Agenda item

Chief Executive's Update



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


·         COVID-19 update

o   Vaccine / booster uptake

o   Staff sickness / self-isolation


·         Resident and business grant support update

·         Executive update


In terms of the latest local COVID-19 data, as at 16 January 2022 the rolling seven-day rate of cases per 100k of the Middlesbrough population was as follows:


  • 347 new cases had been added to the system on 16 January 2022;
  • 2437 new cases had been diagnosed in the last seven days;
  • 1728.6 rate per 100k of population (last seven days); and
  • 314.20 COVID-19 deaths per 100k population.


Reference was made to the COVID case rate by age group and it was advised that the highest number of cases were amongst people aged 20-39. With regard to the number of COVID patients in South Tees Hospitals it was noted that there were currently 168 inpatients, with 8 of those in critical care.  In terms of vaccination rates it was advised that 76.2 per cent of Middlesbrough’s population had received their first vaccination, 69.3 per cent had received their second vaccination and 49.7 per cent had received their booster.   


In terms of staff sickness and self-isolation rates it was advised that COVID-related sickness currently accounted for 44 per cent of all staff sickness and 2 per cent of staff were currently either self-isolating or shielding.


An update was provided in respect of resident and business grant support and it was advised that approximately 30 per cent of Revenues Services staff had been redirected to administer grants. The collections team had been significantly reduced and more experienced officers had been utilised to deliver grants. The service had been working at pace for 2 years; overseeing 25+ grants and variations, paying out £50m+ to approximately 3,500 businesses and 50,000 residents alongside numerous regulatory changes. In addition staff fatigue, COVID, stress-related sickness and other factors had all impacted on the service.


In terms of Council Tax collection it was advised that collection remained extremely challenging with an increasing number of residents who ‘couldn’t / wouldn’t pay’ alongside a strong reluctance to engage with the service. There was also an increased number of wards where payment problems and non-payers had worsened. Collection continued to be of the highest priority with additional staff recruited, though 50 per cent of Revenues Services staff had less than 18 months experience.


In relation to the Executive decisions taken recently it was noted that a number of reports had been considered. These included; approval of the Digital Inclusion Strategy; approval of the Corporate Crisis Policy; approval of the Elected Members Small Scheme Allocation and the Whortlton Road Industrial Estate Disposal.


A number of reports were expected to be considered by Executive in February 2022 and these included; An update on progress to date within Children’s Services; a proposal to extend existing town-wide PSPO and CCTV Provision; Demolition of Slam Nightclub; Strategic Plan Refresh; Revenue and Capital Budget Projected Outturn position as at Q3 2021/2022; Strategic Plan 2021-24 Progress at Q3 2021/22; NAVSH Peer Review of Middlesbrough’s Virtual School and Amends to Taxi Licensing Policy.


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



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