Welcome to the February 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
 
“It’s been a strange year with the pandemic I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all staff for the work you are doing to ensure we are able to deliver Council services for the residents of the Borough during these challenging times.
 
“This quarter I have been concentrating on the 2021/22 budget. Protecting the areas and people most in need will remain our focus as we tackle ongoing reductions in Government funding.
 
“Cabinet set out proposals to plug a £2.5million budget gap opened by rising costs of social care for vulnerable adults and children.
 
“The Government has claimed that councils are being given greater spending power of 4.5 percent, what they’re not telling people is that they expect councils to raise 85 per cent of that money by increasing Council Tax and by charging an Adult Social Care Levy on top.
 
“The national crisis in funding for adult social care continues to leave local councils with millions of pounds worth of budget pressures, with no national funding solution in sight.
 
“Cabinet members considered a proposal to increase Council Tax by 1.9 per cent as well as a proposal to phase in the Government’s Adult Social Care Levy over the next two years when they met on Thursday February 18.
 
“It’s about time the Government grasped the nettle and fully-funded the cost of adult social care services. Instead they’re passing the buck for a national problem to local taxpayers – families who are already struggling – and leaving councils to take the flak.
 
“I think we’d all agree that looking after vulnerable adults isn’t an optional thing – these are critical services that cost a lot of money to deliver and in fact a huge chunk of our budget is spent in these areas.
 
The 2021 Census
 
“The census was a unique survey of all people and households in England and Wales that happens every ten years. The census collects in-depth information about us and the society we live in. It informs us of our current and future needs and helps local authorities plan public services.

“Cabinet approved a local authority partnership plan (LAPP) which forms the blueprint for census activity.
 
Migration of Land Charges Register
 
“Stockton is the first North East local authority to migrate our Local Land Charges Register to HM Land Registry after working very closely with them on a programme of work which officially started in January 2020. The migration has provided an opportunity to make our processes more efficient, improve the quality of our data and modernise the service so that we can improve it for our residents.”
 
Deputy Leader
Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture
Councillor Jim Beall
 
Public Health
 
“Understandably, the focus has continued to be on the nigh year-long COVID-19 pandemic. Our small Public Health Team have led on local outbreak management providing advice and support both inside and outside the Council whilst ensuring appropriate and safe arrangements for commissioned services such as drug and alcohol and domestic abuse.”
 
Leisure and Culture
 
“All our leisure facilities operated on our behalf by Tees Active are closed under national lockdown – as are the Borough’s cultural venues. Stockton Splash, Billingham Forum and Thornaby Pavilion are being utilised for Community COVID Testing.
 
“ARC and Tees Music Alliance have been able to create a limited but popular online offer.
 
“The keys for the fully restored Globe Theatre will be handed to our management partners, Ambassador Theatre Group, in April and there is an exciting programme of acts already booked for later in the year with healthy ticket sales to a public eager for it to open.
 
“Christmas Stockton Sparkles market and events were cancelled but nevertheless the town was still illuminated. A very popular, innovative Santa on Wheels brought welcome cheer to all parts of the Borough.
 
“Although our libraries are closed for normal business, we are offering a Click & Collect service and have expanded our e-book capacity to meet increased demand. Online activities for all ages are extremely popular and we have subscribed to PressReader, a newspaper and magazine online service free for library members.”
Cabinet Member for Access, Communities & Community Safety
Councillor Steve Nelson
 
Safer Stockton Partnership update
 
“Every three years the Safer Stockton Partnership undertakes a Crime and Disorder Audit and, after public consultation, produces a Community Safety Plan which sets out how agencies within the partnership intend to achieve targets in crime reduction. It will also be interesting to see how/if the public’s concerns have changed compared to last year in light of Covid-19.
 
“The consultation can be accessed online here: https://consultation.stockton.gov.uk/public/cs_1/cs/safer_stockton_partnership_plan_2021. Consultation closes on Friday 30 April 2021.”
 
Community Safety
 
“Between April and December 2020 there were 11,478 publicly reported offences, a decrease of 1,499 crimes against the previous year, an 11.6 per cent reduction. 
 
“Ten Covid Marshals are now working in the Borough in support of Covid engagement and compliance.”
 
Communities
 
“There are now 42 live online processes on the Goss Digital Platform and there is 100% customer satisfaction with telephone calls from randomly surveyed customers following the introduction of a new telephone system.
 
“The Gift of Communities – The Community Partnerships Christmas Programme 2020 was put together quickly and proved very popular with residents.”
 
Licensing
 
“Licensing officers undertook the first successful prosecution for unlicensed dog boarding resulting in a total of £1650 in fines and costs.”
Cabinet Member for Children & Young People
Councillor Lisa Evans
 
“The staff in Children’s Services continue to work tirelessly during the Covid-19 pandemic and their work continues to adapt and innovate to ensure the safety of our children.
 
“We have received excellent feedback from our social care teams, residential homes, foster carers and some staff in special schools for their inclusion in the vaccination programme. This is helping to reduce anxiety, get staff back to work and business closer to normal!
 
“Our school staff continue to demonstrate their commitment and work hard to deliver online learning to all children across the Borough and the number of vulnerable and key worker children who are attending school has increased significantly from the first lockdown.
 
“There continues to be a huge amount of work to distribute vouchers for free school meal children and to those families in need ahead of the half term holidays and we will also be embarking on a programme of holiday activities for our children and young people.
 
“A full review of the EHCP format has been done over the last 12 months. Content, processes, procedures and practice have been revised and refreshed. Person centred planning approaches continue to be a training focus across Education, Health and Social Care. This will enable children/young people with SEND and their families to have meaningful and aspirational discussions with professionals involved in shaping their support.
 
“I am pleased to announce that our Youth Offending Team have recently received an outstanding rating from Ofsted. I would like to congratulate and thank our staff for their incredible work in achieving this excellent accolade.
 
“l would also like to congratulate Dave Willingham on his recent appointment to Assistant Director of Children’s Help and Support. I wish him well in this new role.”
Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Housing
Councillor Nigel Cooke
 

“It's been yet another very busy three months, with so much going on in my areas of responsibility.

 

“The restoration and redevelopment of Stockton’s treasured Globe Theatre is now almost complete. The contractors and renovators have done a fantastic job and when the public have the opportunity to see inside the theatre, I know they will be absolutely amazed at how this wonderful Grade II art deco theatre has been restored to its former glory.

 

“Readers can keep abreast of latest developments by liking the Globe’s Facebook page.

 

“I recently unveiled our bold vision for the Borough’s town centres, which included some new exciting CGI visual images of what we are proposing for the Castlegate site. The announcements included the publication of our master plans for Billingham, Norton, Thornaby, Ingleby Barwick and Yarm town centres. Our plans have been warmly welcomed and praised by commentators both near and far. The plans for Stockton featured in The Guardian.

 

“Click the link to see more details of the announcements here.”

Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care
Councillor Ann McCoy
 
“During this second lockdown our dedicated Social Care staff, working with our partners and the voluntary sector, have again ensured services especially for the most venerable have been maintained.

“Staff have continued the innovations they had developed during the first lockdown. These innovations have been well received by those who usually access and rely on Day Services. We will review and consider if they should continue in the future.

“Support has been offered to carers including informal carers, families and friends.

“The vaccination programme for care homes and the order in which the care homes in the Borough is prioritised has been determined nationally. We have been offering support to all the care homes and look forward to some positive outcomes.

“Care homes have been following national guidelines on safety to allow residents to receive visits, this has had a positive effect on their mental health and wellbeing.

“Rosedale care home is a Registered Designated Setting following the new guidelines on hospital discharges. Those being transferred must have had a negative Covid test 24 hours prior to discharge.

“Adult Care staff have been working on the hospital wards to facilitate and ensure there are smooth and stress-free discharges and transfers from hospital.”
Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport
Councillor Mike Smith
 
Crematorium
 
“The Crematorium has seen slightly higher figures (in early 30s) of services over the past couple of weeks although still well within our normal operations, it is quite expected in the present climate.”
 
Waste management
 
“The new waste slot booking system is live and has received good feedback.”
 
Waste collection
 
“Social distancing requirements had caused issues with this service, but the creation of operational bubbles has helped limit           movement between crews.”
 
Community transport
 
“With some children at school and some not, this gave us challenges around transport and school crossing patrols but both were managed.
“Due to government changes to the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR)  legislation, from 31 July 2021, we are unable to provide transport for those pupils who are not eligible under policy. This is government guidance.”
 
Transport
 
“Mandale Bridge abutments work will now not start until April 2021. A number of smaller Integrated Transport movements will also not be completed this financial year due to COVID working discussions ongoing with Middlesbrough Council around future funding for the Transporter and Newport bridges.”
 
Environment
 
“A Tees-wide campaign is being introduced to encourage other authorities to promote the Warm Homes fund as delivery has been challenging due to COVID.”
Cabinet has met four times this quarter. As well as considering regular items, members have considered the following items:
 
December 17, 2020

  • Scrutiny Review of Business Support and Engagement
  • Scrutiny Review of Council Tax Support Scheme
  • Bright Minds Big Futures Update
  • Council Plan Six-Monthly Update
  • Minutes of Various Bodies
  • 2020 Event Summary and 2021 Memorial Lighting Calendar
  • Scrutiny Review of Public Consultation
  • Scrutiny Review of the Cost of School Uniform
  • Annual Report of the Governing Body for the Learning and Skills Service 
 
January 21, 2021
 
  • Census 2021
  • Financial Update and Medium Term Financial Plan
  • Procurement Plan / Higher Value Contracts
  • Indigenous Growth Fund Update
  • The Sycamores Redevelopment Update and Proposals for Elm House Site
  • Local Land Charges Migration
  • Minutes of Various Bodies
  • Scrutiny Review of Fly-Grazed Horses
  • Scrutiny Review of Planters in Residential Streets
  • Members Allowance Scheme - Report of Independent Remuneration Panel
  • Supplementary Planning Document Adoption 
 
February 18, 2021
 
  • Reshaping Our Town Centres
  • Medium Term Financial Plan and Strategy
 
February 25, 2021
 
  • Annual Audit Letter
  • Brexit - Support for Businesses Beyond Transition
  • Minutes of Various Bodies
  • Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy Review
  • Procedure for Admission of Pupils to Primary and Secondary Schools in September 2022
 
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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