Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board - Tuesday 22nd February, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual meeting

Contact: Caroline Breheny 

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 - 18 January 2022 pdf icon PDF 216 KB


The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 18 January were submitted and approved as a correct record.


Executive Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 298 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 pdf icon PDF 241 KB


The Executive Member for Culture and Communities and previous Executive Member for Education, Cllr Stephen Hill, was 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 Director of Children’s Services and Head of Achievement were also in attendance.


The Executive Member for Culture and Communities explained that he had previously held the post of Executive Member for Education, prior to the recently introduced changes to the Executive portfolios, requested by the Mayor. The first part of this update to the Board would therefore focus on some of the major achievements and events he had undertaken whilst he held the post of Executive Member for Education.


The Executive Member advised that as Members were aware SEND provision (Special Educational Needs & Development) was a major statutory duty undertaken by the Council, and Middlesbrough had a particularly high SEND need (especially in children under 5) compared with other Local Authorities. This need had been exacerbated by COVID, with children being away from school and from each other for long periods of time, thereby stalling educational progress and the development of social skills, which had lead to a significant increase in referrals and requests for assessments, thereby adding significant pressures on the service area. However, despite these pressures during 2021, completion of EHCPs (Educational, Health and Care Plans) remained high, with the 20 week statutory timescale being met in 99 per cent of cases, making Middlesbrough the 9th best Local Authority in the country in this regard.


The Board was advised that as part of the education department’s ongoing commitment to SEND provision, the Cleveland Unit, which was formerly housed in James Cook University Hospital, had moved to the Hemlington Initiative Centre on Cass House Road. Initially this was meant to be a temporary move but it had now been confirmed that this would be a permanent move, which was fantastic, as it was a brilliant facility in Hemlington, with lots of space and specially designed rooms and gardens for the children who attended, all of whom have varying degrees of learning difficulties and disabilities.


In terms of school exclusions it was explained that unfortunately, as another result of COVID there had been a significant rise in the number of children permanently excluded from school in Middlesbrough. The current figure was 32, however this figure was expected to rise further. The department was currently working with two schools, the police and the social care department to develop an enhanced support programme for the excluded pupil, their parents and school to combat this increase. The Executive Member advised that he had been assured that any findings from this work would be shared with all schools, and members would also be made aware of how this work was progressing, either through the Executive Member for Children’s Services or the relevant scrutiny panel.


The Executive Member explained that those pupils who were looked after were served by our virtual school,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/70


Chief Executive's Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB



The Chief Executive was in attendance and provided an update to the Board in respect of the following:-


·         COVID-19 update

·         Quarter Three corporate performance update

·         Governance issues in Local Government

·         Executive update


In terms of the latest local COVID-19 data, as at 17 February 2022 the rolling seven-day rate of cases per 100k of the Middlesbrough population was as follows:


  • 73 new cases had been added to the system on 17 February 2022;
  • 519 new cases had been diagnosed in the last seven days;
  • 368.10 rate per 100k of population (last seven days); and
  • 319.20 COVID-19 deaths per 100k population.


Reference was made to the quarter three corporate performance update and it was advised that although the figures appeared to show a dip in performance, for example Executive Actions completed 72 per cent in quarter three against 97 per cent in quarter two, this had been due to a lag in performance reporting over the Christmas period rather than an actual dip in performance. This would be improved and an accurate position on performance would be presented as soon as possible.


It was noted that work was ongoing to develop a refreshed Strategic Plan workplan (activities and associated delivery plans), which would be presented to Executive for approval in April 2022.


For information purposes the Board was informed that nationally there had been a number of Councils recently which had recently been identified as having governance failings. This had led to direct Government intervention and a loss of local control. It was emphasised that there were no concerns in respect of governance issues at Middlesbrough Council. However, it was important that Members were aware of the risks and actions taken by Government in respect of governance failings in other areas. A brief synopsis of the recent findings associated with four Councils were provided and these included findings in respect of Liverpool, Sandwell, Wirral and Slough.


In relation to the Executive decisions taken recently it was noted that a number of reports had been considered. These included; the corporate performance update; the Revenue and Capital budget outturn position update; the Revenue Budget, Council Tax and Medium Term Financial Plan and Capital Strategy 2022/23; the Virtual School Peer Review and the appointment of External Auditors.  


A number of reports were expected to be considered by Executive in March 2022 and these included; the Final Report of the Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel on the Recruitment and Retention of Staff within Adult Social Care; a progress update on the Children’s improvement journey; approval for a tender pipeline 2022/2023; approval of the Transport and Infrastructure Capital Programme 2022/23 and an update on the refurbishment and fit out of Fountain Court.


The Chair thanked the Chief Executive for his briefing and contribution to the meeting.





Scrutiny Chairs Update

Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel

Councillor J. Platt (Chair)


Children & Young People’s Learning Scrutiny Panel

Councillor D. McCabe (Chair)


Children & Young People’s Social Care and Scrutiny Panel 

Councillor D. Davison (Chair)


Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel

Councillor C. McIntyre (Chair)


Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel

Councillor S. Walker (Chair)


Health Scrutiny Panel 

Councillor D. Davison (Vice Chair)



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




Revenue and Capital Budget - Projected Outturn position as at Quarter Three 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 855 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Finance and the Head of Financial Planning and Support provided an update to the Board; the following points were highlighted:


  • The information detailed in the report was separated into two elements: COVID-19 related and non-COVID-19 related;
  • The 2021/22 Revenue budget for the Council was £116,492,035. The Council’s outturn position for 2021/22 for non-Covid-19 elements was projected to be an overspend of £3.225m (2.8%). It was anticipated that there would be a potential financial pressure due to COVID-19 of £1.821m in 2021/22. The total projected outturn at the end of the year was £5.046m, an increase of £0.891m from the position reported at Quarter Two;
  • The total projected overspend in 2021/22 would be covered by the full utilisation of the Social Care Demand Reserve of £0.5m and the Children’s Services Demand Reserve of £0.732m, which were created at the end of 2020/21. The remaining £3.841m of the total projected outturn pressure would be funded from the £4.512m Covid Recovery Reserve, which was created during 2020/21 to cover the potential costs arising from the Covid-19 recovery in 2021/22 and future years;
  • Paragraphs 105-125 of the report detailed expenditure against the Investment Strategy, which had a revised budget of £64.814m.  The current latest estimated outturn for 2021/2022 was £59.035m at year-end;
  • Paragraph 126 of the report indicated that borrowing had reduced by £1.0m in Q3 to £205.2m;
  • Total reserves were detailed in paragraph 133 and 134, which showed projections for 2021/22 to be £35.9m.    
  • Appendix 2 showed the revised Investment Strategy which would be used from this point onwards.


The Chair thanked the Director of Finance for his attendance and contributions to the meeting.


AGREED that the information provided be noted, and the agreed actions be undertaken.



Corporate Performance Update: Quarter Three 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Additional documents:


The Strategy Delivery Manager provided an update to the Board, which included the following points:


  • This Q3 update was in respect of the Strategic Plan, which covered the period June – September 2021, and which was presented to Executive on 14 February 2022;
  • On 24 February 2021, full Council approved a Strategic Plan for 2021-24, setting out nine strategic priorities for this period. At its meeting of 11 May 2021, the Executive agreed an associated set of outcome measures linked to these priorities and a supporting workplan to deliver sustained improvement up to and beyond 2024.
  • At the end of Q3, 11 of 24 (45.8%) Strategic Plan outcomes were either improving or static against the Q2 position, with three measures (12.5%) worsening. With many measures updated annually, there was no trend information for 10 outcome measures (41.7%) at the present time. 
  • At the end of Q3, Covid-19 had resulted in significant fluctuation in some measures and so targets for outcome measures (largely involving multi-agency working) were to be reviewed during Q4 and revised targets subsequently presented to the Executive for approval in the Year-End performance report. Crime and anti-social behaviour remained of concern at the end of Q3. Anti-social behaviour was at its lowest level in five years, with levels of crime continuing to be the issue. Work and discussions continued with Cleveland Police to bring crime down, which included the need to increase and reinforce police numbers across the town.  
  • Strategic risks – the total number of risks on the Strategic Risk Register reduced to 28 from 30 at Q3, comprising 18 high risks and 10 medium risks. No new risks were added or scores amended during the quarter.


The Chair thanked the Strategy Delivery Manager for their attendance and contribution to the meeting.


AGREED that the information provided be noted, and the agreed action be undertaken.