Agenda item

Executive Member reports


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 the Mayor’s Executive Member report


Councillor Uddin in relation to Looked After Children


Councillor Uddin queried whether foster carers had been invited to take part in the Life-story work and the Berri training that had recently been delivered to staff? He thanked the foster carers for their commitment with regard to looking after children. He also congratulated the fostering/adoption team on securing three Adoption Orders this month.


Councillor Uddin also referred to the Adoption Tees Valley Annual Report 2020-2021 which reported that, in total 17 children had been placed on a fostering for adoption basis, prior to the Court authorisation to place for adoption, and he congratulated the teams involved in the fostering/adoption process on their efforts.


The Mayor stated that he joined Councillor Uddin in congratulating the foster carers for assisting in looking after children in care. Children thrived better in a stable family unit. The Mayor advised that he was not sure if foster carers did receive the same training as staff, but he would look into it and report back to Councillor Uddin.


Questions on the Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Culture and Communities report


Councillor Thompson in relation to Events


Councillor Thompson referred to the details of various events that had been held in the town that had been included in the Executive Member’s report. Councillor Thompson queried why there was no reference in the report to the ‘Walk and Talk’ event held at the Dorman Museum to celebrate Black History month. Councillor Thompson also queried whether there had been any training on black history issues.


The Executive Member advised that she had been aware of the event held at the Dorman Museum but had been unable to attend due to a prior engagement. The Executive Member stated that it was important to celebrate different cultures and she advised that she would encourage people from all different cultures or political persuasion to become a councillor.


The Black History Youth Awards were due to be held on Friday to honour exceptional achievement of black youths in the Tees Valley. There were a number of different events and initiatives that had been organised to celebrate black history month in the libraries and community hubs and the libraries were promoting black literature. In response to why the event at the Dorman Museum had not been referenced in the report, the Executive Member advised that there was so many different events taking place in the town, it would be difficult to include them all in the report. The Executive Member advised that she would ensure that it was included in next year’s report.


Councillor J Thompson queried with regard to progress made in relation to a commitment to deliver training to members on racial awareness as a result of a motion submitted to Council on 14 October 2020, with regard to the black community.


Councillor Furness in relation to Albert Park.


Councillor Furness made reference to the fact that the tennis courts located in Albert Park were due to be refurbished. He queried with regard to whether facilities for more diverse activities such as basketball or skateboarding could be included in the park in the future.


The Executive Member advised that Albert Park was a great asset to the town. The Executive advised that she had recently visited Albert Park, along with the Mayor to look at the croquet club, which was the largest in the North. The Council had recently committed £100k funding to deliver capital improvements to the park, which included improvements to the visitors centre, park signage and the lake. The work was due to be completed by March 2022. An application for funding had also been submitted to the Lawn Tennis Association towards the refurbishment of the tennis courts, and it was hoped that the facility would be free to use. The Executive Member advised that the Council was always open to new ideas for improvements to Albert Park.


Councillor Cooke regarding locality working


Councillor Cooke referred to the 15 incidents of anti-social behaviour that had been reported in the Newport Ward and the fact that only one of the incidents had been captured on CCTV. He queried whether the amount of CCTV in the Ward was sufficient or whether all of the cameras located in the Ward were in working order.


The Executive Member advised that the number of CCTV cameras varied across each ward. Schemes were available to increase the amount of CCTV in the town.


In terms of the concept of locality working, a report was due to be submitted to the Executive with regards to the issue of locality working and the effectiveness of the scheme.


The Mayor advised that not every camera in the town had been installed by the Council. A camera had been installed on Cass House Road because of issues of anti-social behaviour but it had been damaged twice. The Council intended to install a Belfast camera in order to prevent tampering and damage to the camera. Funding of £300k would be available in the near future to be used to install additional cameras across the town.


Question on the Executive Member for Education report


Councillor P Storey regarding the shortfall in school places in 2022.


Cllr Storey queried with regard to what plans were in place to deal with the 200 place shortfall for children starting secondary school in Middlesbrough in 2022.


The Mayor advised that the demand for secondary school places was greater than had been anticipated. A new school was due to be built in St Hilda’s, and building would commence in a matter of months but it would take up to two years to build it which would mean that there would be a temporary pressure in respect of secondary school places in Middlesbrough. Officers had however worked hard with the secondary schools to find short and medium term solutions so that no child would be without a school place in 2022.

Questions on the Executive Member for Environment, Finance and Governance report


Councillor Arundale regarding the Transporter Bridge


Councillor Arundale referred to the work that had previously been carried out by Atkins to secure angle bracing on the bridge, so he was unsure as to why further work on the bridge was required by Rapid Engineering.


The Executive Member advised that in December 2020, Middlesbrough Council and Stockton Council had committed £650k to make urgent repairs to the bridge which included repairing welds that were cracked to make them safe. To ensure that the bridge was in full working order then more money would need to be spent. A report was needed to ascertain the full costs of repairing the bridge, which would be submitted to full Council for approval.


Councillor Arundale stated that in his view, the bridge was outdated and the costs involved in repairing the bridge could involve millions of pounds.


Councillor Rooney regarding Strategic


Councillor Rooney referred to the number of acronyms included in the Executive Member’s report and requested that in future, names are included in full with the acronym listed after.


Councillor Cooke regarding Human Resources


Councillor Cooke queried with regard to how long it had been since the Council staff had been surveyed and whether the Executive Member could provide details of the outcome of any surveys. The Executive Member advised that he would make some inquiries and provide a response to Councillor Cooke in due course.


Questions on the Executive Member for Regeneration report.


Councillor Arundale regarding TeesAMP


Councillor Arundale stated that he was delighted to see the progress with the TeesAMP site and he congratulated all those involved in making the site a success.


The Executive Member stated that there was only one unit vacant and there were three interested parties. The units were bringing in substantial rent to the Council.


Councillor Furness regarding Stainton Way Toucan Crossing.


Councillor Furness stated that the schemes, such as the Members Small Scheme Allocation Fund, that allowed members to bid for crossings made the town a safer place. One crossing had been installed following a request from Councillor J Walker following an accident. Councillor Furness stated that he would like to see more accessible crossings installed across the town, without members having to bid for them.


The Executive Member stated that traffic calming measures needed to be installed to prevent accidents. Progress was being made bit it took time, money and manpower for systems to be installed.

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