Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board - Thursday 11th March, 2021 4.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Chris Lunn 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.


Minutes - Overview and Scrutiny Board (Extraordinary Meeting: Budget Consultation) - 27 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 164 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 27 January 2021 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


Minutes - Overview and Scrutiny Board (Call-in: Nunthorpe Grange Farm Disposal) - 29 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 140 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 29 January 2021 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


Minutes - Overview and Scrutiny Board - 11 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 182 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 11 February 2021 were submitted and approved as a correct record.


Executive Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Additional documents:


The Chief Executive submitted a report which identified the forthcoming issues to be considered by the Executive, as outlined in Appendix A to the report.  The report provided the Overview and Scrutiny Board with the opportunity to consider whether any item contained within the Executive Forward Work Programme should be considered by the Board, or referred to a Scrutiny Panel.




Executive Member Update: The Mayor pdf icon PDF 151 KB

The Mayor will be in attendance to update the Board on his aims and aspirations, progress made to date and to highlight any emerging issues relating to his portfolio.


The Mayor, Andy Preston, was in attendance at the meeting to update the Board on his aims and aspirations, progress made to date and to highlight any emerging issues relating to his portfolio.


As part of his update to the Board, the Mayor focused upon the Marketing and Communications aspect of his portfolio; the following points were made:


·        Marketing and Communications had progressed significantly well over the last twelve months, with reference being made to the work undertaken in respect of COVID-19; the work of the staff and team involved in this activity was highly commended.  The role of the marketing department would shift in light of the changes that COVID-19 had introduced, and the associated messages that needed to be conveyed.

·        The challenge that all Council teams had faced revolved around cultural change.  In terms of Marketing and Communications, changes within local media readership and the increased use of social media over the last number of years required cultural change.  It was felt that improvement within Local Government nationally was needed in order to maintain pace, however, the Council had made significant progress with this over the last twelve months. Through social media, the Council had had the opportunity to engage with a wider audience, to share goals and obtain feedback, which was taken on board.

·        Through the introduction of remote meeting meetings in response to the pandemic, Council meetings were broadcast on YouTube and Facebook Live, which was felt aided transparency and encouraged participation from the public.


Following the update, Members were afforded the opportunity to ask questions.


A Member praised the work of the staff, and sought clarification regarding the points raised around jobs.  In response, the Mayor clarified that he was referring to the use of social media to broadcast life-changing opportunities in respect of careers, new jobs and training.  It was indicated that many businesses within the town had raised issues around skills shortages and filling vacancies, which was felt to be a large problem for the town.  The Mayor wanted to see increased promotion of businesses and opportunities.  Reference was made to impending job opportunities to be created in the Grangetown area, which was excellent.  It was highlighted, however, that whilst there was positivity, challenge also needed to be borne in mind; the Council’s role in this would be to provide links between opportunities and potential employees.


In response to a query regarding 12-week wait times for the free collection of bulky waste, the Mayor advised that a 12-week wait was not the case.  It was explained that, like other Councils, if residents had a bulky item to be collected quickly, this would be undertaken for payment.  However, if payment could not be made, it would be collected free of charge, but there would be a longer wait time.


A member referred to the Marketing and Communications team and reiterated the praise given to the staff. It was commented that Councillors should advise the team of any news stories to enable them to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/94


Middlesbrough Council's Response to COVID-19

The Chief Executive and Director of Public Health will be in attendance to provide the Board with an update in respect of the Council’s response to COVID-19.


The Chief Executive delivered a presentation to update the Board in respect of the Council’s response to COVID-19.


The following information was provided:


  • In terms of responses to previous queries raised by the Overview and Scrutiny Board:


1.     What was the number of positive cases of COVID-19 amongst teachers and teaching assistants across Middlesbrough?  The figure from September 2020 up to 11 February 2021 was 310.  Currently, 51 pupils and 15 staff across all schools were isolating as a result of positive COVID-19 tests.

2.     Were those drivers, contracted by the Council to transport (vulnerable) children and adults, receiving vaccines? Whilst conversations had taken place with taxi drivers in regards to vaccinations, most were in relation to regular school transport, as opposed to vulnerable children and adults.  As taxi drivers were not listed within priority vaccination groups 1-4, and provision had been made previously (e.g. PPE, screens and face coverings), it was deemed that sufficient mitigation was already in place.  With the anticipated arrival of the mass vaccination centre in Middlesbrough on 22 March 2021, the Council would be looking to push people in particular occupations to attend for vaccination.

  • The latest local COVID-19 position, as at 9 March 2021, was 105.0 rate per 100,000 of the population (last 7 days); this had since reduced and currently stood at 90.
  • South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust COVID-19 data: hospital admission figures tended to follow a couple of weeks behind the infection figures; as at 10 March 2021, there were 65 people in hospital (14 in critical care).  Hospital planning was based on a maximum of 300 COVID-19 patients.
  • Vaccination update: in total, 46,099 people in Middlesbrough had received their first dose, which represented 32.7% of the population.  100% of those aged 70-74 had been vaccinated; 99% of those aged 75-79 had been vaccinated; and 95.4% of those aged 80+ had been vaccinated.  Chase-up work was currently being undertaken, with home visits being carried-out where required.
  • Details of the decisions taken by the Gold Command Group in January, February and March 2021 were outlined to the Board.
  • Lockdown exit planning: several work streams had been established to determine what work needed to be undertaken throughout this period up to June 2021, with Lead Officers assigned to each.  These work streams were:


-        Communications – aligning with national phased exit strategy;

-        Outbreak control (statutory responsibility to update plan) – maintaining testing/vaccinations and refreshing the Outbreak Control Plan;

-        Schools – assistance with testing, summer catch-up activity support, holiday hunger approach, etc.;

-        Business – support in town centre reopening arrangements, Tees Valley vs. Middlesbrough approach to exit arrangements;

-        Communities – support for residents and associated services; and

-        Council – reoccupation and re-induction of staff.


In light of the above, it was explained that consideration was also being given as to how those plans would link with the existing Recovery Strategy.


Following the update, Members were afforded the opportunity to ask questions.


A Member referred to statistics in respect of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/95


Final Report - Health Scrutiny Panel - Opioid Dependency: What Happens Next? pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Additional documents:


Prior to consideration of the report, the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board sought Members’ approval in respect of some submitted amendments that had been circulated; this was agreed.


The Chair of the Health Scrutiny Panel presented the Panel’s Final Report in relation to Opioid Dependency: What Happens Next?


The recommendations to be submitted to the Executive were:


a)     That the public health approach to drug dependence be continued and the benefits of introducing safe spaces in Middlesbrough for people to consume substances (drug consumption rooms) be further explored.  Drug consumption rooms have been successfully used elsewhere in the world (including in Europe and in Canada) for approximately 16 years and no one has ever died of a drug overdose in any of these facilities.  Middlesbrough could in the future be a pilot for the adoption of such an approach in the UK.

b)     That the local authority writes to the government to request that it reconsiders national policy in respect of Drug Consumption Rooms (DCRs).  Given that DCRs are a provable harm reduction tool that reduces the risk of overdose, improves people health and lessens the damage and costs to society.

c)     That a new capital funding bid for a 16-18 bedded detox and drug rehabilitation facility at Letitia House be submitted.  Public health benefits and financial savings could be achieved when compared to the current costs of funding individual 7-10 day detox programmes out of area.

d)     That funding for the Heroin Assisted Treatment (HAT) programme be prioritised by partners in South Tees and the current level of investment continued for the foreseeable future.

e)     That the local authority write to the relevant Minister highlighting the success of the Heroin Assisted Treatment Programme (HAT) in Middlesbrough and how it is a demonstrably effective way of treating drug addiction.

f)       That the high quality drug treatment facilities available in Middlesbrough are recognised and that the town develops as a Recovery Orientated System of Care (ROSC) further.

g)     That in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with drug dependency a proactive approach is undertaken to promote the town’s vibrant recovery community.  Middlesbrough is a town where recovery from drug dependency is possible, recognised and celebrated.  The town has outstanding substance misuse treatment services and innovative harm reduction initiatives in place.  Work needs to be undertaken to ensure Middlesbrough is recognised locally and nationally as a Recovery Town/City.

h)     That in respect of the areas for improvement put forward by Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust it is ensured that a number of measures are implemented including:-

-        That quick and reliable access to specialist Substance Misuse support is made available to the Community Crisis Team, Crisis Assessment Suite and Inpatient wards.

-        That Substance Misuse workers, Social Workers and other colleagues are included in the single point of access in Mental Health for joint triage/joint initial assessment.

-        That Substance Misuse workers attend joint meetings, as arranged by TEWV, including formulation and pre-discharge.

-        That Substance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/96


Final Report - Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel - Pest Control Services pdf icon PDF 508 KB


The Vice Chair of the Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel presented the Panel’s Final Report in relation to Pest Control Services.


The recommendations to be submitted to the Executive were:


a)     Consideration be given to Middlesbrough Council offering a low cost Pest Control Service to residential properties and whether this would provide an additional income stream to the service area.

b)     Investigate whether an amount could be included within the Council Tax charge to provide a pest control service to private residents without any additional fee.

c)     Promote educational messages about good house-keeping to prevent vermin infestations through the LoveMiddlesbrough magazine.


A Member queried whether it would be possible to marginally increase the cost of charging landlords through the Selective Landlord Licensing scheme, in order to provide a complimentary service to those areas with a high volume of landlords.  In response, the Vice Chair explained that this could potentially be an uptake to one of the recommendations.  It was explained that the Panel had observed that residential properties within Middlesbrough were being missed out at present.  Reference was made to a recent local press article that focused on fees charged by contractors, and to current processes being undertaken by Thirteen Group, which included cost sharing via rental costs.


AGREED that the findings and recommendations of the Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel be endorsed and referred to the Executive.


Overview and Scrutiny Board Call-in Outcome: Nunthorpe Grange Farm Disposal pdf icon PDF 135 KB


The Chair provided an overview of the outcome of the Nunthorpe Grange Farm Disposal Call-in.




Scrutiny Chairs Update

Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel - Councillor J. Thompson

Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel - Councillor J. Platt

Children and Young People’s Learning Scrutiny Panel - Councillor S. Hill

Children and Young People’s Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel –

Councillor L. Garvey

Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel - Councillor C. McIntyre (update to be provided by Democratic Services Officer)

Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel –

Councillor M. Saunders (update to be provided by Councillor B. Hubbard)

Health Scrutiny Panel - Councillor J. McTigue


The Scrutiny Chairs/Vice Chairs provided updates in respect of the work undertaken by their respective panels since the last meeting of the Board.




Any other urgent items which, in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting


A Member made reference to page eight of the minutes of the previous meeting (11 February 2021) and clarified comments made under agenda item ‘Scrutiny Chairs Update’.  Following brief discussion, the Chair advised that clarification had been obtained from the Head of Democratic Services, which was that if Scrutiny Panel Members were happy to meet when a meeting had been cancelled, this could be undertaken, but it would be on an informal basis and there would no minutes produced.




Date of Next Meeting– 8 April 2021


The next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board had been scheduled for Thursday, 8 April 2021.