Overview and Scrutiny Board Minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board Minutes

Tuesday 2 August 2016
4:00 p.m.
Mandela Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor J Sharrocks (Chair); Councillor A Hellaoui, Councillor T Higgins, Councillor L Lewis, Councillor J McGee, Councillor L McGloin, Councillor D Rooney
Councillor M Walters
Councillor J Rostron
B Carr, A Crawford, V Holmes, A Johnstone, J Shiel and M D Taylor
Apologies for absence:
Councillor J G Cole, Councillor E Dryden, Councillor C Hobson, Councillor T Mawston, Councillor J A Walker
Declarations of interest:

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

Item Number Item/Resolution

The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 14 June 2016 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


The Scrutiny Support 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 Councillor Rostron, the Executive Member for Adult Health and Social Care, to the meeting.

Councillor Rostron provided the following information in respect of the work of her portfolio:

The Care Act 2014 -The Board was advised that the Social Care department had previously worked under the remit of the NHS Community Care Act 1990 and service users were assessed in accordance with the FACS national criteria; this meant that previously Social Care had intervened at the point that an individual was in crisis. It was highlighted that the introduction of the Care Act 2014 had significant financial implications for the Council as well as a huge impact on the working practices of the authority. The Act created a new focus on prevention and building on the strengths of the community to delay the need for commissioned care and support, rather than intervening at crisis point. The local authority would be required to work more closely with the voluntary sector in terms of commissioning work or working alongside them. The Assistant Director for Social Care and the Chief Executive of MVDA were holding regular meetings to discuss how the voluntary sector and the Council could work better together.

Ageing Better Programme - Ageing Better is a Big Lottery funded programme aimed at reducing isolation and loneliness for people aged fifty and over that live in Middlesbrough. A copy of the organisation's quarterly magazine outlining the work of the organisation was circulated at the meeting.

The Social Care department faced further budget reductions in 2017/18; however it was anticipated that if the department continued working in a more preventative way and worked better with the voluntary sector, the budget reductions could be made without affecting service users.

Reablement was aimed at assisting people to live independently in their own home and as a consequence facilitate early discharges from hospital and residential care homes. £250k may be saved as a result of providing improved reablement services.

The Better Care Fund was aimed at providing better integration between health and social care. The Board was advised that as part of the Better Care Fund, a South Tees Single Point of Access (SPA) was being developed for adult health and social care which would be the access point for social care for the two local authorities (Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland) and for elements of JCUH’s work - particularly in respect of admission avoidance and support for effective hospital discharge. There had been initial issues with regard to data protection and information sharing but good progress was being made in developing the project.

In terms of Planning of Overnight Care, the Council had commissioned a provider who would provide a short term overnight care service in an individual's home rather than hospital or residential care.

Initial discussions had taken place, as part of the prevention agenda, in respect of introducing 6 community-based Community Link Workers to provide additional support for individuals with non-clinical needs to connect to the appropriate organisations, with the emphasis on voluntary sector services and community-based activities.

The Board was advised that a court case had taken place the previous year in respect of the issue of the Deprivation of Liberty and the court had found in the service user's favour. As a result, the authority was required to assess any individual with a mental impairment in hospital or residential care. This had resulted in an increase of assessments from 70, before the court case to around 1000. This meant that more staff had needed to be trained to cope with the increase in assessments. The Law Society was currently trying to stream-line the process.

Transforming Care Agenda - The Board was advised that the Social Care department also had responsibility for integrating people with disabilities into the communities including those with a Forensic Disability e.g. offenders ending up in hospital as a result of a Mental Health or Learning Disability. As part of the assessment it was important to consider the risks to the individual and the community.

Residential Care - Middlesbrough still had a high number of people in residential care compared to other parts of the country, although the number had been reduced by 73. It was more cost effective and according to national research, beneficial, to assist individuals to live independently in their own homes rather than admit them to a residential care home.

The Council still had issues with people selling illegal tobacco and counterfeit goods. The Council had hired specialised sniffer dogs and over 22,000 cigarettes had been confiscated together with tobacco and shisha. There had been 8 convictions in the past year.

The Executive Member chaired the Smoke Free Alliance - a multi-agency partnership that sought to encourage people to stop smoking. Work had been carried out with the maternity unit at JCUH as part of the Baby Clear Programme, to encourage pregnant women not to smoke during pregnancy and to educate them on the effects of smoking on their unborn babies.

The responsible authorities were carrying out work in relation to the sale of illicit alcohol. Four alcohol licences had been revoked for selling alcohol to children or illicit alcohol and, when the Council's decision to revoke the licence had been appealed to the Magistrates Court, the Council's decision to revoke the licence had been upheld.

In respect of food hygiene, 85% of premises had achieved a 5 star rating, which was the highest rating. 12 of the premises inspected did not achieve a 0, 1 or 2, and, as a consequence, emergency measures were put in place to assist the premises in achieving the required rating.

Reference was made to the Estates Excellence & Extra Life initiative. 48 companies had signed up to the initiative which involved helping businesses in Middlesbrough to improve workplace safety, prevent accidents, enhance employee health and wellbeing and reduce sickness absenteeism. 24 of the companies had staff trained to work in health and safety.

In terms of Trading Standards, the team had taken action against a builder who had taken payment for a job but had not built anything; a pyramid seller and a person selling a car which listed it as only one owner, when the owner was a hire company. The team also carried out mystery shopping to identify counterfeit goods.

A report had been taken to Executive with regard to the micro chipping of dogs. There had been a government initiative which required all dogs to be micro chipped. The Dogs Trust was providing the micro chips for free and the facility to have the dogs micro chipped was available at North Ormesby Hub.

The Board was advised that Middlesbrough had a very good record in terms of Air Quality. The European Courts were taking action against the UK because of the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The level in Middlesbrough was currently below the national levels. The nitrogen dioxide monitors were situated in Albert Park and the town centre.

The Selective Licensing Scheme in North Ormesby, where private sector landlords were required to obtain a licence from the Council for every property they rented out was working well. Of the 155 properties inspected, only 37 were up to the required standard. 800 properties were currently privately let and legal notices had been served on 89 properties with 4 being required to close down. The Selective Landlord Scheme provided protection for tenants against rogue landlords.

The Executive Member chaired Middlesbrough Environment City. A summary of the work of the organisation, which included the provision of a cycle centre facility in the bus station, operation of the shop mobility service, an Asian ladies cycle club, the Hearty Beats programme; working with the Wildlife Trust to create apprenticeships with lottery funding, facilitating Diabetes 2 and heart checks and the Affordable Warmth programme where MEC were working with British Gas to provide gas boilers for free.


In summary, the main challenge in both areas; adult health and social care - was to continue to provide services to the same standards as they were currently, with less money and staff.

The Chair thanked the Executive Member for her contribution to the meeting.

16/9 STRATEGIC PLAN 2016-2020.

The Interim Chief Finance Officer submitted a report which provided the Board with:-

  • the updated Council Strategic Plan up to 2019-2020, incorporating a Medium-Term Financial Plan and Investment Strategy for the same period, and positioning this consolidated document as the Council's four-year 'Efficiency Plan' required by the Government to access a four-year funding settlement; and
  • which outlined activity to identify further transformation opportunities for the 2018-2020 period, which would be presented to Council in November 2016, in the draft first refresh of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

The report sought approval of the draft Strategic Plan for 2016-2020, and agreement that the document be submitted to the Department of Local Communities, to enable the Council to secure a four-year funding settlement.


The Board was advised that the consolidated quarterly report included the Council's revenue position, Capital Programme position, reserve position, and Treasury Management. It was felt that this amalgamation demonstrated the complete picture of the Council's performance in one document.

In terms of providing the Board with updates, it was suggested that following approval of the draft report by Executive in September, the Board would receive the report on a quarterly basis to review progress.


It was commented that the Teesside area had great potential for huge opportunities for inward investment.


With regards to the monitoring of future projects, it was explained that to assist with this, a Capital Project Board would be set up so that all projects would be formally assessed from the outset, which would then be subject to regular internal monitoring to ensure that the projects were on track, as any slippage in deadlines could affect future funding.


If Members had concerns with regard to how well the Capital Programme was being managed; they could identify any projects that they wished to receive further information on or to challenge. It was suggested that the Chair and the Scrutiny Support Officer meet with officers from Strategic Finance to identify specific projects that were of interest, to enable relevant Project Managers to attend the Board to provide specific updates.

ORDERED as follows:


That the draft Strategic Plan for 2016-2020, and the fact that the document would be submitted to the Department of Local Communities, to enable the Council to secure a four-year funding settlement be noted.

16/10 BUDGET OUTTURN 2015-16.

The Board considered a report submitted by the Executive Director - Commercial and Corporate Services, the purpose of which was to report the full year budget outturn for 2015/16 in respect of the Revenue Budget, Capital Budget, Treasury Management position and General Reserves.


ORDERED as follows:-


That the Board note:-


(i)  The overall revenue saving for 2015/16 of £0.5million (0.4% of budget);

(ii) The Capital Programme Investment of £38.3m and under spend of £20.7m;

(iii) The Council's borrowings at 31 March 2016;

(iv) The movement in balance sheet general reserves; and

(v) The creation of £5.1m of specific reserves. 


The Executive Director of Commercial and Corporate Services submitted a report which provided an overview of the Council's performance at Year End 2015/16 and responses of Outcome Areas to the issues outlined.


The report also set out the findings from a review of progress in embedding a Balanced Scorecards approach to performance management within the Council and outlined proposed changes to the model for 2016/17 to address the issues identified.


The Board received an overview of how the Balanced Scorecard performance management tool would operate.  


ORDERED as follows:


1. That the responses of Outcome Areas and the Council's wider Change Programme to the performance issues outlined in the report be noted


2. That the Board note progress in embedding a Balanced Scorecard approach within the organisation.


3. That all Members receive training (possibly in September), in respect of the Balanced Scorecard performance management tool.  


The Scrutiny Support Officer presented a report which:- 

  • informed Members of the Work Programmes proposed by each of the Scrutiny Panels for 2016/2017; and
  • asked Members to consider and agree topics for examination by the Board over the course of the Municipal Year.

Members agreed the proposed Work Programmes for the Scrutiny Panels and confirmed that the first topic that the Board would look at would be the Council Improvement Plan.


In addition, the Board agreed that the first topic that the Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel would consider was "The Future of Social Housing in Middlesbrough".


ORDERED as follows:


a) That the range of topics identified by individual Scrutiny Panels for inclusion in their 2016/2017 Work Programmes be approved.


b) That the first topic for investigation for the Overview and Scrutiny Board would be the Council Improvement Plan.


c) That an Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel is established to consider the topic of "The Future of Social Housing in Middlesbrough".


This item was deferred to the next meeting of the Board.


The Chair of the Social Care and Adult Scrutiny Panel outlined the Scrutiny Panel's main findings, conclusions and recommendations following a scrutiny investigation of the topic of Prevention Services in Adult Social Care.


The Social Care and Adult Services Scrutiny Panel recommends to the Executive:

a) That local authority staff receive the appropriate training, time and mandate to deliver services with a far greater focus on prevention.

b) That a complete directory of all Middlesbrough voluntary sector services and community-based activities is developed.

c) That community-based Community Link Workers are introduced in Middlesbrough:

  • To motivate and enable individuals to remain independent for longer and connect people with services, networks and volunteering opportunities.
  • To bridge the gaps between services, networks and associations to identify users, build awareness and provide support that is useful and sustainable.
  • To bridge the gaps between professionals in health, social care and informal support.
  • To act as the primary interface between community activity and the formal system of health and social care.

d) That the health and wellbeing hub:

  • Provides a central function to plan, gather, analyse, share and monitor data and information in respect of prevention-related activities and services (this links closely with recommendations g and h).
  • Works closely with the Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency (MVDA) to increase volunteer capacity, improve the quality of volunteering and provide support to volunteers.

e) That joint work is undertaken between the local authority and the MVDA:

  • To ensure that VCOs are sustainable, resilient and in a position to cope with future demand.
  • To establish practices that will increase and maximise VCS investment in the town and attract additional resources.

f) That the local authority investigates the possibility of providing its staff with the opportunity to volunteer in the community.

g) That practices are implemented:

  • To achieve outcome-based commissioning.
  • To measure the impact, quality and value of VCS prevention services.

h) On an annual basis - that costs, outputs and outcomes are analysed:

  • To secure targeted, evidence-based investment.
  • To ensure that funding and resources follow prevention-related activities and services that are most effective.
  • To align resources to areas of greatest impact, need and potential.

i) That a multi-agency partnership develops a long-term, town-wide strategy and model with supporting plans for individual stakeholders. That the strategy:

  • Assists in shaping plans for the town.
  • Develops a whole-system approach, which is embedded and implemented across all policies, strategies and services.
  • Includes an action plan for delivering outcomes.
  • Identifies the roles and responsibilities of each partner.
  • Determines how intelligence will be shared (this links with recommendations d, g and h)
  • Establishes and implements best practice.

j) That Members receive regular updates on how work is being progressed to integrate health and social care.

k) That those issues raised by My Sisters Place are referred to the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel for investigation.


ORDERED that the findings and recommendations of the Social Care and Adult Services 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 Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel's final report on Safeguarding and Children in Care and the Environment Scrutiny Panel's final report in respect of Bereavement Services.


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




The Chief Executive 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.



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