Welcome to the November edition of our Cabinet Briefing e-bulletin, which provides a quarterly round-up of activity in each of our Cabinet portfolio areas.
Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
Councillor Bob Cook
 
Managing Director appointment
 
“The Council formally appointed Julie Danks as Managing Director in September. She has served the authority for more than 30 years and brings vast knowledge and experience to the role.
 
“She knows the organisation and the Borough inside out and her background in local government finance will be invaluable in the years ahead. I’m sure she’ll continue to be a great success in helping us drive forward our ambitions.”
 
Apprentice Recruitment
 
“The Council set out to recruit to over 40 new apprentices to work across a range of services. The approach to recruitment and selection was innovative and proved extremely successful with the appointment of 42 enthusiastic apprentices who are looking forward to a rewarding career and a chance to support the people of the Borough."
 
Ombudsman Annual Review
 
“In September, Cabinet considered a report on the Ombudsman's annual review letter for the Council for 2018/19. Of 48 enquiries received, the Ombudsman made decisions in 43 cases with only 13 of these resulting in a detailed investigation. Of the 13 investigations, five complaints were upheld. All recommendations made by the Ombudsman have been implemented."
 
Audit Letter and Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP)
 
“Mazars LLP had issued an independent unqualified audit opinion on the Council's financial statements for 2018/19 and they concluded that:
 
  • ‘the Council had put in place proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources’
  • ‘The MTFP position beyond 2019/20 is very uncertain as much depends on the outcome of the comprehensive spending review, fair funding review and the measures that will be taken in relation to the future operation of the business rates system. However, it seems unlikely that the overall financial position for the Council will improve sufficiently to allow it to defer any of the difficult decisions needed. Decisive action to bridge the budget gap over the medium term is a key priority for the Council.’"
 
Smarter Working
 
“The People Select Committee’s Task and Finish Group has completed a review examining the Council’s office accommodation within the context of the Smarter Working programme and the future needs of the workforce.
 
“Cabinet agreed a number of recommendations including one that the Council should further explore options to create a single building for office accommodation as further work is needed to fully investigate the financial and development requirements of this.”
 
Deputy Leader
Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture
Councillor Jim Beall
 
Leisure and Culture
 
“There has been a varied and busy Autumn programme of events including:
  • the prestigious Great North City Games bringing world class athletics, including our own Richard Kilty, to the heart of Stockton Town Centre as well as excellent primetime coverage on national TV
  • a Spooky Halloween happening at Preston Park with just short of 3,000 affordable tickets sold
  • our free Fireworks display drawing an estimated crowd of 40,000 people of all ages to enjoy a sporting themed spectacle
 
“We can look forward to an exciting Christmas festive season offering starting with the launch of Stockton Sparkles on Thursday 28 November with the lights switch on at 6.30pm. There will also be a free-to-ride Victorian funfair for families to enjoy.
 
“We have undertaken a refurbishment of the seating and carpets at Billingham Forum making for a more comfortable and pleasant customer experience.
 
“I was very pleased to attend Stockton Central Library when representatives from our Bright Minds, Big Futures awarded them Approved venue status for being young person friendly - the first in the Borough to receive this.”
 
Health
 
“Warm Homes Healthy People 9 was launched on 2 October with a focus this year on the recognition of the valued role of carers in the Borough. Funded by Public Health, the annual October to March multi-agency award-winning scheme targets the most vulnerable households whose health and wellbeing is at greater risk from the cold.
 
“Over the last 8 years, nearly 3,000 households have been directly supported, with around 1,500 specific measures including 716 boiler services, repairs and replacements, and just under £3million of unclaimed benefit entitlements accessed for vulnerable individuals.”
Cabinet Member for Access, Communities & Community Safety
Councillor Steve Nelson
 
“The recent CQC inspection of OneCall found the service to be “good” in every assessment area, that people were protected from abuse and that appropriate measures had been put in place to reduce risks to people’s health, safety and welfare.
 
“Great partnership working and planning meant that over the period 22/10 to 6/11 the number of incidents reported to the council and police reduced by almost 20% from the previous year.
 
“I was proud to again help host the annual staff awards ceremony which took place for the first time at the Watersports Centre. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to say a personal thank you on behalf of residents to our staff for all their efforts.
 
“The number of licensed premises that have applied for and been awarded certificates for satisfying the criteria set in the Council’s bespoke “Setting the Bar” scheme is now at 30 after the latest certificates were awarded in November. It is very positive to see so many establishments engaging in the scheme.
 
“The Tees Credit Union “Own Comforts” scheme is up and running providing furniture, televisions and more. It’s an end to end process - member chooses item and applies for a loan and when approved it all gets delivered to them. It’s definitely worth checking out to compare with the more expensive options on offer elsewhere.”
Cabinet Member for Children & Young People
Councillor Lisa Evans
 
Children in Our Care Consultation Event
 
“I was delighted to attend the most recent Children in our Care Consultation event at the Billingham Family Hub. It was great for councillors to spend time with our young people, discuss topics important to them and seek their views on the services we provide.
 
“As part of the event both councillors and the young people prepared an afternoon tea to serve to councillors attending the afternoon session. I would like to thank councillors for attending and I’m sure they would agree it was an excellent event."
 
Schools Investment programme
 
“Our Schools Investment programme continues to progress well with lots of our schools, early years and SEND provision benefitting from substantial investment. I was delighted to attend the opening of the new Sixth Form block at Egglescliffe School recently alongside Dr Andrew Aldrin, son of astronaut Buzz, to open the new building named and dedicated to Mike Collins.
 
“I look forward to continuing to see the improvements around the Borough and how they will improve the lives of our children and young people."
 
Primary School Applications
 
“Applications are now open for primary schools across the Borough for children starting school in September 2020. This is an important time for children and I urge parents to apply early to have the best chance of securing a place in their desired school.
 
“The deadline for applications is 15 January 2020 and letters informing parents and carers of their school offer will arrive on 16 April 2020.”
Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Housing
Councillor Nigel Cooke
 
“It’s been yet another very busy three months with regards to the Regeneration & Housing portfolio.
 
“We have commenced a series of public consultations on the regeneration of our town centres - seeking the views of residents and stakeholders. The Stockton town centre consultation has just come to a close and I am really pleased that so many people participated. Officers are currently analysing the responses. The view of the public is really important to me and is something we will reflect on when finalising the second round bid for the Government’s Future High Streets Fund which we will be submitting in the new year.
 
“Work on Stockton’s Grade II listed art deco Globe Theatre is now moving on at pace. As I am writing this, two large cranes are on site, lifting in 200 tonnes of steel into place. I am really looking forward to the reopening of the fully restored and refurbished venue in late 2020.
 
“It is also very pleasing to see that work has commenced on the exciting new housing development on Victoria Estate (behind Splash & Norton Road). Having a large new community living within a couple of minutes’ walk from Stockton High Street is going to enhance footfall in the town centre.”
Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care
Councillor Ann McCoy
 
“We are working closely with businesses, including public houses, shops and the Hampton by Hilton hotel, to make Stockton town centre ‘dementia friendly’.

“I was delighted to attend the presentation of certificates to the businesses that have met the criteria. There will be another presentation soon as more businesses become ‘dementia friendly’.

“A very successful event was held in Preston Park to celebrate 100 years of nursing services for those with Learning Disabilities. It was a fitting tribute to all those who have dedicated their lives and careers to improving the lives of people with Learning Disabilities and their carers.

“I attended a conference organised by the Tees Wide Adult Safeguarding Board. The conference focused on understanding exploitation.

“We will work with our partners to ensure that there are procedures in place to prevent and deter people who seek to exploit others. We will give confidence and encouragement to those who need to disclose and require our help whatever the exploitation and whatever situation they find themselves in.

“I am pleased to report that we have been nominated for Adult Social Care Authority Of The Year and one of our Social Workers has been nominated Adult Social Worker Of The Year. This is something we are all very proud of because providing excellent services for adults and carers and the vulnerable in our Borough is a priority for us.”
Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport
Councillor Mike Smith
 
Civic Amenity Site
 
“The current contract with Suez for the Household Waste Recycling Facility (HWRF) terminates in August 2020. There is a project group established to review potential options."
 
Crematorium
 
“Usage of the facility has been greater than anticipated. Up to 22 services per week conducted and comments from Funeral Directors and service users have been very positive."
 
Fleet
 
“In May 2020 we will take delivery of a new fleet of refuse collection vehicles including an electric one after a successful trial."
 
Transport
 
“The Council have funded a community bus service for Stillington, Whitton, Carlton and Redmarshall villages due to the removal of commercial services.
 
“The final Outline Business Case for a new Tees Crossing has been submitted to the Government for consideration.
 
“The Council has also submitted funding bids to external bodies for improvements to Billingham Beck and Mandale bridges and improvements to Billingham train station to provide step-free access to the platform."
 
Environment
 
“Annual greenhouse gas emissions data has been published. There has been a 11.5% reduction in 2018/19, saving £166,804 and a 50.1% reduction since 2010, or 15,867 tonnes less per annum, saving over £1.1million in the last three years.
 
“September generated our 1 millionth kilowatt hour of renewable energy since installing our first solar photovoltaics scheme in 2012 which saves us over £20k per annum by generating electricity.
 
“The annual fuel poverty rate was published with a reduction from 13.4% of households to 11.3%, that’s 1,637 less households in fuel poverty, the lowest rate in the Tees Valley.
 
“The recent ‘Big Community Switch’ registered 349 new households in October 2019 with an average annual saving of over £200 per household. 7,930 households have now registered.
 
“Warm Homes Healthy People launched on 1 October 2019 for a ninth winter supporting vulnerable households stay safe and warm.”
Cabinet has met three times this quarter. As well as considering regular items, members have considered the following items:
 
September 12, 2019

  • Targeted Action Area Progress Report
  • 2019 Apprenticeship Programme Update
  • Customer Feedback and Complaints Policy
  • Financial Update and Medium Term Financial Plan (2019/20 Q1)
  • Investors in People (IIP) Annual Review 2019
  • Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Complaints 
  • Customer Service Excellence
  • Tees Valley Lettings Partnership 
  • Local Authority Governors on School/Academy Governing Bodies
  • Scrutiny End of Term Report 2015-2019
  • Supplementary Planning Documents
 
October 17, 2019

  • Annual Audit Letter
  • Corporate Peer Review
  • Reaccreditation for North East Charter Plus for Elected Member Development
  • Procurement Plan - Higher Value Contracts
  • Support to the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector 
  • Economic Climate Update
  • Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2019
  • Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) Local Area Inspection
  • School Organisation Plan 2019
  • School Performance Report
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Report 2019
  • Annual Report of the Director of Public Health 2018/19
 
November 14, 2019
 
  • Bright Minds Big Futures - The Big Plan 6 Month Update
  • Scrutiny Review of Smarter Working in Stockton-on-Tees - Accommodation and Buildings
  • Council Plan Mid-Year Update Report 2019-20
  • Procurement Plan - Higher Value Contracts
  • Adoption Tees Valley Update
  • Inspection of Local Authority Children's Services (ILACS) - May 2019
  • Local Authority Governor Nominations
  • Affordable Loan Scheme for Vulnerable Homeowners
  • Annual Fuel Poverty Estimates and Affordable Warmth Measures across Stockton-on-Tees 2018/19
  • Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy Consultation 
  • Wynyard Master Plan
  • Tees Valley Future Waste
     
For Cabinet agendas, minutes, and decision records in full, visit the egenda pages here.

Cllr Bob Cook, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Municipal Buildings, Stockton,

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