Panel Report, the Chair highlighted that the Urgent Care Review was ongoing but it appeared likely that there would be a proposal close the North Ormesby Walk-In Centre.


On a positive note, the GP practice at Hemlington would remain open and it was anticipated that a new contract would be issued.



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