Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board - Wednesday 20th September, 2023 4.30 pm

Venue: Mandela Room

Contact: Scott Bonner 

No. Item


Welcome and Evacuation Procedure


The Chair welcomed those present and described the fire evacuation procedure. Due to unforeseen circumstances the Chair proposed re-ordering the agenda to ensure all invited guests could be present at the meeting and would seek the Board’s approval for this at the appropriate time.


Declarations of Interest


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


Minutes - Overview and Scrutiny Board - 26 July 2023 pdf icon PDF 161 KB


It was raised the Minutes from the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting of the 26 July 2023 contained several typographical inaccuracies. It was agreed these would be reviewed and brought back to the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.


Notwithstanding the typographical errors identified, the minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 26 July 2023 were submitted and approved as a correct record.




ORDERED: In accordance with Council Procedure Rule No. 4.57, the Committee agreed to vary the order of business to deal with agenda item 6, Middlesbrough Boundary Review 2023, as the next item of business.  


Middlesbrough Boundary Review 2023 pdf icon PDF 368 KB

The Head of Legal Services (People) will be in attendance to present the first draft of the Council’s Submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission.

Additional documents:


The Head of Legal Services (People) advised Members the submitted report was the first draft of the Council’s submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission, as agreed at OSB’s meeting of 26 July.


Members were reminded the review had commenced in May 2023 and was happening partly due to electoral inequalities in some parts of the town. The draft submission was the culmination of phase one of a two-phase process, with the second phase beginning in November 2023. It was commented an email had been sent to all Members advising them they could submit their own proposals, in addition to the Council submission, the deadline for which was 31 October 2023. Following any input from OSB, the final version of the Council’s phase one submission would be brought to OSB’s meeting on 18 October.


The submission template was attached at Appendix 1 of the report. The submission still required minor update, namely if OSB agreed the submission was a joint Member/ Officer submission as well as the governance section requiring input from the Leadership Management Team. It was noted any reference to the Constitution was the new Constitution approved by full Council on 18 September 2023.


The draft submission recommended Councillor numbers increase by one to a total of 47. Members queried if any analysis had been carried out in relation to Marton East Ward, as Stainton and Thornton Ward had been mentioned several times. It was clarified analysis was carried out across the entire town and while some wards were notable for their population changes, there was no requirement to be ward specific at this stage.


A Member pointed out the Council had previously reduced its Councillor numbers by two following a previous boundary review. While the draft submission was generally sound, it was felt a rationale for the previous reduction was needed. The Head of Legal Services would take this away for consideration but commented the previous reduction was based on electorate numbers presented at the time. The Chair pointed out previous wards, including Middlehaven, had been significantly overrepresented and this had been part of the reason for Councillor number reductions.


The Mayor pointed out there was an important difference between population and electorate. He commented some wards in east Middlesbrough were potentially overrepresented. While there were arguments to reorganise certain wards based on statistics, there were also identity related factors that needed to be considered. The Chair suggested that, given its population change, could the proposed additional Councillor be added to the Stainton and Thornton Ward. The Head of Legal Services confirmed decisions of that nature would be driven by the Boundary Commission, however it was likely that area would be examined as part of the overall process.


The Chair also commented while there had been significant population changes in the Stainton and Thornton area, this was predicted to be more pronounced in the future and queried should the Council recommend an increase of two councillors. It was confirmed the town had been examined as a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23/14


Scrutiny Chairs Update

·         Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel - Councillor J. Walker (Chair)


·         Children & Young People’s Scrutiny Panel - Councillor E. Clynch (Chair)


·         Environment Scrutiny Panel - Councillor J. Ryles (Chair)


·         Health Scrutiny Panel - Councillor J. Banks (Chair)


·         Regeneration Scrutiny Panel - Councillor I. Blades (Chair)


The Chair invited each Scrutiny Panel Chair to advise the Board about activity in their respective Panels.


The Chair of Health Scrutiny informed Members the Panel continued their review into dental health care, particularly the impact of Covid-19. This review remained important as it was extremely difficult to secure dentist appointments. The Chair of OSB, as Vice Chair of Health Scrutiny Panel, was invited to update OSB on Teesside University’s initiative of providing free dental care. Patients could be referred to the state-of-the-art service by their respective dentist. The Dean of the Faculty had been invited to attend the Health Scrutiny Panel to provide an update on its operations.


The Chair of Health Scrutiny also advised OSB the Panel had chosen two topics to consider, namely preventable deaths and obesity. The headline figures for each topic were some of the worst in the country, especially in terms of preventable deaths. Between the two topics there was lots of work to do.


The Chair of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel advised OSB the Panel had met on the 18 September decided to consider School Attendance and Allocation School Places as their main topics, as well as an update on Children’s Services finances. The Panel’s next meeting was scheduled for 30 October.


The Chair of the Environment Scrutiny Panel advised the Panel had met on 12 September and decided to consider Waste Management, Community Councils and wider Community Engagement as their main review topics. It was expected the Panel would receive updates including those on Flood Management, Toxic Chemicals in the River Tees, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and PREVENT. While the Panel considered the issue of Grass Cutting it decided this would be considered as part of the Waste Management review. The Panel’s next meeting was scheduled for 9 October.


The Chair of the Regeneration Scrutiny Panel advised OSB the Panel had met on 6 September. The agenda for that meeting considered the Local Plan and the Panel’s prospective work programme. Given its importance, the Panel decided an update on the Local Plan would be considered at every meeting. It was stated the presentation slides delivered at the meeting could be made available upon request. The first review topic for the panel would be Planning which, as a service, was suffering from a back log of work due to a shortage of Planning Officers. The second review topic was the delivery of a cultural agenda with little to no budget with a third, possible, review being the power of Housing Associations. 




Executive Member Update: The Mayor pdf icon PDF 362 KB


The Chair welcomed the Elected Mayor and Chief Executive to the meeting and invited the Mayor to deliver his presentation.


The Mayor thanked OSB for the opportunity to appear before the Board. He explained this was his first appearance before OSB and the second would be as the portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Public Health. As part of his portfolio the Mayor was also intending to appear at the Health Scrutiny Panel.


The Mayor identified the main areas of his presentation which included ‘Hot Topics’, the Council’s Section 24 Notice, with corresponding statutory audit recommendations, and the Council Plan. It was explained the Section 24 Notice had taken up a considerable amount of the Mayor’s time. It was important to address the concerns raised in the notice as non-compliance could have negative consequences for the Council.


Aside from working on the Section 24 Notice the Mayor identified four areas he described as ‘Hot Topics’. The first being the creation of a Poverty Strategy. By creating this strategy, the Mayor was hopeful life chances could be improved in Middlesbrough. The second ‘Hot Topic’ was the Social Value Charter. Intended for local businesses, and requiring the Council to lead on it, this was based on three tenets: to employ locally, use local suppliers and be involved with local communities.


It was important the Council embedded the Charter’s values, using tools such as the Locality Working model. Once embedded in the Council’s ethos the Charter would demonstrate its commitment to using local suppliers. It was hoped the Social Value Charter would be in place by the end of the year with all local businesses committing to the values contained in it. The Mayor also explained that, once businesses adopted the values of the Charter, they could adopt an optional third commitment. An example of an optional commitment was using the Council’s 50 Futures Programme to enhance a workforce. The Mayor was keen for businesses to adopt the Social Values Charter and to take ownership of its principles. The Mayor cited AXA as a recent example of a business demonstrating social values with their contributions to foodbanks. 


The Mayor explained his third ‘Hot Topic’, Health and Equality, crossed both his roles as Mayor and Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health. Health was a crucial factor in people’s lives. It was pointed out Middlesbrough had some of the worst health outcomes anywhere in the UK. It was also explained there were significant disparities in health outcomes between Middlesbrough’s electoral wards, with some being considerably worse than others. An example was the Brambles Farm area. However, there was not the same focus on this area for poor health outcomes in the same way as other areas received focus for high levels of Anti-Social Behaviour. In some areas there were generational health inequalities, and it was important Members were able to identify such inequalities so they could be targeted, and improvements made.


The fourth ‘Hot Topic’ was the creation of Family Hubs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23/16


Setting the Overview and Scrutiny Board's Work Programme - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 315 KB

The Overview and Scrutiny Board will be asked to consider suitable topics for inclusion in its Work Programme for 2023/24, using the prioritisation aid at Appendix 1 of the report.


A report proposing the 2023/24 work programme for OSB was submitted for consideration.


The suggested scrutiny topics in the report were:


·        Homelessness

·        Cyber Security


Members were advised the review into Homelessness would be the first topic examined by the Board. This was a continuation of a topic started by the Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel. The topic would be considered around OSB’s existing work schedule and work was ongoing to secure relevant witnesses.


A Member highlighted their suggested work topic regarding the electoral canvass was not included in the report. It was confirmed this was an oversight and that an updated report to include the afore mentioned suggestion would be brought to the next meeting of OSB on 18 October 2023.


A Member also queried if, in relation to the proposed Cyber Security topic, the Council had a Disaster Recovery Plan. The Chair commented this would be examined as part of the review.




1.     A further OSB Work Programme report be brought back to OSB to include a member suggestion of the electoral canvass.

2.     Notwithstanding the omitted suggestion the OSB Work Programme 2023/24 report be approved.


Scrutiny Work Programme 2023/2024 pdf icon PDF 438 KB


The Democratic Services Officer submitted a report, the purpose of which was to invite the Overview and Scrutiny Board to consider each scrutiny panel’s work programme for the 2023/2024 Municipal Year.


The topics put forward for each scrutiny panel were as follows:


Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel


In-depth reviews:

·        Staying Put agency - looking at adaptations and ensuring older people stay in their own home for longer.

·        Hospital discharge.


Short Review:

·        Care homes and DDA regulations.



·        Regular updates on CQC inspection and quarterly improvement plan.

·        Tees Safeguarding Adults Board.

·        Update on previous reports.


Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel


In-depth reviews

·        School Attendance.

·        Allocation of School Places.


Topic for Updates / Task and Finish Group Activity

·        Financing of Children’s Services.



·        South Tees Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (STSCP).

·        Update on Previous Investigation (SEN review undertaken by former Education Scrutiny Panel).

·        School Exclusion Statistics.

·        Ofsted Updates.

·        Performance Information.


Environment Scrutiny Panel


In-depth reviews:

·        Waste Management (full review).

·        Community Councils and Wider Community Engagement (full review).



·        Update on Off Road Bikes review (previous panel review).

·        Flood Risk Management (statutory review).

·        Toxic Chemicals in the River Tees/Crustacean Deaths Working Group (statutory review).

·        RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers (statutory review).

·        Prevent and Channel (statutory review).

·        Community Safety Partnership (statutory review).


Health Scrutiny Panel


Topic carried over from 2022/23:

·        Dental Health and the Impact of Covid-19.


In-depth reviews:

·        Avoidable Deaths and Preventable Mortality.

·        Obesity.



·        Women’s Health Services (including the development of women’s health hubs).


Regeneration Scrutiny Panel


In-depth reviews:

·        Planning Capacity.

·        How Middlesbrough Council can fund Culture in the future.

·        Housing Association Properties (if time allows).


ORDERED that the topics put forward by the scrutiny panels for inclusion in the 2023/2024 scrutiny work programme be approved.


Executive Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 179 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.


ORDERED that the information presented in the report be noted.


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




Date and Time of Next Meeting


The Date and Time of the next meeting of OSB was confirmed to be 18 October 2023 at 4.30pm.