People Scrutiny Panel (Special Meeting) – 18 January 2013

PRESENT: –  Councillor Marper in the chair.
Councillors Collinson (Vice-Chair), Godfrey, Ogg and Wells.

Statutory Co-opted Members:  Mrs A Dunkerley (Parent Governor Representative) and Mrs W Witter (Church Representative).

Councillors Armitage, Bainbridge, Barker, Briggs, Davison, Ellerby, L Foster, Gosling, Grant, Kirk, Robinson, Swift and Whiteley attended the meeting in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule 1.36 (b).

The panel met at the Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.


No whip was declared.

PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised members of the panel that a request had been received from Mr Ian Sharp to address the panel.  Mr Sharp wished to share his concerns about the implications of the decision taken by the People Cabinet Member on 11 January 2013 to “outsource” the council’s Youth Service to either the private, voluntary, independent sector and community organisations funded through a grants application process.

Mr Sharp suggested that –

  • Many questions in the survey of young people’s opinions were leading and closed.
  • The survey did not offer any support for the new scheme, in fact it deliberately suppressed the fact that most young people actually wanted the current scheme.
  • The young people who currently attended Youth Centres were not asked their opinion of them.
  • The Cabinet Member seemed determined to sweep away a provision that had a track record of meeting the needs of young people but chose to take the gamble of replacing it with an untried system.
  • Youth workers had developed relationships with the police, local schools and other agencies which allowed them to identify and support troubled young people and reduce anti-social behaviour. 

The Youth Centres provided young people, often the vulnerable, the disabled, and the bullied with a safe and structured space away from school and organised clubs where they could develop their personal and social confidence.  For them it was a lifeline.

  • In addition, Mr Sharp asked the following questions of the Cabinet Member –
  • Why had the report been kept secret?
  • Which Youth Centres would be closed?
  • Would Riddings Sports Hall be closed?
  • What redeployment opportunities did the Cabinet Member have in mind for staff who currently work 2.5 hours a week?
  • Had any contracts already been promised to outside providers?
  • Could the Cabinet Member confirm whether the budget would remain at £600,000 or would be reduced by £150, 000 as both were in the public domain?

Following Mr Sharp’s presentation, the Chairman invited the Cabinet Member for People to respond to the points raised by the public speaker.

164  Resolved – That Mr Sharp be thanked for his attendance and contribution at the meeting.

The Chairman then informed the meeting that due to the subject matter, its implications and public interest, she would allow members of the public in attendance to put questions to the Cabinet Member.

In total eight members of the public who attended the meeting put questions to the Cabinet Member, to which Councillor Waltham responded in turn to the points made.

165  Resolved – (a) That the members of the public be thanked for their attendance and contribution at the meeting; (b) that the Cabinet Member be thanked for responding to the questions, and (c) that the questions put and responses given be considered as part of the call-in agenda item (minute 167 refers).

166  EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC – The Chairman informed the meeting that the report on Youth Services Modernisation was considered by the People Cabinet Member as exempt on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

It was then –

Moved by Councillor Collinson and seconded by Councillor Godfrey –

That consideration of the following item (minute 167 refers) be considered in public.

Motion Carried
167  ITEM REQUESTED FOR CALL-IN IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 22 OF PART D RULE 5 (OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY PROCEDURE RULES) OF THE COUNCIL’S CONSTITUTION – Minute 44 of the People Cabinet Member meeting held on 11 January 2013 – Youth Service Modernisation – The Chairman as the member who had requested the call-in, introduced her reasons for calling-in the above decision taken by the People Cabinet Member.  These were based on the budget implications of the decision and the need to brief fully the panel on the Cabinet Members future proposals and vision for the service.

The Cabinet Member was then invited to give a presentation to panel members on the transformation of the youth service and the council’s commitment to improving services to young people.

Following the presentation, the Chairman invited members of the public in attendance to question the Cabinet Member.  Councillor Waltham responded accordingly.

The Chairman then invited panel members and other councillors present to question the Cabinet Member on the issues raised at the meeting, before being invited to respond to the concerns and reasons for the decision being called in, and be held to account for the decision taken.  The Director of People and Assistant Director Commissioning and Localities were also invited to comment.

It was then –

Moved by Councillor Collinson and seconded by Councillor Godfrey –

That the decision be referred to council as it was considered to be contrary to the policy framework or contrary to or not wholly consistent with the council’s budget.

Moved by Councillor Wells and seconded by Councillor Ogg as an amendment –

That no further action be taken, and the above decision of the People Cabinet Member (minute 44 refers) be implemented with immediate effect.

Amendment Carried
Substantive Motion Carried