Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Management Board - Monday, 6th March, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Cumbria House Carlisle

Contact: Lorraine Davis  Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.



Apologies for absence were received from Mr N Hughes, Mr J Lister, Mrs S Evans and Mr B Wearing.




To report any changes to the membership of the Board.



It was noted that Councillor Helen Fearon had replaced Councillor K Hitchen as a member of the Board.




Members are invited to 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 declarations of interest made at the meeting.




To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item on the agenda.



RESOLVED,that the press and public be not excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item on the agenda.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 176 KB

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 28 November 2023 (copy enclosed).



RESOLVED,that the minutes of the meeting held on 28 November 2022 be agreed as a true record.


Further to Minute No 28, the Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Manager agreed to send a letter to Sacred Heart School as agreed at the last meeting.  Value for money and age appropriate schools meals was discussed.  It was agreed that this issue be captured at Agenda Item No 9 – SMB Reflections and Learning.




For members to be informed of any call-in items received by the County Council and to consider whether any further action needs to be taken by the Board.



The Chair advised that there were no call-in items for the Board to consider.



Outcome of His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) Inspection pdf icon PDF 316 KB

To consider a report by the Chief Fire Officer (copy enclosed).



A report was received from the Chief Fire Officer updating members on the recent HMICFRS inspection of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS), and actions put in place to address the findings of the report.  Members noted that this was the second round of full inspections for each Service within England.  The inspections took place over a number of weeks and were broken down into several distinct stages. 


The Deputy Chief Fire Officer informed the Board that prior to the inspection beginning in earnest, HMICFRS had requested upwards of 60 documents from the Service. The documents were mainly strategic in nature and helped to inform lines of questioning during the inspection Strategic Interviews.  The interviews were carried out with a number of senior managers in the Service to consider the overall strategic approach, including Prevention, Protection and Response but also the corporate support functions such as finance and HR.  The inspections also focussed on reality testing and qualitative engagement with staff and members of the public.


Following the inspection and pre-publication, the Service received a draft version of the inspection report.  The Service did provide significant and robust challenge to the draft report, however, limited substantive changes were made in response to the challenge made. 


The Deputy Chief Fire Officer outlined the headline findings of the inspection report.  The inspection was split into three categories, effectiveness, efficiency and people with each category split into further key lines of enquiry (KLOE).  The Service performance was listed in the report.  Two Areas of Concern had been identified during the inspection process and as the Inspectorate had not been able to endorse the approach taken to risk critical training, the Service were notified immediately rather than having to wait for the report to be published.


Members noted in response to the risk critical skills cause of concern the Service had responded immediately and set up a dedicated action group led by the Assistant Chief Fire Officer.  The group consisted of key individuals from the Service who met regularly to drive action.  Seven key areas of activity had been identified and evidence was being collated to present to HMICFRS in March. The key areas were listed in the report.


The onerous inspection process and what the Service did to push back against the report findings was discussed.  The Deputy Chief Fire Officer advised that the Service had done everything possible to sort out the identified inadequacies before presenting again to HMICFRS in March but could not give assurance that causes for concern would be lifted.  A benchmarking exercise had taken place against other authorities whose causes of concerns had not been lifted (70% of these had not been lifted) and acknowledged that they may be in place until the next round of inspections.


A lengthy discussion took place on the cause of concern issued for the Service’s financial viability.  It was recognised that at the time of inspection, because of unknowns around LGR and the transference of governance of the Service, they had not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service - update on transition of governance pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To consider a report by the Chief Fire Officer (copy enclosed).



The Business Manager, Fire and Rescue Service/Programme Lead Transformation presented a report providing an update to the Board on the transition of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) to new governance arrangements from 1 April 2023.  Under the Governance model chosen, the Police and Crime Commissioner would take on legal and overarching responsibility for the provision of fire and rescue services in Cumbria.


It was noted that as part of the preparations for LGR and transfer of CFRS a significant amount of work had been carried out to disaggregate budgets and assets that would transfer to the new authority. The work had formed the basis for the development of the budget for 2023/24 with adjustments for areas such as inflationary pressures and capital financing costs. The most significant adjustment had been an assessment of the current cost of providing support services within the County Council (£5.339 million).  It was recognised that it would take the first year to fully understand the pressures and costs of running the Service outside of a council model and consideration was already being given to areas where efficiencies could be made.  The Deputy Chief Fire Officer outlined the hosted arrangements agreed for vesting day that some of the Service’s functions would be hosted by one or other of the new unitary authorities for a period of time. 


To conclude the Business Manager, Fire and Rescue Service/Programme Lead Transformation outlined the transition programme in place to ensure delivery of all the necessary work. The focus was on continuity of service delivery and ensuring the Service and Authority are operating on a legal basis from 1 April.


Members commended the work that had been undertaken on the disaggregation of the Service.  It was recognised that financial sustainability was the main concern.  This, together with ongoing pressures, such as proposed industrial action, had been included on their risk register.  Discussion took place around hosted services, for example Fleet Management and the officer confirmed that through SLAs there would be no disruption in service. 


To conclude the Deputy Chief Fire Officer confirmed that the Service’s control room was still in the North West Fire Control consortium.


The officers were thanked for their attendance and very informative reports.


RESOLVED,that the report be noted.



SMB - Reflections and Learning pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To consider a report by the Assistant Director – Customer and Community Services (copy enclosed).


Additional documents:


Members received the updated Final Scrutiny Report, attached as Appendix 1, prior to its submission to Full Council in March 2023.  Members were reminded that the Board had agreed the draft Report at their meeting in November 2022 and had agreed that the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board agree the final version of the Final Scrutiny report before it is submitted to Full Council.  It was acknowledged that an annual Scrutiny report to summarise the key areas of work the Boards had focussed on over the previous year, including Task and Finish Group activity, was a constitutional requirement.


As this was the final year of the County Council Scrutiny, the report included a reflective look back by the Chairs at the scrutiny activity undertaken over the last few years.  Members were encouraged to put forward significant scrutiny areas to be captured and shared with the members and officers of the two new unitary Councils to inform their work programming.


In discussion, Members recognised the value of scrutiny and the need for scrutiny training for the members of the new unitary authorities so that an understanding could be gained of its usefulness as a tool to influence decision making at both strategic and local levels.  Members thought it was imperative for previous scrutiny reports to be made available to avoid repetition and having the capacity to have more Task and Finish Groups.  The importance of good officer support was highlighted and knowing the right question to ask to ascertain the right information was expressed. 


Members highlighted some future scrutiny items that they wished to be captured and shared going forward, including the value for money and age appropriate school meals mentioned earlier in the meeting.  The Policy and Scrutiny Officer welcomed any additional feedback from members. 




(1)  the draft Final Scrutiny report attached as Appendix 1 be noted.




To receive updates from the Chair of each of the following:-


Scrutiny Panel - Adults                                                             Mr M Wilson

Scrutiny Panel - Children and Young People                    Mr P Dew

Scrutiny Panel - Communities and Place                              Mr S Collins

Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee                                 Ms C McCarron Holmes

Cumbria Police and Crime Panel                                           Mr W McEwan

Cumbria LEP Scrutiny                                                              Mr W Wearing


Additional documents:


(1)  Scrutiny Advisory Board – Communities and Place


Members noted that the SAB Communities and Place meeting had taken place in November 2022 and had considered the Future of the Fire and Rescue Service Governance, Waste and Electrical Equipment and Community Power.  The next meeting’s agenda included Bus Services for those with limited or no provision and a review of Communities and Place scrutiny activity.


(2)  Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee


The Chair reported that since the last meeting of Scrutiny Management Board, Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee had been monitoring changes across a number of Health Services through regular meetings with System Leaders in both areas. The last (and final) meeting of the Committee took place on the 21 February 2023 where a number of items were considered.  It was noted that the new arrangements being planned for Health Scrutiny by the new authorities had been discussed. It was agreed that a programme of introductory and induction sessions would be scheduled for the new Health Scrutiny Committees.  The importance of joint working between the Committees was emphasised and there was consensus that robust arrangements would need to be put into place.


(3)  Scrutiny Advisory Board – Adults


Members noted that the last meeting of the Adults Scrutiny Board took place on the 5 January 2023 and a number of issues had been considered.  The next meeting of the Adults Scrutiny Board would take place on 21 March 2023. And currently the draft agenda included ASC position incorporating LGR, Shared Outcome Framework, Safeguarding Adults at risk of abuse and neglect and consideration of areas of Scrutiny for future authorities.


(4)  Cumbria LEP Scrutiny Board


A report on Cumbria LEP Scrutiny Board was noted by members.  At the last meeting the Board had received an update on the financial position of the LEP including the management accounts, an update on Governance and a report on CLEP Strategy.


(5)  Cumbria Police and Crime Panel


A report updated Board members was received on the work of the Cumbria Police and Crime Panel.  At its last meeting on the 26 January 2023, the Panel had received the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Precept Proposals 2023/24.


(6)  Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People


Members were informed that at the last meeting of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Advisory Board on 7 February 2023, the following reports/presentations had been received:-

• Joint Area SEND Inspection Revisit

• Post-Ofsted Inspection Improvement Plan

• LGR Update


The Chairs were thanked for their updates.



Scrutiny Performance Working Group Update pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To consider a report by the Assistant Director – Customer and Community Services (copy enclosed).


Additional documents:


The report provided the Scrutiny Management Board with an update from the Scrutiny Performance Working Group, including the draft minutes of the last meeting of the Group attached as Appendix 1.


RESOLVED, that the report be noted.




To note that this is the last meeting of the Board in the life of Cumbria County Council.




To note that this is the last meeting of the Board in the life of Cumbria County Council.


As this was the last meeting of Cumbria County Council’s Scrutiny Management Board, the Chair thanked members and officers for their invaluable contribution to Scrutiny.