Agenda and draft minutes

Cabinet
Thursday, 12th November, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: This meeting will not take place in a physical location but will be held remotely. Please follow the link below to access the meeting:-

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

Items
No. Item

53.

ROLL CALL AND APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

54.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

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.

 

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 disclosures of interest made at this meeting.

 

55.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

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

Minutes:

RESOLVED, that Agenda Item No 14 – Regional Adoption Agency, previously marked as a Part II item, be moved into the Part I section of the agenda and considered in the presence of the public and press.

 

56.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To receive the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 15 October 2020 (copy enclosed)

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,  that the minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2020 be agreed as an accurate record and be signed by the Chair.

 

57.

STATEMENTS BY THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL AND CABINET MEMBERS

To receive statements by the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Members.

Minutes:

There were no statements made by the Leader and Cabinet Members on this occasion.

 

58.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

There were no questions, petitions or statements at the time of despatch

 

Minutes:

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

 

There were no referrals from Scrutiny, and no referrals from Local Committees made on this occasion.

 

59.

Development of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2021-2026 pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To consider a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) (copy to follow)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer, which updated members on the development of the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2021-2026.

 

The Deputy Leader presented the report.  The recent COVID-19 pandemic had changed people’s lives in ways that could not have been foreseen and this had proved to be the most challenging year ever experienced.  This year the cost of dealing with COVID-19 had applied even greater pressure on the Council’s budget and on its finite resources, as the Council battled to protect the most vulnerable and support the communities.

 

The Deputy Leader acknowledged the additional one-off funding provided by the government to help the County Council to deal with the pandemic, which meant the budget for this year was forecast to break even at the year end.

 

The Council’s response to COVID-19 would continue well into 2021 and recovery may take some years, and as a consequence this could continue to impact on Council services. Cabinet noted that this uncertainty would mean that the financial planning assumptions for the period of the next five year MTFP 2021 to 2026 would have to be revised as the uncertainties reduced.  These assumptions were based on assurances that there would be national government support to local government to help the sector to respond to COVID-19 but the extent of this was not yet known. 

 

By the end of 2020/21 the Council would have agreed budget savings of £282million since 2011/12.  For the period of this next MTFP the Council would need to deliver a further £58.4million of savings.  This meant that from 2011 to 2026 the Council would have made a total of £331.2million of savings from its day to day revenue budget of savings from its day to day revenue budget which is currently £417million net of specific grants, fees and charges.

 

The Deputy Leader reminded Cabinet that the budget consultation document was asking for feedback from the public on a proposed 1.99% increase in the County Council’s share of Council Tax for general purposes in 2021/22. Cabinet appreciated the extra pressure Cumbria’s Council Tax payers were under due to COVID-19 but this would raise a much needed £5million which would be invested into essential Council services. If Cabinet agreed the recommendations, the consultation document would be launched after the meeting.

 

Cumbria County Council, along with all other Councils, was facing difficult financial times.  The underlying pressures upon social care services from the growing elderly population, younger adults with complex needs and increasing cost of support to children that were looked after remained, with COVID-19 adding another layer of complexity and potential demand.  Against this backdrop, the Council continued to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 leading recovery from the pandemic, working with partners across the county to support the community, businesses and organisations to recover.

 

This Council had continued to secure investment for a wide range of major capital projects that provided real and long-term benefits to Cumbria, such as funding of £134million secured  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.

60.

Statement of Assurance pdf icon PDF 87 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet had before it a report from the Chief Fire Officer, which reminded them that the Fire and Rescue National Framework for England set out the requirement for all Fire and Rescue Authorities to provide assurance annually on financial, governance and operational matters.  The report outlined the approach adopted by Cumbria Fire and Rescue Authority and sought sign off of the Statement of Assurance 2019/20.

 

The Statement of Assurance provided assurance to Members, statutory officers and the public that the service was being run in accordance with appropriate governance, financial and operational standards.  The Cabinet Member for the Fire & Rescue Service and the Chief Fire Officer were satisfied that the Statement of Assurance presented to Cabinet was an accurate and robust reflection of arrangements in place across Cumbria Fire and Rescue Authority/Service.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet

 

(1)     approve the Statement of Assurance 2019/20;

 

(2)     authorise the Chief Fire Officer, in consultation with the Cabinet Member to make any necessary changes to the Statement of Assurance prior to publication.

61.

The English National Concessionary Travel Scheme – The Cumbria Scheme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure, which set out proposals for the Cumbria Scheme for 2021/2022 including the reimbursement rate to be paid to transport operators.

 

A mandatory national bus concession for older and disabled people has been in place since 2001. The concession has gradually been extended since its introduction and since April 2008 has provided free off peak local bus travel to eligible older and disabled people

 

The ENCTS covered anyone who had an ENCTS pass who travelled on an eligible journey on an eligible service.  An eligible journey was a public service bus between 09:30 and 23:00 on weekdays and any time bank holidays and weekends.

 

The Council had a legal duty to make the arrangements as a Concessionary Travel Authority and comply with the statutory Consultation Process and Timeline.  The scheme as described would fulfil the Council’s obligations as a Concessionary Authority for 2021/22.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet

 

(1)     approve publication, of the 2021/22 Cumbria Concessionary Travel Scheme as set out in Appendix 1 of the report, which maintains the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) basic reimbursement rate at 58%.

(2)     agree to publish the 2021/22 Scheme with the same Eligibility Criteria as the current scheme.

(3)     agree that following publication of the 2021/22 scheme any non-substantial amendments can be approved by the Executive Director - Economy and Infrastructure in consultation with Cabinet Member - Highways and Transport, the Leader of the Council, and the Deputy Leader of the Council.

62.

Digital Infrastructure Strategy pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members of Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which informed them that digital infrastructure was now recognised as the fourth utility given its importance to modern life and the connectivity it provided to services and markets.  The coronavirus pandemic had only served to reinforce the importance of digital connectivity.  Whilst significant improvements had been made through the Connecting Cumbria programme, continuing to improve the digital connectivity would be essential over the coming years so that Cumbria does not get left behind other parts of the UK.  Reflecting this, a digital infrastructure strategy had been prepared that set out the priorities and actions for investment in full fibre and mobile infrastructure to support the economy.  Cabinet was asked to approve the Digital Infrastructure Strategy.

 

The focus of the strategy was to maximise deployment of full fibre and mobile infrastructure to support the local economy.  To ensure that Cumbria’s voice was heard, it was proposed to nominate as Digital Champions, the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Property and the Executive Director for Economy and Infrastructure.

 

The digital infrastructure strategy comprised six programmes or projects which would form the action plan for strategy delivery:

 

·       Digital Borderlands full fibre voucher top-up scheme.

·       Facilitate gigabit capable connections to eligible hub sites.

·       Work with UK Government to maximise delivery to the hardest to reach 20% of premises in the UK.

·       Secure funding and mobilise Digital Borderlands 4G infill programme to improve mobile connectivity across the whole of Cumbria and the Borderlands.

·       Work with the UK Government Shared Rural Network mobile programme to maximise investment in Cumbria. 

·       Work with partners on 5G research and development projects, focused on creating opportunities for communities to develop networks and services that suit their needs. 

 

Cabinet recognised that digital connectivity was recognised nationally as an enabler for economic growth and inclusive growth, given the benefits it could bring to business productivity and community inclusion.  The Covid-19 pandemic had shown that digital connectivity was critical to societal resilience and business continuity in times of crisis.  From getting the latest information and health guidance, home working, education and learning, online access to food and supplies, staying connected to family and others and to maintain supply chains, everyone was now much more dependent on the ability to connect remotely across distance.

 

The importance of the digital infrastructure was therefore increasing, as it became more critical to the lives of residents and the operation of businesses. A clear, simple strategy would help the Council to encourage investment and to secure public funding into the hardest to reach areas to ensure digital connectivity was no longer a barrier for businesses or communities.

 

Cabinet felt that approval of the digital infrastructure strategy would articulate the Council’s commitment to attracting more investment in digital infrastructure into Cumbria, and supported the strategy.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet approves the Digital Infrastructure Strategy attached at Appendix 1 of this report.  

 

63.

Cumbria County Council Carbon Management Strategy – Corporate Estate (Non-schools or Highways) pdf icon PDF 250 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy & Infrastructure (copy enclosed)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which outlined the Cumbria County Council Carbon Management Strategy – Corporate Estate (Non-schools or Highways) 2020.

 

The Carbon Management Strategy – Corporate Estate (Non-schools or Highways) 2020 supported the key principles established within the Cumbria County Council Property Asset Management Strategy 2020 – 2025:

 

     To manage and maintain property effectively and efficiently, together with optimising financial return and commercial opportunities.

     To ensure the current property and future estate was as sustainable as possible in design, construction, operation and final disposal.

 

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were a primary driver of climate change. 

 

Energy use was a major expenditure for local authorities at a total cost of around £750 million per annum.  Local authorities therefore had a significant role to play in achieving the national goal of developing a low/zero-carbon economy, with the added benefit of making significant savings on expenditure and achieving long term security.

 

Cumbria County Council (CCC) was well placed to play a significant role in achieving the national goal of developing a zero-carbon economy,

 

The Cumbria County Council Carbon Management Strategy – Corporate Estate (Non-schools or Highways) 2020 responded to the international, national and regional aspiration to achieve a low/net zero carbon economy and sought to address the following key drivers:

     Climate

     Improve energy

     Investing in the local

     Improving quality of life for local residents

     Saving money

     Lead in delivering good practice

 

The majority of emissions from the County Council’s corporate estate were attributed to the combustion of natural gas for heating and hot water and electricity for lighting, cooling and ICT functions.  CO?e emissions from natural gas accounted for over 60% of overall emissions and this proportion would increase as the national grid continued to decarbonise (primarily due to increased deployment of wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) generation technologies). 

 

The Cumbria County Council Carbon Management Strategy – Corporate Estate (Non-schools or Highways) 2020 identified the areas of emission which allowed for the identification of a clear approach to reduce and ultimately move the estate to a net zero carbon position by 2037.

 

Cabinet members commented that it would be crucial to the success of this for Cumbria to employ staff with the expertise needed to take this forward.

 

RESOLVED   that Cabinet approve the Cumbria County Council Carbon Management Strategy – Corporate Estate (Non-schools or Highways) 2020 as attached at Appendix 1 of the report.

 

64.

Community Asset Transfer of the former Centenary Day Centre, Barrow in Furness - Grant of a Long Term Lease pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which proposed a Community Asset Transfer to grant a long term lease (25 years) on a full repairing and insuring basis (FRI) of the former Centenary Day Centre, Barrow in Furness to Barrow Domestic Appliances Charitable Incorporated Organisation (transfer at undervalue) for nil rent.

 

A Community Asset Transfer (CAT) was where the management and/or ownership of public assets was transferred to community groups. For Cumbria County Council, this was one of the options available to support thriving communities benefit from assets owned by the authority that were now surplus to requirements. It could give local people and communities the opportunity to take greater control of assets in their local area.

 

Barrow Domestic Appliances (BDA) was a Charitable Incorporated Organisation who specialised in the re-use and recycling of domestic appliances for the local community.  They carried out much of their work in deprived areas of the community and assisted those with disabilities and those living in vulnerable situations.

 

The CIO required new premises as their current base was too small for the range of white goods refurbishment and servicing work they now undertook. Their service demand had increased annually. Customers in receipt of benefits or state pension received a discount with those in the poorest three wards in the Borough also receiving free delivery of goods.

 

The former Centenary Day Centre in Abbey Road was currently vacant and was identified as a base close to the town centre from which to expand BDA’s services.  BDA would invest in the building and use it to provide services which would improve recycling volumes of electrical and white goods, give the local community better access to these goods and services and provide local employment and volunteering opportunities.

 

Re-use of the former Centenary Day Centre would support the Council’s Vision to be a Council that workeds with residents, businesses, communities and other organisations to deliver the best services possible within the available resources.

 

Cabinet Members were fully in support of this community asset transfer.

 

RESOLVED,       that

 

(1)   Cabinet agree the grant of a long term lease (25 years) on a FRI basis of the former Centenary Day Centre, Abbey Road, Barrow in Furness to Barrow Domestic Appliances CIO (Community Asset Transfer/Transfer at Undervalue) for nil rent;

(2)   Delegates authority to the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder, to finalise the detailed terms of and complete the long lease.

 

65.

Cumbria County Council Independent Fostering Framework pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (copy enclosed)

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – People which asked members to approve an extension to the Cumbria County Council Foster Care Framework Contract for a further 12 months.

The award of contract for the Cumbria County Council Independent Fostering Framework Agreement was approved by Cabinet on 16 March 2017, for a period of two years with provision to extend for a further 2 periods of 12 months.

The Council had previously exercised its option to extend the Framework Agreement for the two periods of 12 months.  No further extension options are available within the terms and conditions of the Framework Agreement, which was due to end on 30 April 2021.

Despite a comprehensive period of planning, the Covid-19 crisis had made it impossible to continue with many actions required to commission a new framework agreement in time for 1 May 2021.

Cabinet was therefore being asked to agree a contract modification in order to extend the term of the Cumbria County Council Independent Fostering Framework Agreement for all qualifying providers for a further period of 12 months from 1 May 2021 – 30 April 2022.

Cabinet Members were in support of the proposed modification.

RESOLVED   that Cabinet approve the implementation of a contract modification in order to extend the term of the Cumbria County Council Independent Fostering Framework Agreement for all qualifying providers for a further period of 12 months from 01 May 2021 – 30 April 2022.

66.

Regional Adoption Agency-Full Business Case

To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (copy enclosed)

 

Not for publication by virtue of Paragraph(s) 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as this report contains exempt information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet members considered a report from the Executive Director – People which sought a decision on the Full Business Case for establishing the Adopt Coast to Coast Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) between Cumbria County Council, Durham County Council and Together for Children/Sunderland City Council.

 

These parties would work collaboratively through a hub and spoke model to develop and deliver their respective adoption services under the leadership of the Regional Adoption Agency Head of Service whose joint appointment all had agreed.

 

The Council had responded to the Government requirements to move to RAAs where its aspiration was to have fewer organisations recruiting and assessing adopters and having organisations that were operating at much greater scale.  This intention was set out in the Education and Adoption Act 2016 which introduced power in March 2018 for the Secretary of State to require local authorities to carry out their adoption functions jointly.

The three Local Authorities’ shared vision for Adopt Coast to Coast was that:

 “children will achieve their full potential within a loving and secure family, and everyone affected by adoption will receive a high-quality innovative and sustainable service”.

 

Significant work had been undertaken since the last report to Cabinet in February 2019.  However, the intervening period had enabled the Local Authorities to explore alternative RAA Models (in addition to those set out in the existing published guidance) in discussions with the DfE.  These discussions on the optimum model for Adopt Coast to Coast had been positive and had enabled the Local Authorities to subsequently develop their own bespoke Hub and Spoke model for the RAA, rather than implementing one of the models as set out in the DfE’s guidance.

The new recommended Hub and Spoke partnership model was one which the respective Local Authorities believed better enabled the necessary joint collaboration to achieve the vision as set out in the Full Business Case, in comparison to the hosted model. 

There would be three spokes:

·       Cumbria

·       Durham

·       Together for Children (on behalf of Sunderland)

 

There was to be no single legal entity/lead authority under this revised model and given that the adoption functions would continue to be discharged by each Local Authority at the local “Spoke” level, there was no formal delegation of statutory powers required and no TUPE transfer of the relevant staff.  The staff in the spokes would continue to be employed by their existing organisations and work together collaboratively to achieve the shared vision for Adopt Coast to Coast.

The Hub costs would be shared equally by each Local Authority. Subject to each Cabinet approving the Full Business Case, the detailed terms for the Hub and Spoke collaboration agreement would  then be finalised in accordance with the key principles as set out in the Business Case.

 

The Key milestones for the project up to implementation were:

 

·       Full Business Case to be considered and approved by all three partners – November 2020

·       Shadow Go Live – 1 February 2021

·       Go Live – 1 April 2021

 

Members were delighted that Cumbria  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.

67.

Regional Adoption Agency - Part I pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Additional documents: