Agenda and minutes

Special Meeting, County Council - Thursday, 24th June, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Conference Room A&B, Cumbria House, Botchergate Carlisle CA1 1RD

Contact: Jackie Currie  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence


There were no apologies for absence for this meeting.



Declarations of Interest

To disclose any disclosable pecuniary interests relating to any item on the agenda.


Members are asked to refer to the Monitoring Officer for advice in relation to the declaration of interests at meetings of the full Council.  A complete list of declarations notified to the Monitoring Officer by 5.00 pm on Monday ???  will be circulated at the meeting. If any member wishes to correct or add to the circulated list, guidance on what constitutes a disclosable pecuniary interest is set out below.


NB The following is a summary of what constitutes a disclosable pecuniary interest. Please seek advice from the Monitoring Officer.


Members must disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises


1          Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for       profit or gain.


2          Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses.  (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.


3          Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority


(a)       Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be           executed; and


            (b)       Which has not been fully discharged.


4          Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority. 


5          Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer. 


6          Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge)


            (a)       The landlord is the authority; and


            (b)       The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial interest.


7          Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where


(a)       That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the          area of the authority; and


(b)       Either –


(i)      The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one        hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or


(ii)     If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.


In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.




A “disclosable pecuniary interest” is an interest of a councillor or their partner (which means spouse or civil partner, a person with whom they are living as husband or wife, or a person with whom they are living as if they are civil partners).



There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.



Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider whether there are any items on the agenda in respect of which the press and public should be excluded during consideration of the item.



RESOLVED      that the press and public be not excluded from the meeting during discussion of any items on the agenda today.




To consider a report from the Leader of the Council/Chair of the Chief Officers Committee (copy enclosed)



Members had before them a report which asked Council to approve the temporary appointment of the Chief Executive/Head of Paid Service following a robust selection process. 


Following the announcement of the current Chief Executive’s resignation with effect from 27 June 2021, Chief Officers Committee considered the options available to the County Council in relation to the appointment of a new Chief Executive. 


Chief Officers Committee agreed to advertise the post both internally and externally to attract the maximum amount of suitable candidates for the temporary appointment.


Following the external advertisement of the post of temporary Chief Executive a total of eight applications were received, of which four met the essential criteria and progressed to Technical Interview stage.


Technical interviews took place on 7 May and three candidates were successfully shortlisted to progress to the next stage.  A two-day robust recruitment and selection process took place on 20 and 21 May 2021, in accordance with the corporate approach to Chief Officer appointments for the shortlisted candidates.


A brief discussion took place on the proposed start date for the temporary Chief Executive, and it was agreed that this would be 2 August 2021.


After full consideration, the Chief Officers Committee decided that Gillian (Gill) Steward was the strongest candidate and recommended her for the appointment to the post of temporary Chief Executive. 


RESOLVED,     that  


(1)      Ms. Gillian (Gill) Steward be appointed to the position of the Council’s Chief Executive/Head of Paid Service, on a temporary basis, with effect from 2 August 2021, for a period of up to 24 months on the advertised terms and conditions for the post;

(2)      The initial period of appointment is for up to 12 months with the option of an extension up to a further 12 months.




To consider a report from the Leader (copy enclosed)




The Leader of the Council presented a report which asked members to agree the appointments to the Police and Crime Panel for 2021 in line with the procedure agreed between the County Council and District Councils.


Cumbria Police and Crime Panel (PCP) was a statutory scrutiny body and a joint committee between the County Council and the six District Councils.  The statutory membership of the panel was 10 councillor members and 2 co-opted members independent of the Councils.  The Cumbria local authorities had agreed that the councillor membership would reflect the political balance of the County as far as possible.


The County Council made annual appointments to the PCP.  Entitlement to seats was determined by a procedure agreed between the County Council and District Councils which operated as follows.  The County and six District Councils each appoint one member to sit on the PCP, which filled 7 of the 10 places on the committee. 


In determining its nomination, the Council was required to give consideration to the “balanced objective requirement” and to the continuity of membership to enable the Panel’s expertise and skills to be developed for the effective scrutiny of the Police and Crime Commissioner.  In view of these objectives it was recommended that the Council’s nomination be:


Mr Roger Bingham (Conservative Group). 


Independent (i.e. non-aligned members) were entitled to a place on the basis of political balancing calculations.  As no independent had been nominated as part of the initial 7 nominations, this place on the Panel was to be filled through an election (run by the County Council) whereby independent members on the 6 Districts and the County Council would be asked for nominations and, after receipt of nominations, the independent members would have the opportunity to vote on those nominations. The successful candidate was then nominated to the PCP by the relevant local authority.  The remaining two places were nominated by the County Council on the basis of political balancing calculations to reflect political proportionality across the seven Councils as far as possible.  Accordingly, these two appointees should be members of the Conservative Group. 


It was recommended that the Members nominated for appointment by Council to fill these two posts were:


Mr Mike Johnson (Conservative Group); and

Mr David Whipp (Conservative Group).


Members asked that their thanks be recorded to those members that had served on the PCP, but had not been reappointed.


RESOLVED,     that


(1)      Cumbria County Council appoint Mr Roger Bingham, Mr Mike Johnson and Mr David Whipp to the Police and Crime Panel in line with the allocations set out in this report;

(2)      Approve the carrying out of an election among the independent members on the Council and the 6 District Councils to appoint an independent member to the Police and Crime Panel.




To consider a report from the Chief Legal Officer (copy enclosed)



Additional documents:


Members considered a report which asked them to appoint Independent Person/s to the Council.


Since the previous appointment was made there had been some changes to the role. These changes implemented recommendations in the 2019 report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life which was published following a review of the standards regime in local government. In its report the Committee on Standards in Public Life recognised that the Independent Person had become a distinctive and important source of assurance within the standards regime. It also recommended that there should be at least two Independent Persons, to support management of potential conflicts of interest in advising different people involved in a complaint and that the Independent Persons should be appointed for a fixed two-year term, renewable once, to provide security in the role and to support the maintenance of independence. 


The Council has undertaken a recruitment process to seek two new Independent Persons in line with current good practice, and the response to the campaign had been very good, with 9 applicants. 


Following short-listing 5 candidates were interviewed by a panel, and it was agreed that

the panel would recommend the appointment of Ghazala Koosar and Sarah Townshend Crawford to the role of independent person to Council.


On behalf of the Council the Leader thanked the previous Chair who had served for 9 years. During this time he had gone above and beyond the requirements of the role to make sure that he had been available to progress complaints to conclusion as quickly as possible. His analytical approach and independence of thought leading to challenge when appropriate had undoubtedly added great value to the process and offered confidence to those involved. 


RESOLVED,     that


(1)      Members agree to appoint Ghazala Koosar and Sarah Townshend Crawford as Independent Person/s to the Council;

(2)      The Council extends its thanks to Mr Roy Worsley for his work as Independent Person over the past 9 years.








To consider a report from the Deputy Leader (copy enclosed)




Members had before them a report which asked Council to approve changes to the Capital Programme for 2021-2026, as a result of slippage and accelerated spend at the end of the 2020/21 financial year, therefore enabling the 2020/21 draft accounts to be finalised ahead of the statutory publication date of 31 July 2021, and approve £7.263m of externally funded new schemes to be added to the Capital Programme, as recommended by the Leader Decision Record dated 11 June 2021.

The Capital Programme sets out the Council’s investment plans over the next five years to achieve the Council’s priorities and vision. The Council approved a Capital Programme for 2021/22 to 2025/26 on 18 February.  This consisted of capital investment over the next five years of £451.347m for Council delivered schemes. Increases of £0.177m were approved by Cabinet in March 2021, to give an approved capital programme of £451.524m.

Slippage and Accelerated Spend at the end of the 2020/21

At the February 2021 meeting, it was confirmed that in planning the 2021-26 Capital Programme it had been assumed that if already approved schemes had slippage or accelerated spend at the end of the 2020/21 financial year the value of that slippage or accelerated spend would be reflected in 2021/22. 


The Deputy Leader took members through the list of schemes which had slipped and those for which the reprofiling of accelerated spend was proposed.

The inclusion of this slippage and accelerated spend gave a revised capital programme 2021 to 2026 of £478.521m.  The approval of Council was required for the adjustments to the Capital Programme to reflect the slippage from the 2020/21 financial year.

The approval of Council was also required for any new capital scheme for sums in excess of £500,000, and the Deputy Leader highlighted these for members.

RESOLVED,     that

(1)      Council is asked to approve for the reprofiling for slippage of £27.917 from 2020/21 to 2021/22 Capital Programme, as detailed in para 4.3

(2)      Council is asked to approve the acceleration of £0.920m of spend from 2021/22 to 2020/21 Capital Programme, as detailed in para 4.4

(3)      Council is asked to approve a new scheme of £7.263m of externally funded new schemes to the 2021/22-2025/26 Capital Programme, as detailed in para 4.7

(4)      Council is asked to note the Revised Capital Programme 2021/22-2025/26 of £486.055m.






To consider a report from the Leader of the Council (copy enclosed)




The Leader of the Council presented a report which asked members to approve the absence of any member of the Council from attending any meeting of the Council or other relevant bodies for a consecutive period of 6 months while members’ ability to attend meetings was limited by arrangements made to minimise the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.


Under section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 if a member of the Council failed to attend, throughout six consecutive months, any meeting of the local authority, unless the reason for the failure was approved by the full Council before the expiry of the period, the member ceased to be a member.


Once a councillor loses office through failure to attend for the six-month period, the disqualification cannot be overcome by the councillor subsequently resuming attendance nor can retrospective approval of the Council be sought once the six-month period has expired


As Council is aware the County Council had, through agreement, reduced its diary in order to minimise the risk presented by Coronavirus in face to face meetings, which may have caused difficulties for some members in attending the required number of meetings.


This was not the fault of those members and this report was brought to prevent any member from ceasing to be a member as a result of those arrangements.


RESOLVED,     that Members approve the absence of any member from any meetings of the Council for a period of 6 months ending on 9 September 2021, owing to the limited opportunity for members to attend meetings while arrangements are in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.




Chair's Closing Comments


The Chair closed the meeting by reminding members that the Chief Executive Ms Fairclough was leaving to take up a new post as Chief Executive of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.  He spoke about the help she had given him during her time in Cumbria.


The Leaders of the Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservative Party also made brief statements of thanks to the Chief Executive and everyone wished her well for the future.