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The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2021.
RESOLVED - That the minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2021 be agreed as a correct record.
Report of the Strategic Director, Resources and Digital
The Committee received a report and presentation to update on the performance on the delivery of Council priorities for the 6 months period April to October 2021.
The development of the new approach to performance management began in autumn 2020. Stages included engagement with councillors through Advisory Groups and Overview and Scrutiny Committees. Engagement with employees has taken place on a regular basis through employee workshops and Management Team discussions. Engagement with partners has taken place at the Health and Wellbeing Board with the Voluntary and Community Sector (Connected Voice).
The Performance Management and Improvement Framework is approved by Cabinet and Council. All of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees of the Council will consider performance assessments appropriate to the role and remit of each Committee on a six monthly basis.
There are some risks and limitations to highlight in relation to the six month reports. It is clear that the Council is still responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and that service disruptions have impacted on performance at the six month stage. The Council’s Business Impact Assessment and Business Continuity Plan framework has enabled the Council to prioritise critical services to ensure that they can still be delivered.
The development of the Performance Management and Information Framework is ensure it remains a relevant tool for the Council to understand how well it is delivering against it agreed priorities.
The aims of the Performance Management and Information Framework are to deliver Thrive, give clarity on Priorities, inform how resources are allocated and budget determination and measuring the impact to inform policy and resource decisions.
The framework is based on the 6 policy objectives of the HWB Strategy and an organisational health check.
The analysis has highlighted some area where improvements have been made as follows:
· More people are moving from Vulnerable to Coping according to LIoN data, although more assessment is needed to understand movement across the themes.
· External assessment from OFSTED rated as Good providing reassurance
· The Voluntary Undertaking with the Social Housing regulator has been successfully completed
· Budget savings are regularly monitored and 97.5% of savings are projected to be achieved in 2021/22
Some actions which have been identified as part of the response to improve performance:
· A new budget approach has been agreed in the context of the MTFS
· Business Impact Assessments and Business Continuity Planning is continuing to address service pressures and service disruption.
· Work is ongoing to develop and implement an effective employee engagement framework in response to new ways of working and improve employee morale.
· Work will continue to take forward the customer experience and digital improvements to service delivery whilst ensuring there is support for people who are unable to access services digitally.
· Development of Community Wealth Building
The next steps in the process are as follows;
· Align the Performance Management and Information Framework to the new budget approach agreed by Cabinet in December 2021 to inform cross council reviews and zero based budgeting.
· Further develop the priorities and actions as part of the iterative ... view the full minutes text for item CR59
Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance
The Committee received a report to provide an update on the Corporate Commissioning and Procurement Strategy. The draft version had previously been brought to Committee and the comments have been incorporated. The revised strategy has been circulated for consultation to partners and stakeholders and their views have been considered as part of the revised version.
One of the comments was about the development of an action plan and this has been developed separately and will be available to view.
RESOLVED - (i) that any final comments be incorporated into the Revised Strategy
(ii) that the Strategy proceed to Cabinet for consideration.
Covid 19 Pandemic - Key Updates (Verbal)
Verbal Update from Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health
The Committee received a verbal update on the current position with regards to Covid-19 in Gateshead.
It was noted that we came out of the New Year with a significant spike in cases. More recently there has been a rapid reduction in cases. Primary and Secondary care are still under pressure and whilst we are seeing 12% unoccupied beds it doesn’t mean that they are available to use.
In regards to vaccinations 85% have received their first dose, boosters are at 60% across Gateshead of eligible adults.
There are 5 active vaccination sites across Gateshead. There is a recognition of emerging inequality across some ethnic minority groups. We are working closely with colleagues across the wider health system to address this.
We have taken vaccination hubs into the communities with a degree of success and will continue with this. National communications will change slightly and our communications will follow the same message.
Isolation measures will be reviewed and there may come a point when these are relaxed.
It was queried how many vaccinations had been delivered by the bus in Trinity Square. It was noted that prior to Christmas there was two session held in trinity square one was more successful than the other with 400 plus on one and only about 100 on the other day.
It was queried how we know we are comparing like for like with regards to testing now that we are not required to carry out a PCR. It was noted that there isn’t a huge amount of change. The system is as robust as it can be at this point.
It was queried whether we have information on people who are refusing to have the vaccine who work for us in a capacity where we would be looking at terminating contract due to vaccine status and this would add pressure to the existing.
It was queried whether we have figures in specific areas and can identify whether there has been a low or high uptake. It was noted that Bridges ward as a whole has a low uptake.
RESOLVED - That the update presented in relation to Covid-19 be noted.
Report of the Strategic Director, Economy Innovation and Growth
The Committee received a report to provide an update on the current position at the Old Town Hall Quarter. The Quarter comprises, Old Town Hall, Swinburne House, the Nelson Street Office Building, the former Police House, two surface car parks and vacant land.
In 2017 following a review of the property management and maintenance costs, the Council decided to dispose of the Old Town Hall and neighbouring buildings. The Council’s objective was for the refurbishment of the historic buildings to ensure their long term sustainability whilst reducing the Council’s property management costs, plus redevelopment of the vacant land/car parks to provide accommodation for town centre uses comprising retail, office, hotel, leisure (including cultural) and residential across the whole site. This was first outlined in Fit for a City (2008) and made explicit through the Urban Core Area Action Plan.
The Council appointed an external agent, Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) to market and assist with the disposal of the OTHQ. C&W prepared marketing particulars; contacted a long list of potential developers, investors, agents and end users; and conducted accompanied viewings. Adverts were also placed in the property press and a dedicated web page was prepared by the Council’s Communications Team.
Marketing commenced on 27th March 2017 and closed on 26th June 2017 and was undertaken in accordance with the regulations contained in the Localism Act and Assets of Community Value.
Following receipt of bids, Officers worked with C&W to analyse the bids and draw up a recommendation for a preferred bidder. Consultation took place with Planning, Highways, Conservation, Urban Design, and Culture, as well as C&W leading on the financial deliverability of each bidder.
The conclusion of C&W and the project team was that the highest bidder, Tier One Capital / Dinosauria Ltd, should be invited to discuss terms of disposal because -
· Their bid would provide the highest financial receipt to the Council
· It posed the least risk to the Council in terms of the legal/development conditions requested by the bidder
· The mix of uses and particularly the Museum would best benefit the Town Centre in terms of regeneration, tourism and footfall
· They were confident in their ability to deliver on site and also within a shorter timescale than the other offers received, also benefitting the town centre.
Tier One Capital’s Directors also had a track record of the refurbishment of similar buildings, for example:
· Town Hall Chambers, Wallsend (former North Tyneside Town Hall),Grade II Listed building converted into serviced office accommodation;
· Clervaux Exchange, Jarrow (former Jarrow Police Station) converted into serviced office accommodation; and
· Commerce House, Middlesbrough (former Teesside Chamber of Commerce) a Grade II Listed Building redesigned to provide serviced office and conference facilities.
The Tier One Capital / Dinosauria Ltd (“Dinosauria”) proposal was:
· operating the Old Town Hall and Old Police House as The Unnatural History Museum;
· Swinburne House to be refurbished for new business space;
· a new building located to the rear of the site for leisure/cultural uses was ... view the full minutes text for item CR62
Report of the Chief Executive and the Strategic Director Corporate Services and Governance
The Committee received the Annual Work Programme report and it was requested that as no business was scheduled for the 7 March meeting, that the meeting be postponed and the next meeting would take place on 4 April.
RESOLVED - (i) That the provisional work programme be noted.
(ii) That the Committee noted that future reports on the work programme would be brought to Committee.