Agenda and draft minutes

County Council
Thursday, 7th November, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Kendal

Contact: Jackie Currie  Email: jackie.currie@cumbria.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

55.

Roll Call of Members

56.

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.

 

Note

 

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).

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made on this occasion.

 

57.

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.

 

Minutes:

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

 

58.

Public Participation

To receive petitions or questions from the public under the Public Participation Scheme for the Council.  This item is time limited to 30 minutes.

 

Minutes:

There were no public questions, petitions or statements made to the Council.

 

59.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 11 September 2019 (copy enclosed)

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,     that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 11 September 2019 be agreed with the following amendment:-

 

On Minute No 53 – Notices of Motion Paragraph 8, second line add the word “inland” before “flooding”, to read: “…that Climate Change was responsible for all of the inland flooding issues’.

 

60.

Announcements and Communications

To receive any announcements from the Chair, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive

 

Minutes:

The Chair announced that the details of the engagements undertaken by herself and the Vice Chair had been circulated to all members.

 

The Chair had officially launched her chosen charities this year – Carlisle Mencap and People First.

 

As part of the fundraising effort the Chair had foolishly agreed to abseil for charity alongside three other women:-

 

·         Marcia Reid Fotheringham (High Sheriff);

·         Carol Fish (Director at Cartmell Shepherd); and

·         Kerrie Higham (Director at The Well Communities)

 

On Saturday 12 October they abseiled down one of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s highest training towers based at Carlisle East Fire Station.  This was a real personal achievement for the Chair but terrifying and not one which would ever be repeated.

 

To date the grand total raised for the collective chosen charities was over £2500.

 

As this Sunday was Remembrance Sunday, the Chair and many of the Armed Forces Champions and representatives of the Lieutenancy would be attending various services this weekend across the county to commemorate those fallen, the veterans and those who were currently serving. 

 

Earlier this month, the Chair, had proudly attended the County Council’s Children in Care Council Awards, which celebrated the Children Looked After. This was the sixth year of the event and it was a truly memorable day.

 

In late September, the County celebrated 10 years of Cumbria Pride and 50 years since Stonewall. It was a great day celebrating diversity, recognition and acceptance and the Chair was delighted to be invited and to represent the County Council.

 

When the Chair was appointed Chair back in April, one of her aspirations was to visit as many schools as possible to talk to children about the importance of voting, and so far 12 school visits had taken place.  A warm welcome had been received from all the schools and the children, and the Chair shared with members some of the comments received.

 

The Chair reminded members that during lunchtime there would be a Christmas craft fair today in the foyer.  This had proved to be very popular last year and the Chair was delighted to welcome them back again.

 

The Chair invited the Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services to make an announcement on Modern Day Slavery.

 

The Cabinet Member informed Council that National Safeguarding Adults week would take place between the 18 to 24 November, and Modern Slavery would be the theme.  During this week of action, Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board would publish 5 minute briefings on their website and via social media raise awareness of how to recognise the signs and what to do if they suspected someone was a victim of modern slavery.

 

In October 2018 a suspected victim of Modern Slavery was rescued from a shed in north Cumbria.  Arrests were made and investigations continued. The case received significant media attention locally, following which, the Board published a newsletter to raise awareness of Modern Slavery.

 

This was not just a national issue, it was very much on Cumbria’s doorstep and the Cabinet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

Minutes of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 107 KB

The minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 19 September and 17 October are enclosed (copy attached)

 

The Leader will ask members if they have any questions on the minutes taking each page in turn. Members should state clearly the minute number of the item concerned.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented the minutes of the Cabinet meetings held on 19 September 2019 and 17 October 2019.

 

Mr M Wilson asked when there would be an announcement on this year’s financial settlement.

 

The Leader replied that at this stage it was unknown when the announcement would be made, but it may now be delayed until after the week after the general election.

 

Mr Dew commented on the Cabinet Minutes - 19 September 2019, Minute 39, page 25 - 2019/20 Revenue and Capital Budget Monitoring Report to 30 June, 2019, that the report again highlighted the persistent demand pressures on the budget arising from Children Looked After, Younger Adults and SEND Home to School Transport.  The minutes stated that ‘significant actions were underway to continue to strengthen gate-keeping, monitoring and management of delivery services to mitigate these budget pressures’.  Mr Dew asked the Leader of the Council for an insight into the kinds of ‘significant actions’ the administration had in mind and when these would start to take effect.

 

The Leader reminded members that the County Council was one of many local authorities suffering from severe financial pressures with Children Looked After, Younger Adults and SEND Home to School Transport.  This was a national issue and the recent spending round announcement had recognised this with additional funds being allocated.

 

Within the County Council plans were being established for the strengthening of early intervention services. This was preferable, both for families and officers, with the intention that families were given access to early intervention services rather than being taken into care.

 

Although it was difficult to manage and mitigate these budget pressures the Leader reassured members that there was a huge amount of work taking place across the Council to try to reduce these pressures.

 

Mr Collins asked about the Cabinet Minutes - 17 October 2019, Minute No 50 – Future Commissioning Arrangements with North Cumbria CCG, and whether the council was aware of the importance of good dental health and its significance in the wider health of people with some long term conditions.  He asked for assurance that Cumbria County Council would not lose sight of the importance of dental health and to take this into account when making decisions. 

 

The Cabinet Member thanked Mr Collins for raising this, which she felt was one of two areas which needed to be considered carefully, the other being sight.  She agreed to provide a written response to Mr Collins.

 

Lord Liddle arrived at the meeting at this point.

 

Mr Dew commented on Minute 52 – Award of Contract – Child and Family Support Services that he was aware that the award of the contracts for these services had been controversial and that at least one may be subject to a call-in. That aside, he asked the Cabinet Member – Childrens Services to outline the ‘new ways of working’ mentioned in paragraph 4 of the minutes.

 

The Cabinet Member for Childrens Services responded to say the intention was to make  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

Questions

To consider questions from Members, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No 11.2 to 11.5 to the Leader, a Member of the Executive or the Chair of any Committee.

Minutes:

Mr Airey asked the Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services for an update on the Abbey Care Home at Staveley.  He asked why the proposal had not been brought before South Lakeland Local Committee.  He thought that local committees should be made aware of these proposals. He asked if there was a deliberate policy to actively discourage people taking up places in the older care homes.

 

The Cabinet Member responded to say she was disappointed that the member felt like this as the Abbey Care Home had been discussed at many South Lakeland Area Planning Sessions, and had been on the agenda for many months.

 

The Cabinet Member said there were no plans to close any other care homes, other than those already highlighted in the modernisation agenda.  She confirmed the plan going forward was to invest in Cumbria Care.

 

She informed Council that this item was for discussion at the Cabinet meeting being held on 14 November, so it would be inappropriate for her to comment before any decision had been taken.

 

Mr Turner asked the Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Property whether a review could be undertaken across the County Council estate to see if there is adequate disabled parking.

 

The Cabinet Member agreed to speak to colleagues in the Property Team about conducting a review.

 

Mr Betton said the residents of Warwick Road had raised concerns with him at the original design stage of the scheme in respect of the junctions work at Warwick Road.  Mr Betton asked on behalf of his residents for clarity as to whether the bridge structure was safe, and when United Utilities would move on.  He asked when the inconvenience that impacted on parking and on businesses at Rosehill Industrial Estate would come to an end.  He was looking for a commitment from the Leader and Cabinet Members to work with residents regarding their concerns.

 

Mr Thornton arrived at the meeting at this point.

 

The Leader responded to say that he was not aware of any other road scheme that had been subject to a more detailed consultation than this one.  The scheme had been substantially modified  as a result of these consultations and Mr Betton had been involved in these discussions.  What has happened since the modified scheme was introduced was not within the control of the County Council.

 

The issues surrounding Botcherby Bridge had been due to flood defence works being undertaken by the Environment Agency.  High river levels during the works had resulted in the need to restrict the bridge to single lane traffic in order to safeguard the public.  The County Council’s Highways Service was working with the Environment Agency to finalise the assessment of damage.

 

Similarly, the other issue was due to United Utilities carrying out some pipe replacement work which had not proved successful.  United Utilities had had to redo the works and they had a legal right to do so.  Cumbria County Council was unable to refuse this request.

 

The Victoria Viaduct was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

TREASURY MANAGEMENT HALF YEAR STRATEGY REVIEW 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 663 KB

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

 

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader of the Council presented a report detailing treasury management activities during the first half of the 2019/20 financial year and confirming that all Treasury Management activities undertaken during this period were in compliance with the Annual Strategy agreed by Members at Council in February 2019.

The Deputy Leader took members through the report.

He informed members that the County Council currently had a strategy to delay borrowing in the short to medium term, using temporary internal cash balances instead.  The Council also took tactical decisions, where appropriate, and on the advice of the Council’s external Treasury Management adviser to undertake long term borrowing at fixed interest rates.  This enabled the Council to ‘lock in’ long term rates whilst they were low.

Mr Ellis asked the Deputy Leader if there was a list available of the new borrowing carried out by the Council.  He supported the need for refinancing and noted that over the last 18 months £130m of borrowing had been taken out.  He wondered how much of this was paying back old borrowing as opposed to new borrowing.

 

Mr Dew commented to say that the council’s finances were undoubtedly well managed by the Director of Finance, and the report before Council gave an insight into the delicate balancing act that took place between internal and external borrowing on the one hand, and investment return and risk on the other.  However, there appeared to be a worrying downturn in investor confidence resulting from a looming global recession which tended to be overlooked because of the obsession with national issues.  It would be helpful to have a summary of the specific steps that the council had taken, or was intending to take to mitigate the increased risk associated with the worsening economic climate.

 

Mr Morgan had concerns that the announcement of the increase of all PWLB borrowing rates would have a negative impact on the number of affordable homes being developed.

Mr Mallinson asked the Deputy Leader whether the PWLB rates were still competitive, and if not would the County Council look to borrow from elsewhere.

The Deputy Leader thanked members for their comments and questions, some of which were complex.  Although he felt it was unlikely that the County Council would look elsewhere for loans, he agreed to investigate this further and provide a written response.

RESOLVED that,

1)        Members note that following a half yearly review, no amendments are required to the Treasury Management Strategy Statement and the Annual Investment Strategy;

 

2)        Members note that following a half yearly review, Prudential Indicators and Treasury Management Indicators have been fully complied with and that no amendments are required to these indicators; and

 

3)        Members note the Treasury Management function is forecasting a £1.626m underspend for 2019/20, due to the Council’s tactical strategy to utilise internal reserves whilst available, albeit that this will be kept under review given various uncertainties, including interest rate movements and cash flow requirements.

 

64.

YOUTH JUSTICE STRATEGY 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To consider a report from the Cabinet Member – Children’s Services (copy enclosed)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services presented a report by the Interim Executive Director - People which sought approval of the Youth Justice Strategy 2019/20.

 

Mr Dew commented that he felt the Youth Justice Plan was thorough and comprehensive and was encouraged to read that the focus on prevention, early intervention and partnership working was having a positive impact on performance indicators.  However, the Plan was right to sound a note of caution about becoming complacent because there was still a small group of harder to reach young people who were resistant to change.

 

He said he was heartened by the determination expressed in the Plan to do everything possible to ensure that those young people were given the opportunity to break the cycle of offending so that they could lead healthy and safe lives and achieve their aspirations.

 

Mrs Tarbitt referred to the reference in paragraph 4.2 of the report, of the need to align the sign off of the plan in future with the committee cycles, to ensure

all the relevant County Council committees had the opportunity to consider the plan before it was submitted to the Youth Justice Board.  This comment was noted.

 

Mrs McCarron-Holmes commented that in order to reduce youth reoffending there needed to be clearer mechanisms in place to help those in danger of reoffending.

 

RESOLVED     that, Members agree the Cumbria Youth Justice Plan 2019-20 for submission to the Youth Justice Board.

 

65.

CONSTITUTION REVIEW GROUP UPDATE pdf icon PDF 120 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report which asked members to approve changes to update and maintain the Constitution.  These proposals had been considered by the Constitution Review Group.

 

With reference to the Terms of Reference of the Chief Officers Committee, since the Council had approved the last changes in April 2019, it had become apparent that they may be open to an interpretation which was unintended by the Council. To ensure clarity, minor amendments were proposed to Part 2L in relation to grievances.

The Leader then took members through the changes needed in relation to the Scheme of Delegation – Part 3A (Scheme of Delegation – Shareholder’s Representative), specifically with reference to the Border to Coast Pensions Partnership.  Members noted the proposal to add a new Appendix 2 to Part 3A of the Constitution.

The Leader then explained that Section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applied to information held by the Council and provided an exemption if disclosure would or would be likely to inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views, or otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.

 

It was recommended that information about the qualified person was maintained in the Constitution, so that it was easily accessible to members and officers.  Since the appointment was not a delegation of an executive or non-executive function of the Council, the intention was that an additional Part 3B be added to the Constitution as set out in Appendix 4 of the report.

 

RESOLVED that, Council

 

1)        Approve the changes to the Terms of Reference of the Chief Officers Committee Part 2L set out in Appendix 1.

 

2)        Approve a new Appendix 2 to Part 3A (Scheme of Delegation - Shareholder’s Representative) to extend delegations to the Director of Finance in respect of shareholder decisions in the Border to Coast Pensions Partnership as set out in Appendix 3.

 

3)        Approve the addition of a new Part 2B to codify in the Constitution the Council’s Qualified Person for the purposes of certain exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

66.

SCRUTINY ADVISORY BOARD - CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To consider a report from the Monitoring Officer (copy enclosed)

 

Minutes:

The Leader presented a report which asked Council to note the appointment of the new Vice Chair of the Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People following the recent resignation of Mr B Shirley from the Scrutiny Advisory Board.

 

RESOLVED that,     Members note that Mr P Dew has been appointed as the vice chair of the Scrutiny Advisory Board – Children and Young People.

 

67.

SCRUTINY MANAGEMENT UPDATE pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To receive a report from the Chair of Scrutiny Management Board (copy enclosed)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board presented a report which updated Council on the issues and developments that had occurred since the last meeting of Council.

 

The Chair took members through the report, and asked them to note that although the report referred to a call in received on 29 October, this had now been withdrawn following the clarification meeting held on 5 November. 

 

Mr Hughes asked the Chair of Scrutiny Management Board what actions, if any, the LEP Scrutiny Committee would be taking to encourage the LEP to be more proactive in considering growth deal bids which would have a positive impact on climate change.

 

The Chair responded to say that the LEP Scrutiny Committee was still developing its work programme and he invited Mr Hughes to attend meetings to observe the work of the committee.

 

RESOLVED,     that the report be received and noted.

 

68.

URGENCY PROVISIONS pdf icon PDF 113 KB

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

 

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented a report which notified members of the circumstances in which an urgent decision had been taken since the last meeting of Council.

 

The decision referred to was an urgent decision to agree to submit the County Council’s Better Care Fund submission for 2019/20 to Government.  Had the decision been delayed the result could have been a loss of up to £25m of funding, which the County Council received through the Better Care Fund.

 

RESOLVED,     that the report be received and noted.

 

69.

Notice of Motions

To consider notice of motions for up to a specified period of one hour.

 

Mr B Shirley will move:-

 

That Cumbria County Council ask officers to investigate the possibility of reworking the concessionary bus travel scheme to include some of the so-called WASPI generation of women – that is, women born in the 1950s whose state pension age has been increased.

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair reported that the Motion, which had been submitted, had been withdrawn.

 

70.

Speeches

To hear speeches (not exceeding five minutes each) for up to a specified period of 30 minutes, from individual members, of which at least 24 hours’ notice has been given to the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services.

Minutes:

Mrs Tarbitt made a speech about the Armed Forces Veterans.

 

At the previous council meeting in June 2019 the Chair made an announcement about a raffle for a beautifully hand-carved rocking horse kindly made and donated by David Richardson, an Armed Forces Veteran who learnt to carve as a result of the courses run over in Catterick Camp by Help for Heroes. 

 

The rocking horse was won by Shirley Evans, County Councillor for Kendal Nether, which now had pride of place in her home.

 

All the money from this raffle was donated to Jigsaw.

 

The Chair thanked Mrs Tarbitt for her speech.