Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Bernie Carr
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.
The minutes of the Council meeting held on 25 May 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.
The Chair welcomed Councillor Ian Blades to his first meeting of the Council. Councillor Blades was elected as Councillor for Berwick Hills and Pallister Ward on 30 June 2022.
Questions from Members of the Public (if any).
There were no valid questions submitted within the required timescale, from members of the public for this meeting.
Mayor's Statement and Report
The Chair advised that as the Mayor had submitted apologies, there was no report from the Mayor for this meeting.
The Chair invited Members to raise items for general discussion arising from the Information Booklet of Executive Member reports which detailed activities carried out within the respective Executive Member portfolios (Section 1), Executive decisions taken (Section 2) or to be taken where known, prior to and following the meeting (Sections 3 and 4).
Question on Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health, Public Protection and Digital Inclusion report
Councillor Higgins in relation to Covid-19 Update
Councillor Higgins advised that she was surprised that there were not any up-to-date figures in relation to the number of Covid-19 cases in the town. Councillor Higgins also commented on the lack of availability of vaccines.
Councillor Coupe advised that he was not aware of any shortage of vaccines in the town. He advised that he had recently received up to date figures in respect of the number of Covid-19 cases and the number of people that were in hospital because of Covid-19, and he would share the figures with all members of the Council.
Question on Executive Member for Culture and Communities report
Councillor Dean in relation to Homes for Ukraine
Councillor Dean queried regarding the figures for the number of people from Ukraine that were being hosted in Middlesbrough and whether any comparison had been carried out in relation to other towns that were the same size as Middlesbrough.
Councillor Dean also queried regarding whether the families had been well received, were happy and settled, and whether English lessons were being provided.
Councillor Hill advised that at the current time, 30 people were still waiting to travel to Middlesbrough. He advised that he respond to Councillor Dean’s other queries in due course, following the meeting.
Questions on Executive Member for Environment report
Councillor P Storey in relation to Waste & Green Collections
Councillor P Storey advised that a year ago, the Council had promised to provide an alley cat refuse vehicle for the Linthorpe Ward, however, to date, they had still not received the vehicle.
Councillor Cooper advised that there had been issues regarding vehicles breaking down and problems with accessing spare parts for the vehicles, but he was not aware of the Council’s intention to purchase a new vehicle.
Councillor Storey stated that she had been advised that the Council intended to purchase a new alley cat vehicle for use in Linthorpe Ward.
Councillor Cooper advised that an order had been submitted, but he was unable to advise on a specific date regarding when the new vehicle would arrive. He stated that Councillor Storey would be notified once the vehicle had arrived.
Councillor Cooke in relation to Waste & Green Collections
Councillor Cooke advised that the Council currently collected unwanted fridges and mattresses that had been reported on separate days, but they had committed to providing a complete clean-up so that all the items could be taken away at the same time, but this had not happened.
Councillor Cooper advised that two different vehicles were required to pick up fridges and mattresses. There ... view the full minutes text for item 22/21
The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board presented a report, the purpose of which was to provide an update on the current position regarding progress made by the Overview and Scrutiny Board and each of the individual Scrutiny Panels.
ORDERED that the report be noted.
There were no urgent items submitted within the specified deadlines for this meeting.
The Chair announced that three questions had been received from members of the Council. The detail of the specific questions was included at Agenda Item 10.
Question 1/2022 - Councillor Saunders to the Executive Member for Environment regarding the cost to Middlesbrough Council on taxis for children who require a taxi to take them to school.
The Executive Member for Environment advised that there was a statutory requirement for the Council to provide transport for vulnerable children. The Council looked to provide best value in the provision of transport to vulnerable children.
The Executive Member provided members with detailed information regarding the number of children using the transport, the types of transport used such as buses, taxis, or minibuses. The costs of each type of transport and details of the tendering process. The Executive Member advised that he would email the information after the meeting.
Question 2/2022 – Councillor Wilson to the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Children’s Services regarding how the youth service will tackle anti-social behaviour.
The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Children’s Services advised that the Council had a range of different Youth Services in Middlesbrough, some of which were directly commissioned by the Council. This included The Linx Youth Project who offered open access Youth Clubs and provision across Middlesbrough for all young people to access, Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation who worked with young people in schools to support them with transitions, and The Junction who worked directly with young people who were vulnerable and required one to one support.
The Junction also delivered detached youth work whereby the Youth Workers went directly onto the streets and estates and engaged with young people. This type of youth work was focused in areas where there was anti-social behaviour.
The Council worked closely with the Police and Community Safety Teams to make sure that these Youth Workers were in the right areas of Middlesbrough. In addition to the Youth Services that the Council funded, there was a range of other Voluntary and Community sector youth services who were working with young people across Middlesbrough though church groups and other organisations.
For those young people who were identified as being involved in anti-social behaviour, the Council had a range of other services including the Neighbourhood Safety Officers and Youth Offending Services who aimed to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour.
Question 3/2022 – Councillor McIntyre to the Executive Member for Culture and Communities regarding the Executive Member’s personal experience of visits to some of our cultural venues and what can be done to improve them?
The Executive Member for Culture and Communities advised that he had visited all the Council lead cultural community spaces such as the Dorman Museum, Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Middlesbrough Theatre, Teesside Archives. Newham Grange Farm, My Place, all the major parks and community hubs and libraries, in addition to several non-Council venues such as MIMA, Ubuntu and Ormesby Hall, all of which formed part of the cultural partnership.
The Council’s venues ... view the full minutes text for item 22/24
Consideration was given to Motion No. 153, moved by Councillor Branson and seconded by Councillor Hellaoui of which notice had been given in accordance with Council Procedure Rules No. 53-60 as follows:
Toxic chemicals in the River Tees
In recent weeks, there has been a growing concern over the effects of toxic chemicals in the Tees Estuary, which have had to a significant impact on crab and lobster numbers.
There has been some dispute between DEFRA and independent experts in respect of this.
In view of the uncertainty over the cause and the potential impact on the marine environment, we ask the council to agree to:
The Chair invited Councillor Branson to speak to the Motion.
Councillor Branson stated that the issue had already been highlighted in the press. There had been mass morbidity of crabs and lobsters in the Tees Estuary and it was having a major impact on fishing catch. There had been protests by local fishermen and there had been concerns from dog walkers regarding the effect on the health of dogs when walking on beaches.
There had been 2 separate investigations carried out. The investigation carried out by DEFRA was not able to identify the cause, but they referred to the presence of algae bloom in the sea. They thought this could be the cause of the issue as it lead to oxygen depletion. DEFRA were unable to discover any toxicity in the water. DEFRA relied on satellite pictures to identify the location of the algae bloom; they did not carry out any physical tests.
The findings of DEFRA were challenged by the fishermen and the Whitby Commercial Fishing Association, and they commissioned a marine biologist, Tim Deere-Jones to carry out an independent investigation. Mr Deere-Jones discounted the investigation by DEFRA regarding the presence of algae bloom because for it to be present, the water would need to be over 68% fahrenheit and the temperature in the sea did not reach those levels.
Mr Deere-Jones identified the presence of a chemical called pyridine in the water around the Tees Estuary. He carried out an investigation into the levels of pyridine in the crabs and discovered that it was seven times higher than the level found in crabs in the south of England. The conclusion of Mr Deere-Jones was that the issue was caused by dredging.
Councillor Branson stated that the true cause of the problem needed to be ascertained. The ... view the full minutes text for item 22/25
Notice of Urgent Motions (if any)
There were no Notice of Urgent Motions submitted within the specified deadlines for this meeting.
Council received a report which sought nominations for appointment, following resignations from Committees and vacancies that remained outstanding following the Annual meeting.
The report included a list of current vacancies on various committees and an outside body and nominations were put forward at the meeting by individual members.
ORDERED that the following vacancies allocated in accordance with the wishes of the political groups, be approved by Council:
LIVE WELL – SOUTH TEES HEALTH BOARD
2 Vacancies – No nominations received
CHIEF OFFICER APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE
1 Vacancy – Councillor Grainge appointed
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S LEARNING SCRUTINY PANEL
1 Vacancy - No nominations received
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S SOCIAL CARE AND SERVICES SCRUTINY PANEL
1 Vacancy - No nominations received
CULTURE AND COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY PANEL
1 Vacancy – Councillor Nugent appointed
CORPORATE HEALTH AND SAFETY STEERING GROUP
1 Vacancy – No nominations received
1 Vacancy: Councillor Gascoigne appointed
OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY BOARD
1 Vacancy: Following a vote Councillor C Hobson appointed
SOUTH TEES HEALTH SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
1 Vacancy: Councillor Rooney appointed
TEES VALLEY HEALTH SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
1 Vacancy: Councillor Blades appointed
TEESSIDE PENSION FUND COMMITTEE
1 Vacancy: Councillor Wilson appointed
1 Vacancy: Councillor Thompson appointed
NORTH EAST REGIONAL EMPLOYERS’ ORGANISATION (NEREO)
1 Vacancy: Councillor Cooper appointed
The Director of Legal and Governance Services and the Mayor submitted a report which provided Council with an update with regard to all urgent decisions that had been taken under the urgency rules.
ORDERED that the report be noted
A report was submitted by the Executive Member for Finance and Governance and Director of Legal and Governance Services and Monitoring Officer regarding an update to the Council Constitution.
The Executive Member for Finance and Governance advised that at the last meeting of Full Council, the Update to the Constitution Report was deferred due to concerns raised by Members that the Monitoring Officer was able to make minor amendments to rectify typing errors, name changes etc, or where there were legislative requirements to the Constitution, without member approval.
The Constitution and Members’ Development Committee held on 15 June 2022, proposed to amend the current Monitoring Officer delegation to read;
“Minor amendments may be made by the Monitoring Officer in conjunction with the Chair of the Council and the Executive Member for Finance and Governance, to ensure that the Constitution complies with all relevant legislation, together with such other amendments as the Monitoring Officer may be authorised to make by Council”.
The following amendments to the Council Procedure Rules were proposed:
Council Procedure Rules
Amendment to Paragraph 65 of the Council Procedure Rules
If 12 councillors present at the meeting demand it, or if a motion related to a decision regarding the approval of the annual budget, the council tax or the issuing of the precept, the names for and against the motion or amendment or abstaining from voting will be recorded and entered into the minutes. A demand for a recorded vote will override a demand for a secret ballot (which can be used when voting for positions on committees).
Cancellation of Council Meetings
Amendment to Paragraph 12 of the Council Procedure Rules
In order to provide clarity, it was proposed that the text regarding Paragraph 12 –
Cancellation of Meetings, of the Council Procedure Rules be amended to include:
Once the proper officer has given notice and summons of a meeting, the Chair, or the Vice Chair in the Chair’s absence, (or the Monitoring Officer if they are satisfied that there is no appropriate business to be considered at the meeting), can postpone, re-arrange, or cancel a meeting of Council, provided:
(a) twenty-four hours-notice of the cancellation of the meeting is given; and
(b) that the reason for cancellation is given.
Chairs, or Vice-Chairs in the Chair’s absence, of the relevant committee can postpone, re-arrange, or cancel meetings of a committee. A meeting of the Council or its committees or sub-committees may not be cancelled or postponed after the meeting has been duly convened.
Inclusion of Group Leader Role Profiles within the Constitution
The Group Leader Role Profile (appendix 1) to be included in the Council’s
Constitution at Part 6 – Codes and Protocols.
Replacement of Senior Management Chart
The updated version of the Senior Management Chart should be inserted into the Constitution at Part 5 – Management Structure.
Key Decision Threshold
For clarification purposes, the amount of the key decision threshold, £150,000
(taking into account the lifetime costs or savings of the project), had been ... view the full minutes text for item 22/29
A report was submitted by the Executive Member for Finance and Governance and Director of Legal and Governance Services and Monitoring Officer regarding paper-lite and remote meetings.
The Executive Member for Finance and Governance presented the report. The report requested Council to consider the implementation of a four-month trial of paper-lite
meetings, meaning that all councillors would access their committee papers through
To ensure all concerns in the implementation of this pilot were addressed, it was proposed that members would be offered guidance, support, and training alongside a
degree of flexibility for members to print off their own meeting papers, either at home,
through a multi-functional device within the Town Hall, or request that a copy be posted out.
Council was also asked to consider its stance on retaining the flexibility of remote
committee meetings for non-decision-making meetings.
Following a vote. It was ORDERED that:
I. A four-month trial of paper-lite meetings be held for all Council, Executive or any other Council meeting, Panel or Working Group by embracing the current technology available to councillors and officers.
II. That face-to -face meetings be resumed for all Council constituted formal committee meetings including scrutiny and advisory committees. This would not preclude ‘experts’ such as foster carers (Corporate Parenting Board) or health professionals (Health scrutiny) attending remotely but all Committee members would be required to attend the meeting in person. This would be reviewed should further government guidance or legal clarity can be achieved.