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Contact: Yvonne Harrison
Introduction and Opening Remarks
To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.
Mrs Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor, welcomed everyone to this meeting of North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet which was the fourth virtual Cabinet meeting held by the Authority following the introduction of regulations by the Government enabling local authorities to conduct their meetings remotely in the light of the current Coronavirus pandemic.
She referred to the introduction of new restrictions in the North East region to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the light of the increasing infection rates across the area. The restrictions had been granted by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care following approaches made by the leaders and elected mayors of the five Tyne and Wear local authorities, Durham and Northumberland County Councils and the North East Combined Authority.
The Elected Mayor also announced that following a further approach by the North East leaders and elected mayors, the Government had now agreed to amend those measures to allow families to continue their usual childcare arrangements.
To Receive any Declarations of Interest and Notification of any Dispensations Granted
You are invited to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests in matters appearing on the agenda, and the nature of that interest.
You are also invited to disclose any dispensation in relation to any registerable and/or non-registerable interests that have been granted to you in respect of any matters appearing on the agenda.
Please indicate any declarations of interests and/or dispensations verbally at the meeting to the Democratic Services Officer before leaving the meeting.
No declarations of interest were reported.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 3 August 2020 (previously circulated).
Resolved that the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 3 August 2020 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.
Report of the Young Mayor
To receive a verbal report on the latest activities of the Young Mayor and Young Cabinet.
The Young Mayor reported on the following activities in which she and Young Cabinet Members and/or Youth Councillors had been involved:
· The young people’s mental health wristbands and Z Cards had now been distributed to schools and colleges in the borough to be given out to students aged 11 to 18 years who were in school years 7 to 13.
· The Young Mayor had been invited to be part of the Young People’s Wellbeing Partnership Board. The Board was currently working on improving the wellbeing support in school for students. This complemented the Young Mayor’s own pledge to create better support in schools for mental health issues and work on improving and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.
· The Young Mayor and another young Cabinet Member had been chosen to design and create the International Youth Mayor Association website.
· Youth Councillor and Knife Crime Ambassador, Abigail, and the Young Mayor had recently attended a Safer North Tyneside Partnership Board meeting. Abigail was pleased to have been invited by the Elected Mayor to be part of the new BAME group.
· The Young Mayor had been invited to be part a new recognition scheme for volunteers in the borough.
· The Young Mayor had attended the North East Protect Our Future E-Convention’ which Member of UK Youth Parliament Abi had planned and hosted.
· At the last Climate Emergency Board meeting Abi had reported on the major concerns and possible solutions to some of the areas that had been looked at in the workshops. Abi had also been taking part in the ‘Act Now Leadership Programme’, which was run by the British Youth Council in partnership with Green Peace. This programme taught young people social action to help fight climate change. Abi had also been chosen by the British Youth Council to be part of the speaker’s session organised by Greenpeace. She had also been selected to represent young people in the country on climate at the All-Party Parliamentary Group.
· North Tyneside CCG had visited the Youth Council meeting to give a demonstration on the Livi app.
The Elected Mayor thanked the Young Mayor for the report.
To receive the second budget monitoring report for the current financial year which reflects the forecast financial position as at 31 July 2020.
Cabinet considered the second monitoring report outlining the 2020/21 financial position. It provided the latest indication of the potential revenue and capital financial position of the Authority as at 31 March 2021.
The report covered the forecast outturn of the Authority’s General Fund and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) revenue budget including management mitigations where issues had been identified; the delivery of 2020/21 approved budget savings plans; an indication of the impact of Covid-19 on Collection Rates and on the Collection Fund; the implications of Covid-19 for the Authority’s cash position; and an update on the Capital Investment Plan including details of variations and reprogramming that were recommended for approval.
The forecast overall pressure for the General Fund Revenue Account was estimated at £11.410m against the approved net budget. This was made up of a forecasted pressure of £0.781m on normal activities and £10.629m relating to the impact of Covid-19. The £0.781m pressure in the services was driven mainly by Health, Education, Care & Safeguarding reflecting the continued pressures in Children’s Services of £4.799m and Adult Services of £0.924m, partly mitigated by the contingency balances that had been created as part of the 2018/19 budget setting process and continued to be held centrally to reflect the on-going pressures in social care being felt locally and nationally.
Included in this projection was £3.929m of pressures in Corporate Parenting and Placements, £1.866m in Wellbeing and Assessment, and £1.060m in Integrated Disability and Additional Needs. The drivers for these pressures continued from 2019/20 were outlined in the report.
It was anticipated that the outturn forecast for normal activities would improve over the course of the financial year as planned remedial actions began to impact on both expenditure and income.
With regards to the impact of Covid-19, the main drivers behind the £10.629m shortfall were also within Health, Education, Care and Safeguarding where £13.699m was for increased costs to the Authority of supporting the market (£5.533m), impact on savings targets (£2.713m), additional demand (£2.110m), increased costs for children in care (£1.238m) and lost income within School Improvement (£0.873m).
Significant Covid-19 related pressures existed in Environment, Housing and Leisure, (£6.748m) due to loss of income in Sport & Leisure and Highways & Transport and in Commissioning & Asset Management through income lost within Catering (£4.260m).
Like all authorities North Tyneside was seeing a clear financial impact as a result of the pandemic and current indications were that the Covid-19 funding received to date did not cover all anticipated costs/loss of income. Discussions were on-going at both local and national level around the financing of the residual pressures expected as a result of Covid-19.
The report outlined the revenue grants which had been received during June and July 2020.
The total planned deficit for schools in 2020/21 was £6.689m. The Authority had been working with schools for a number of years with regard to the long-term strategic issue of surplus secondary places and the associated financial pressures which continued to be compounded by rising employment costs. As anticipated, 2019/20 was the ... view the full minutes text for item CAB153/20
To consider a report seeking approval of the proposed approach for the delivery of the Poverty Intervention Fund included in the Authority’s Budget for 2020/21 to enable support of families and individual’s to alleviate the impacts of living in poverty.
Cabinet received a report on the proposed approach for the delivery of the Poverty Intervention Fund which was included in the Authority’s Budget for 2020/21. As previously agreed by Cabinet on 29 June 2020, the overall aim of the Fund was to enable support to families and individuals to alleviate the impacts of living in poverty.
An assessment of evidence of how poverty impacted across North Tyneside, including the outcome of engagement with individual Cabinet Members and key external stakeholders, had been presented to the cross-party Steering Group in July 2020. Based on this evidence, the Steering Group had considered which key groups to target with the fund and what the impacts of poverty were on those groups.
The Steering Group had been presented with evidence on the impacts of poverty in North Tyneside as follows:
The Steering Group supported the proposed priority groups to be targeted through initiatives supported by the Fund. Based on the evidence-based discussion at the Steering Group it was proposed that the fund would be delivered in a phased approach, with the first phase focusing on four priorities:
It was also a priority for the Steering Group that these initiatives wherever possible be delivered in partnership with or by local organisations in particular from within the community and voluntary sector.
The following specific initiatives were proposed to be funded through the Poverty Intervention Fund to address the key impact of poverty on the priority groups for North Tyneside, further details of which were set out in the report:
· Poverty proofing the school day (initial allocation £172,755)
· Benefits take-up campaign and support (initial allocation £100,000)
· School appropriate clothing (initial allocation £253,845 based on current numbers of children on free school meals)
· Holiday food (initial allocation £200,000)
The Elected Mayor, Cabinet Members, the Young Mayor and partners welcomed the report and the opportunity the proposals presented to make a real difference to the day to day lives of those who needed support the most, particularly at the present time as the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic continued in the Borough.
Cabinet considered the following decision options: to agree the ... view the full minutes text for item CAB154/20
To receive a report which presents the outcome of a 6-week public consultation exercise undertaken on the proposed extension of Public Spaces Protection Orders; and to seek approval for the making of the Orders made on the 20 October 2017 for a period of 3 years.
Cabinet received a report on the outcome of the consultation undertaken over a 6-week period from 14 July to 24 August 2020.on proposals to extend the current Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) in the Borough for a further 3 years.
Details of the methods of consultation were set out in the report. The Authority had received 180 responses to the online questionnaire and a further 4responses by other means. Overall, respondents provided huge support to the proposal to extend the PSPOs.
In relation to dog controls:
In relation to alcohol controls 87% supported the continuation of the borough wide PSPO controlling the nuisance of on-street drinking.
In addition to the questions asked, respondents had also been invited to provide comments on each of the PSPOs which had led to 251 individual comments being made. These had been analysed to identify key emerging themes.
Themes that had emerged in relation to dog controls were the availability and use of bins; levels of enforcement; better signage; and making changes to the scope of the control excluding dogs from beaches (there was a mix of opposing views with some seeking a relaxation and others seeking an extension).
Themes that had emerged in relation to alcohol controls were reflections on alcohol-related disorder during the Covid-19 pandemic; levels of enforcement; and extending the scope to cover other environmental problems such as littering.
Two respondents had used the opportunity during the consultation to request that new PSPOs be considered to tackle specific nuisance in their local area.
A more detailed summary of the conclusions was included in Appendix 3 to the report.
North Tyneside was one of the safest places in England to live, work and visit. However, tackling environmental crime was a key priority of the Elected Mayor. Additional officer capacity had been introduced which included new community protection wardens and an environmental rapid response team. Also, a new CCTV vehicle had been introduced along with more CCTV cameras which were capable of being redeployed to tackle identified hotspots for anti-social behaviour and environmental crime.
Having legal powers available to deter environmental crime and to take action when it was appropriate to do so was key to ensuring that the borough remained a great place to live, work and visit. PSPOs provided the Authority with an important enforcement tool.
In the 2018 Residents Survey 48% of residents had highlighted a clean environment as being one of the most important factors to them in making ... view the full minutes text for item CAB155/20
To receive an update report on the delivery of the Council’s Ambition for North Tyneside and the projects to be delivered in 2020/21 and beyond.
Cabinet received an update report on the delivery of the Council’s ‘Ambition for North Tyneside’ that had been agreed on 26 November 2018 as a framework for the regeneration of the borough in line with the Our North Tyneside Plan and the themes of ‘our people’, ‘our place’ and ‘our economy’.
The report explained what had been achieved to date as well as setting out the planned activities across the borough over the next 12 months and beyond. To support the ongoing delivery of those schemes identified in ‘Our Ambition for North Tyneside’, there was an allocation of £2m per annum for the next five years within the Authority’s budget.
The report set out in detail progress made in each part of the Borough – South West; North West; North East; and South East – over the last 18 months, what was currently planned and what would happen next (subject to funding) and what the Authority would do, if it could, and when it could.
The plan contained a broad range of physical projects which developed North Tyneside as a place. However, North Tyneside was nothing without its people. It was the businesses and shoppers that made the town centres, the visitors, residents and businesses that brought to life the attractions at the coast and residents and visitors that filled the Borough’s parks and wagonways with activity.
Just as this programme was designed to be for all of North Tyneside it was designed for all of the people of North Tyneside wherever they lived. Many of the projects that had been delivered and would be delivered were shaped with that in mind. For example, the development of the hotel and restaurant at The Spanish City had been done in partnership to create a Work Academy that allowed residents who had limited experience of work to undergo training and then have a guaranteed interview. The proposals at Swan Hunters had at their heart, the delivery of new jobs on that site.
An initial breakdown of the proposed funding allocation was set out in the report, with the Authority’s financial commitment of £3.6m to support the delivery of the schemes in tranche 1 and £39m of external funding that had been identified.
Progress on the Our Ambition Plan would be monitored by the Deputy Mayor, and regular reports on progress would be reported to Cabinet. Property related projects would be dealt with via the Strategic Property Group chaired by the Elected Mayor. Investment projects were overseen by the Investment Programme Board, which was chaired by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources and included the Deputy Mayor. Specific project and working groups would be established to handle more significant projects with appropriate Elected Member and Chief Officer leadership.
The next steps would include further project development including refining delivery plans and funding mix; options on the major projects moving through appropriate governance; and finalising the Investment Programme based on a £10m budget over 5 years.
There were no decision options set ... view the full minutes text for item CAB156/20
To consider a report seeking approval to commence a housing and construction procurement exercise for suppliers of materials and sub-contractors delivered under the direct management of the Authority.
Cabinet received a report on the re-procurement of suppliers and sub-contractors following the expiry of the initial 2-year contract term following the transfer of the housing repairs, maintenance and construction service from Kier to the Authority.
The original contracts had an extension period built in, however it was deemed inappropriate to extend the contracts due to some market failures during the contract period and/or change to the Authority’s requirements.
Lessons learned from the previous exercise showed that there was a market for the services that the Authority required. The services procured in 2019 had been well received by tenants, with a seamless transition. High quality products had been maintained, and the team had engaged with suppliers and customers to pilot new products which had been well received.
It was intended that frameworks would be established with multiple suppliers, with larger packages of works being subject to mini-competition exercise. This would ensure value for money for the Authority. The frameworks would be for an initial term of either 2 or 3 years with an option to extend for a further year dependant on service requirements.
The following goods and services would be procured:
A new kitchen unit supplier was required and engagement would take place with tenants prior to the award of this contract.
Savings associated with the Construction Project and savings in the first year were circa £5.311 million. The spend within the borough had increased by 17% from previous years following the transfer of the service. It was hoped to surpass this in the re-procurement exercise.
A large majority of material suppliers were large national companies. However, it may now be possible to increase the local supply chain by re-packaging the offer to the market. The Covid-19 crisis had changed the supply chain, and some suppliers were now unfortunately in administration. The Authority had supported the supply chain where possible using supplier relief, business rates relief and the discretionary grant and would continue to engage with businesses and customers prior to commencing the tender exercise to ensure full understanding of the new emerging marketplace.
During the original procurement exercise engagement through social media had been successful with over 250 businesses attending events to understand the business on offer. This would be replicated as part of the re-procurement exercise. Virtual briefings would be provided together with a number of short ‘how to’ videos. Procurement pages and links to external organisations would be updated and would be easier to navigate. This would ensure smaller suppliers were able to tender.
The materials and services tender would support the Authority’s carbon reduction and recycling ambitions. Utilising the social value principles within the Procurement Strategy, the Authority would gain commitments of local employment and apprenticeships. This would contribute to the economic recovery of North Tyneside in the wake of the Covid crisis. The principles set out in the ... view the full minutes text for item CAB157/20
To provide an overview of the Authority’s closed complaints for the year 1 April 2019 - 31 March 2020 and to ensure compliance with the requirement to publish a report on complaints under the relevant statutory complaint legislation.
Cabinet considered a report which detailed complaint related activity during 2019-20 and which complied with the requirement to publish a report on complaints under the relevant statutory complaints legislation.
The Authority undertook millions of transactions with its 204,000 residents and 6.6 million visitors to the Borough throughout the year. Against that background, the number of complaints received by the Authority remained consistently low, reflecting the excellent services the Authority’s customers received and its ability to resolve swiftly any issues that did arise at the first point of contact.
The number of formal complaints during 2019-20 remained static compared to the previous year as the Authority continued to take a proactive approach to encouraging residents and service users to provide feedback. The Authority’s complaint leaflet entitled ‘How to complain about Council services’ was widely available in the Authority’s buildings and to download from the Authority’s website. It was also now easy for customers to contact the Authority on-line, and Social Care Service users were provided with a complaint leaflet at the first point of contact.
Customer satisfaction with the complaints process remained relatively high and the Authority continued to resolve the vast majority of complaints at Stage 1. The Authority welcomed complaints as valuable feedback from its customers and complaint outcomes provided valuable lessons to further improve and enhance the Authority’s services and procedures.
The Authority operated statutory complaint procedures for Adult Social Care
and Children and Young People’s Services and Public Health. It also
provided a corporate complaints procedure for all other services.
During 2019-20, the Authority had responded to Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) enquiries in a timely fashion and was well within the required timescale for response of 28 days. The LGSCO’s annual review of complaints for 2019-20 was detailed in the report at Appendix 2.
The Authority’s complaints service report for 2019-20 at Appendix 1 showed that the overall number of formal complaints had remained static in comparison to 2018-19 (1,070 complaints and 1,069 complaints respectively).
The number of social care complaints (relating to both Adult Social Care and
Children and Young People’s Services) had increased slightly from 97 in 2019-19 to 102 in 2019-20 (49 cases in Children’s Social Services and 53 cases in Adult Social Care).
A breakdown of the numbers and categories of complaints was provided in the report.
The Authority had proposed to establish a programme that aimed to improve customer services and to demonstrate that “we listen and we care”. This programme had four parts: Customer Promise, Brilliant Basics, Customer Focussed Services and Better Never Stops – a continuous improvement culture.
Better Never Stops would examine how the Authority collected queries, feedback and complaints. It would look at the quality and consistency of the Authority’s responses and how the feedback was used to gather and inform ongoing service delivery. The Authority would also develop the way its employees acted to drive up the standard the Authority had set itself and how to recognise and celebrate good customer service.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
Monday 19 October 2020 at 6.00pm.