Council Minutes

Wednesday, 27th April, 2016
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1AU
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

The Worshipful the Mayor (Cllr Ken Dixon); Cllr Helen Atkinson, Cllr Sonia Bailey, Cllr Paul Baker, Cllr Chris Barlow, Cllr Jim Beall, Cllr Derrick Brown, Cllr Carol Clark, Cllr Chris Clough, Cllr Robert Cook, Cllr Nigel Cooke, Cllr Gillian Corr, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Philip Dennis, Cllr Kevin Faulks, Cllr John Gardner, Cllr Lynn Hall, Cllr Elsi Hampton, Cllr Di Hewitt, Cllr Ben Houchen, Cllr Stefan Houghton, Cllr Barbara Inman, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Paul Kirton, Cllr Mrs Ann McCoy, Cllr Alan Mitchell, Cllr Mrs Kathryn Nelson, Cllr Steve Nelson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr Stephen Parry, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Lauriane Povey, Cllr Paul Rowling, Cllr Michael Smith, Cllr Andrew Stephenson, Cllr Norma Stephenson O.B.E, Cllr Mick Stoker, Cllr Tracey Stott, Cllr Laura Tunney, Cllr Matthew Vickers, Cllr Mrs Sylvia Walmsley, Cllr Sally Ann Watson, Cllr Julia Whitehill, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Norma Wilburn, Cllr Bill Woodhead and Cllr Barry Woodhouse.
Neil Schneider (CE); David Bond (Proper Officer); Julie Danks, Peter Bell, Jenna McDonald (ACE); Jane Humphreys (CS); Beccy Brown (HR,L&C); Reuben Kench (C,L&E); Jamie McCann (CS).
In Attendance:
Members of the public.
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Julia Cherrett, Cllr Michael Clark, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Cllr Lisa Grainge, Cllr Javed Mohammed, Cllr David Harrington, Cllr Mick Moore, Cllr Ross Patterson and Cllr Rachael Proud.
Item Description Decision
The Worshipful the Mayor welcomed everyone to the meeting and outlined the procedure for the recording of the meeting.

The evacuation procedure was also noted.

The Worshipful the Mayor reminded Members that the deadline was approaching to nominate an individual, community group or charity from their own wards to take part in the Community Lunch event on 12th June as part of the Queen’s 90th celebrations. Places were limited and would be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Members could nominate up to three people who they felt deserved a personal invitation to sit at the top tables at the Community Lunch, guests would receive afternoon tea and a ring side view of the much anticipated unveiling of The Stockton Flyer / Automaton.

There wasn't any specific criteria for a nomination, they could range from someone who had helped the community, volunteers or simply a family who had experienced hard times.
Councillors Helen Atkinson, Mrs Ann McCoy, Mrs Jean O'Donnell and Mick Stoker declared personal prejudicial interests in respect of agenda item 7 - Community Governance Reviews - Billingham Town Council and Elton Parish Council as they were members of Billingham Town Council. Councillors Helen Atkinson, Mrs Ann McCoy, Mrs Jean O'Donnell and Mick Stoker withdrew from the meeting and left the room during consideration of the item.

Councillor Lynn Hall declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item 7 -Community Governance Reviews - Billingham Town Council and Elton Parish Council as she was an elector for Elton Parish on the electoral roll, St John’s Church, Elton.
The minutes of the meetings held on 24th February 2016, 9th March 2016 (Special Meeting), 9th March 2016 and 6th April 2016 were signed by the Worshipful the Mayor as a correct record subject to the following correction:-

Correct the Council minutes of 24 February 2016 as follows:-

Page 7, Delete “Councillor Mrs Walmsley” from the list of those that voted against the amendment.
The Proper Officer informed Members that no Public Questions had been received.
RESOLVED that a Governing Body for the Learning and Skills Service be created.

1. Billingham Town Council be retained.

2. Elton Parish Council be retained and a process to elect Members be commenced, following final Council approval, but that if this process and any necessary co-option does not deliver a Parish Council that is quorate then the required action should be taken to secure the dissolution of Elton Parish and the abolition of the Parish Council.
RESOLVED that Councillors Sonia Bailey, Lynn Hall and Allan Mitchell be appointed to the statutory Joint Committee.

1. The above amendment the Executive Scrutiny Committee be agreed.

2. The above nominations to ANEC be agreed.
The Proper Officer informed Members that no Member Questions had been received.
7.00 pm - 7.20 pm


Consideration was given to a report that proposed the creation of a Governing Body overseeing Stockton Borough Council’s Learning and Skills Service, to strengthen the governance arrangements and enhance the high level scrutiny and challenge of the service. The Governing Body would be constituted as an advisory committee established to advise the executive on the discharge of its learning and skills functions.

This proposal responded to the requirements of the new Ofsted Common Inspection Framework and findings of recent Ofsted assessments of other local authority adult skills services.

Stockton Borough Council’s Learning and Skills Service was a ‘good’ (Ofsted grade 2) provider of post 16 education and training, delivering across the Borough, often in the most disadvantaged communities. The service aspired to become an ‘outstanding’ provider within the borough and one area for development highlighted in the 2014-15 self-assessment report, was to further improve the governance arrangements. The service already received scrutiny and challenge through existing Council-wide performance monitoring and through the input of the Corporate Management team to the development and approval of annual service plans. Service plan priorities were included in wider Council plans which were themselves subject to scrutiny and challenge by CMT, Cabinet and the whole Council. In addition, the Lead Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health met with the relevant Director and Service Manager and received reports on progress and achievements. However, this scrutiny and challenge was embedded in a range of informal and formal systems.

When inspecting providers, Ofsted made judgements against the Effectiveness of Leadership and Management and they were placing much more emphasis on the robustness of governance. Similar providers to Stockton Learning and Skills Service had recently been downgraded, often to a grade 4 ‘inadequate provider’ based on their lack of strategic overview and governance arrangements. Inspectors evaluated the impact of leadership and governors’ work in developing and sustaining an ambitious culture in the provider, including at all sites and in subcontractors, and the impact this had on the aspirations of learners and staff and learners’ outcomes.

It was believed it would strengthen the position in relation to future inspection if the Council was to formalise and refocus the dispersed governance approach into a new Governing Body. The Governing Body, constituted as an advisory committee, would advise the executive on the discharge of its learning and skills functions. It was envisaged that the Governing Body would meet termly to scrutinise the performance of the service and provide support to address areas for improvement. The Governing Body would make recommendations to the Director of Culture, Events & Leisure and the Learning & Skills Service Manager on strategic and performance matters and report to Cabinet annually. This would make the high level, strategic and systematic challenge and leadership of the adult learning and skills agenda clear and explicit.

The Governing Body would need to include approx. 6-10 members with relevant skills sets e.g. education, employer relations, and strategic planning. Governors would need to ‘know the organisation well’, receive regular and detailed reports, and ‘support/challenge the strategic leadership. They would also need to know the key strengths and areas for improvement of the service and be able to demonstrate a positive impact on raising the quality of provision.

The method of recruitment and selection of governing body members would need to be agreed in detail, but would incorporate an element of open invitation and application, alongside invited individuals identified as holding the relevant skills, and nominated representatives of key partners.

The suggested membership was:
Relevant Lead Cabinet Member (Chair)
Up to 2 Representatives of local employers
Up to 2 Representatives of Further Education colleges or other adult skills providers
Up to 3 Individuals selected for particular areas of expertise, e.g. schools, community, voluntary sector, social enterprise.

The Director of Culture, Leisure & Events, and the Assistant Director of Schools and Special Educational Needs would attend the Governing Body as advisors.

The committee might co-opt or invite other individuals to support specific pieces of work and invite officers of other services to contribute to discussions as advisors.
Consideration was given to a report that presented final recommendations following consultation on draft proposals in respect of community governance reviews of Billingham Town Council and Elton Parish Council.

Following receipt of a petition which called for the abolition of Billingham Town Council, a Community Governance Review commenced. The opportunity was also taken to conduct a Community Governance Review in relation to Elton Parish Council.

A Community Governance Review enabled a principal council to review and put in place new arrangements, making changes to current community governance systems and structures, for example by creating, merging, abolishing or changing parish or town councils in the review area.

The Government had emphasized that the aim of a review should be to bring about improved community engagement, more cohesive communities, better local democracy, and result in more effective and convenient delivery of services.

The timetable for the review was approved by Cabinet and Council and recognized that a review had to conclude within 12 months from receipt of a valid petition (received 26 June 2015).

The key stages of the reviews remaining were as follows:-

Final recommendation to Council 27.04.16
Final Recommendations and reasons for the decision published and stakeholders informed on 28.04.16
Recommendations implemented from 28.04.16
Implementation of any proposed abolition of Billingham Town Council and Elton Parish Council would be dependent upon the time it would take to finalise and publish a re-organisation order.

An integral part of the review was to consult with the local government electors for the area under review and any other person or body, including a local authority (i.e. the Town Council) that appeared to have an interest in it.

The first stage of the consultation was detailed within the report.

The responses to the first stage of the consultation and feedback were also detailed within the report.

Comments from other stakeholders had been previously presented to Cabinet and Council and were summarised within the report.

It was noted that Billingham Town Council was created following a petition for a new Parish Council which received Full Council support in 2005.

Following Cabinet and Council consideration, public notices were displayed and information was included on the Council’s website indicating the Council’s intention to retain Billingham Town Council and Elton Parish Council. No further representations had been received.

Cabinet considered the matter at their meeting held on 23 March 2016 and a copy of the relevant minute extract was attached to the report.
Consideration was given to a report on the Better Health Programme - Joint Scrutiny Committee Appointments.

The Better Health Programme was a large scale transformation programme covering a range of NHS clinical services in the Durham and Tees Valley area. The programme was being delivered by the six relevant NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in partnership. Public engagement work was on-going, in advance of formal consultation on a range of proposals from November.

The report set out an update on the programme and outlined the process for statutory consultation with Health Scrutiny. A Joint Health Scrutiny Committee consisting of representation from all affected Councils was required to respond to the consultation.
At its Annual Meeting, held on Wednesday 3 June 2015, the Council approved appointments to its Committees, Panels and Joint / Outside Bodies for 2015/19.

The following further amendment had been received and was presented for Council consideration:-

Executive Scrutiny Committee

Remove - Councillor Paul Baker
Add - Councillor Paul Rowling

A vote took place and the amendment to the Executive Scrutiny Committee was agreed.


The Council had also now received notification that ANEC had ceased in its previous form and was constituted differently as below.

Effectively this meant that the Council needed to make appointments to the new look outside body ANEC Ltd; replacing any previous appointments made. They were asking for appointments to the following and nominations had been received as below:-


1. Leaders & Elected Mayors Group - Councillor Bob Cook

2. Collaborative Procurement Sub-Committee - Councillor Bob Cook

3. North East Culture Partnership - Board - Councillor Norma Wilburn

4. Resources Task & Finish Group - Councillor Bob Cook

The nominations were agreed.
The Leader of the Council gave his Forward Plan and Leaders Statement.

It had been a busy period since the last meeting on the 9th March 2016. Of course there had been the Annual Meeting on the 6th April and Cabinet had met twice on the 23rd of March and the 21st of April, when Cabinet considered:

• The Peer Challenge review of Personalisation
• An update on the delivery of Probation Services in the Borough
• A proposal for Xentrall to deliver ICT hosting services for Northumberland County Council
• The Scrutiny review of Consultation
• The results from the 2015 Residents survey
• The 3rd Quarter Welfare Reform update
• The 2016-17 Childcare Sufficiency Assessment for the Borough
• An update on schools in the Borough and the review of post-16 education
• The Scrutiny review of School Organisation and Admission Arrangements
• An update on The Globe
• The establishment of a Governing Body for the Learning and Skills Service
• The Community Governance Reviews of Billingham Town Council and Elton Parish Council.
• The scrutiny review of kerbside waste collection
• The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy
• A report on Sustainable Drainage Systems
• An update on the Youth Offending Team
• The Highway Infrastructure Asset Management policy

Cabinet would meet again on the 19th of May when Cabinet would consider:

• A report on a New Model for Adult Care Services
• The Scrutiny Review of Access to Services by people with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism
• The Scrutiny Review of School Parking
• The Scrutiny Review of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
• A report on the Impact of White Paper on services for Education
• The revised Home to School Transport Policy
• An update on the Development of a Hotel Proposal on the North Shore Gateway Site
• An update report on the LSP
• A report on the review of VCSE Support
• A update on the Volunteering Strategy

The Leader of the Council looked forward to seeing Members at the next Council meeting on the 28th of June, in the meantime the Leader of the Council was looking forward to the Mayor’s Sunday Service and Parade on the 15th of May and work was well underway on 2 major events in June - The Celebration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday in the High Street on the 12th of June which would see a huge street party and the Stockton Flyer emerge from the plinth for the very first time. This would be followed on the 23rd of June by the start of the 4 day Stockton Cycling Festival which would also play host to the British Cycling Road Championships.

Also on this day the electorate of the Borough and the rest of the UK had an important decision to make regarding the EU. The Leader of the Council hoped other groups on the council would come to the same conclusion that Labour Group had and see that the best interests of the Borough would best served by remaining in the EU.

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