Venue: Council Chamber, County Offices, Kendal
Contact: Jackie Currie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive any apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence.
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.
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 disclosures of interest on this occasion.
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.
RESOLVED, that the press and public be excluded, if needed, during discussion of Agenda Item No 10 – Transfer of the Carlisle Citadels site to the University of Cumbria – Appendix 2 – Subsidy Control Assessment by virtue of
Paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 as this report contains information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
To receive the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 18 November 2021 (copy enclosed)
RESOLVED, that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 18 November be agreed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair.
STATEMENTS BY THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL AND CABINET MEMBERS
To receive statements by the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Members.
The Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services made a statement about the local Covid19 situation, with up to date figures.
Overall case rates had plateaued at around 300 per 100 thousand a week, with the highest numbers of cases in primary aged school children.
However, the increase in numbers of cases of Omicron was a worrying trend. On 11 December, there were 90 suspected or confirmed cases in Cumbria but by this morning that number had increased to 170.
If these figures did not peak within the next few days, Cumbria could be looking at over 900 cases a day by Christmas.
The NHS had mobilised quickly to do all it could to hit that new target of every eligible person having their booster jab by the end of December. Today the number of booster appointments available had doubled.
Cumbria County Council was helping with this and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service were providing logistical support. The Fire Service also had a number of trained vaccinators.
Cumbria County Council staff were providing volunteering support for vaccination clinics and particularly targeting efforts in the more deprived areas where uptake tends to be slower.
The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport made an announcement on the Community Rail Partnership, which was hosted by Cumbria County Council.
Community rail initiatives delivered by community groups, partnerships and volunteers across Britain had been celebrated at the 17th Community Rail Awards.
The locally led projects support social inclusion, sustainable travel, empowered communities, and economic recovery. Many supported communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cumbria Community Rail Partnership won the award for Community Creative Projects and Station Arts (sponsored by Transport for Greater Manchester): Community Rail Cumbria and Workington Focus Group for Rails Which Circled the World - outdoor art exhibition at Workington station.
The Leader of the Council asked that Cabinet’s thanks and congratulations be given to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s Crew Manager Stephen Wharton, who was based at Appleby Fire Station, after being awarded The Pride of Britain Award after his courageous decision saved the life of a young boy at a water rescue incident in February 2019.
On the afternoon of 26 February 2019, Appleby fire crew were alerted to reports of a 13-year-old boy in difficulty while swimming in the River Eden and had disappeared under water. Stephen risked his own life by taking off his protective flotation equipment and diving under water to bring the casualty to the surface.
Firefighters and paramedics resuscitated the boy, and he was flown by Air Ambulance to hospital in Newcastle where he spent several weeks in intensive care and made a strong recovery.
Mr S J Lindsay has requested that a petition be presented in his absence, asking that Cumbria County Council grit the village of Tallentire, Nr Cockermouth in its entirety, and the original grit bins together with additional bins be located within the village.
Petition from Mr S J Lindsay – Tallentire
Mr Lindsay had contacted officers to say that due to the increase of cases of coronavirus he asked that his petition be presented in his absence.
Mr Lindsay’s petition contained 128 signatures and asked that Cumbria County Council grit the village of Tallentire in its entirety and that the original grit bins, together with additional bins be located within the village.
Mr Lindsay had commented that there had been an agreement between Cumbria County Council and the Parish Council for the past 10 years to grit the northern end of Tallentire village. However, this agreement appeared to have lapsed, and the existing grit bins had been withdrawn from the parts of the village which were gritted.
The petition was asking Cumbria County Council to honour the pre-existing agreement and to return the original grit bins located at Hillcrest, adjacent to No 1 Greenside and at the top of Bell Brow, with a request for additional bins at Highcroft Close, Fernleigh Close and adjacent to the Chestnuts estate. In the past 12 months 13 new dwellings had been built at the northern end of the village which needed adequate gritting provision.
The petition was then handed to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport.
The Cabinet Member responded to thank Mr Lindsay for his petition and gave the following response:-
“Cumbria County Council gritting activities take place each year from October through until April and could be longer, dependent upon the weather. The service operated 24hr per day, 7 days per week and gritting activities were procedurally linked to the locations of grit bins.
The Council’s winter maintenance policy required Cumbria County Council to undertake winter activities on roads, in a priority order.
Our priority 1 and 2 routes were treated whenever frost or ice or snow was predicted. The first priority routes were those that carried large volumes of traffic and linked the major economic centres of the county and region. The Second priority routes served local needs but still carried a significant volume of traffic.
Only once Priority 1 and Priority 2 routes were completed and were deemed to be safe and prolonged sub zero temperatures were forecast, would the Council resources be deployed to treat priority 3 routes, providing that those resources were available. Grit bins are placed on routes that aren’t priority 1 and priority 2 as these roads are not subjected to routine gritting treatments.
In regard to the petition and in relation to the situating of grit bins, the approved policy was clear that Cumbria County Council does not provide grit bins for current priority 1 or priority 2 gritting routes. The grit bins located at Hill crest, adjacent to No 1 Greenside and at the top of Bell Brow were situated on a current priority 2 gritting route therefore, in line with the County Council policy, these grit bins were removed and would not be returned to these locations.
In regard to the requests for new ... view the full minutes text for item 175.
To consider a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) (copy enclosed)
Members considered a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) which set out the Council’s forecast year-end financial position as at 30 September 2021, covering the Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Treasury Management. Cabinet received a report quarterly and Directorate and Corporate Management Teams receive detailed reports monthly. This report linked to the Q2 Corporate performance monitoring report which was contained elsewhere on today’s agenda.
Since setting the Budget in February 2021, and as a result of the response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, there continued to be significant financial consequences for the Council. This was consistent with all other Local Authorities.
The demands upon Council services and the consequent financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related recovery continued to evolve and clearly would be ongoing throughout and beyond 2021/22. What was important was that the Council continued to provide vital local services in this period of sustained uncertainty.
The Deputy Leader took Cabinet through the key messages contained in the report, including:-
· The forecast year end position for the Council as at the 30 September 2021 including the estimated impacts of COVID-19 to the year-end was of a breakeven position on the Revenue Budget i.e. balanced budget at year end. This was a positive position to report given the challenges of the year. However, it was still uncertain and the assumptions, estimates and variables impacting upon this forecast would continue to be kept under continuous review throughout the financial year.
· This forecast position included significant COVID-19 related pressures of £41.501m which had been partly, but not fully, addressed through the receipt of specific grant funding and the continuation of the CCG hospital discharge fund of (£28.196m) and the COVID-19 emergency funding received from Government, applicable to the current financial year, of (£10.381m). This had resulted in a forecast unfunded COVID-19 related pressure of £2.924m for the current year which is a decrease in the pressure by £1.795m from the position reported at Q1. This was mainly as a result of the announcement by Government to extend a number of specific grants until the 31 March 2022.
· There was underspending in some Directorates, mainly due to one-off delays to expenditure, which was forecast to be (£13.833m), an increase of (£2.117m) from the Q1 position. (£6.738m) of the total underspend was staffing related primarily due to the impact of the pandemic causing delays to reshaping, delays with recruiting permanent staff and specific grant funding offsetting permanent staffing costs.
· The underspend within directorates of (£13.833m) had been offset by the unfunded COVID-19 pressure of £2.924m referred to above, the £9.319m of other pressures referred to above resulting in an overall forecast underspend position of (£1.590m). Cabinet approved the transfer of (£0.596m) of this underspend to the Financial Volatility Reserve at Q1. At Q2, it was proposed that (£0.710m) of the underspend be transferred to the LGR Implementation Reserve and the remaining (£0.284m) be transferred to the Financial Volatility Reserve, resulting in a balanced budget position.
· The Capital ... view the full minutes text for item 176.
To consider a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) (copy enclosed)
Cabinet considered a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) which provided a progress update on corporate performance, incorporating progress on the Council Plan Delivery Plan 2021/22 for the three month period from 1 July 2021 to 30 September 2021.
The report focused on the Council Plan Delivery Plan for 2020-22 that was agreed by Cabinet in September 2020. The Council Plan Delivery Plan was agreed in September when the acute phase of the initial response to COVID-19 had passed and reflected a focus on recovery from COVID-19. It was recognised the usual annual plan would be more effective as a longer plan therefore contains actions with milestones up to March 2022.
It had been anticipated that COVID-19 recovery would be the main focus of activity but continued increasing COVID-19 case numbers and impact on communities in Quarter 2 had meant response related activity had continued to be necessary and created some delays to planned activity. COVID-19 case numbers significantly increased during July and following a significant reduction steadily increased throughout August and September 2021.
During July and August 2021, when social distancing rules started to be relaxed and close contacts were increasing, the number of people, including Council staff, notified by the NHS COVID-19 app or contact tracers to self-isolate increased sharply across the UK. For the Council, this had had a direct and disruptive impact on staff shortages particularly within the Health and Social Care System.
The Council Plan Delivery Plan 2021/22 included both a description of 50 actions that the Council would undertake with target dates for delivery or milestone, and 41 performance measures which provided an indication of how well the Council was performing.
The overall position by the end of Quarter 2 2021/22 was that 35 of the 50 (70%) Council Plan Delivery Plan actions had delivered, met or were on track to meet the planned milestone and rated green, 28 (28%) were in progress and at risk of missing the milestone and rated amber. For the same period one action (2%) was expected to miss a key milestone or not fully deliver as intended and therefore rated red.
In terms of the measures used to track performance, the overall position for Quarter 2 was that 19 of 41 measures (46%) demonstrated positive performance, exceeding the target or within 5% of the target which results in a green rating. Thirteen measures (32%) were within 10% of meeting the target figure and rated amber, and nine measures (22%) were more than 10% off the target and therefore rated red.
The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services had grave concerns over the effect of COVID-19 on some of the children and family services. She was also disappointed about the lack of apprenticeship opportunities for the Looked After Children and hoped these would become available to them again in the near future.
The Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue reported positively on the creation of the new highways reporting system, which had proved to ... view the full minutes text for item 177.
To consider a report from the Chief Fire Officer (copy enclosed)
Members considered a report from the Chief Fire Officer, which informed them that following the recent decision on Local Government Reform (LGR), the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) had signalled his intent to put together a business case to support a proposal for the governance role of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) to be transferred to the PCC.
Any transfer of the governance of CFRS to the PCC would require an order of the Secretary of State who could only make an order if they were satisfied it would be in the interests of economy, efficiency, and effectiveness and in the interests of public safety. The PCC was under no obligation to submit a proposal and could decide at any time not to. Even if a proposal was submitted, the Secretary of State could determine not to make the relevant order.
To cover this eventuality, the Structural Change Order (SCO) which set out the key elements of the LGR process should retain the flexibility for all other possible options for the future governance of CFRS to be implemented and ensure the shadow authorities had sufficient power to implement these.
The report outlined the process for the PCC to take over governance of CFRS and for LGR and highlights areas of risk and concern that Elected Members should be aware of in any discussion about the future of CFRS governance.
RESOLVED, that Cabinet note the report.
To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy & Infrastructure (copy enclosed)
Appendix 2 – Subsidy Control Assessment is not for publication by virtue of paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 as this report contains information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which updated them on progress towards the redevelopment of the Citadels Site facilitating delivery of a transformational project for Carlisle and the wider Borderlands region.
The Citadels Site would become the new home for the University of Cumbria (UoC) creating a new university campus that woulsupport the future growth of the city and the university, stimulating economic activity in the city centre and increasing skills and business productivity in the region.
This report sought Cabinet approval to transfer the Citadels Site to UoC, as an in-kind contribution to the project. The Citadels Site comprised the former Crown Court buildings, the adjoining hospital wing, the Kraemer building, the Nisi Prius building and the Citadels Car Park currently owned by the County Council. The proposal was to transfer the freehold to UoC for nil consideration in order to enable development of this transformational project and creation of the new city centre university campus.
Redevelopment of Carlisle Station Gateway and Citadels was a strategic project within the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal. The Citadels project aimed to redevelop a 1.65-hectare site of historic importance to create a new city centre campus for the UoC. The site was in the combined ownership of Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council. As landowners, the County and City Councils were key partners in enabling the development of the project.
The County Council had worked closely with UoC and the City Council from the project inception to the point at which Borderland’s funding was secured following submission of the full business case. Delivery of the project was being led by UoC, who would be the recipient of Borderlands funding (£50m) as well as contributing £23.5m of the University’s funding. A further £4m was to be provided via the Carlisle Town Deal.
The Citadels project proposed the re-development of the Grade 1 listed Citadels structures as well as the construction of new buildings to deliver a mixture of high quality and fully digital enabled teaching spaces, together with space for university administration and support services as well as creative and cultural facilities. The proposed campus would have a transformational impact on Carlisle City Centre, bringing the UoC’s Centre for Digital Transformation, a 200-seat multi-purpose lecture theatre, internal and external exhibition areas, a business interaction space, a café and a new public square accessible for all.
The recommended option for the freehold disposal of the entire Citadels Site to the UoC at nil consideration aligned with the key benefits to be realised from transferring the asset to UoC, which were:-
• Significant benefits for the local economy, community and environment from the development of a new city centre university campus.
• A strong and growing UoC at the heart of the city, creating a profile and opportunities that promote regional economic growth.
• New investment in and purpose for local historic assets, showcasing a rich cultural heritage for residents and visitors to ... view the full minutes text for item 179.
To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy & Infrastructure (copy enclosed)
Cabinet had before it a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which sought approval for Cumbria County Council to be the accountable body for the Cumbria Coastal Community Forest Project.
Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Woodlands and the National Trust had submitted a joint bid for Cumbria Coastal Community Forest (CCCF) to join the Trees for Climate Programme coordinated by England’s Community Forests (ECF).
In November 2021 the Council received confirmation that CCCF had been accepted on to the scheme and awarded an initial £220,000 boost to kick start the scheme, with the aim to plant 150 hectares of woodland by the end of March 2025. It was anticipated that further funding would be made available in future years to achieve this aim.
The Community Forests would help enhance Cumbria’s natural capital and provide more opportunities for residents to benefit from the direct and indirect values that the natural world provided. Helping to make the whole of Cumbria an ever more inviting place to live and visit.
Agreeing to be the Accountable Body for the CCCF would enable the ambitious programme summarised, helping residents to gain access to nature whilst significantly contributing to climate change adaption and mitigation in the area.
The project would lead to sustainable and systematic improvements in the lived experience of residents in coastal communities, and would support the Public Health Strategy; and help meet the ambitions of the Cycling and Walking Strategy.
The Cabinet Member asked for a slight amendment to recommendation 2 to include the words ‘in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment’. This was agreed.
(1) Cabinet agrees in principle that the Council will act as accountable body for Cumbria Coastal Community Forest project.
(2) Cabinet delegates to the Executive Director of Economy and Infrastructure, in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member - Environment the acceptance and approval of the terms of the grant between the Council and Cheshire West and Chester (as the national accountable body).
(3) Cabinet delegates to the Executive Director of Economy and Infrastructure the acceptance on behalf of the Council as the accountable body, receipt of the initial grant funding of £220,000 (£170,000 capital funding and £50,000 revenue funding) in year one, from Cheshire West and Chester (as the national accountable body). Subsequent year’s funding will be brought back to Cabinet for acceptance. Once received this funding will be held on behalf of CCCF.
(4) Cabinet agrees to recommend to Council the addition of a new scheme of £220,000 to its Capital Programme 2021-2026 (Cumbria Coastal Community Forest) funded by the Nature for Climate grant received from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) – see figure 2 below for the governance.
To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (copy enclosed)
Cabinet had before it a report from the Executive Director – People, which set out the proposed admission arrangements for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools, for which the county council was the statutory admission authority.
On 23 September 2021, after considering the options set out in the published report and the reasons set out in the report, Cabinet resolved that:
• the proposed admissions policy for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools for 2023-24 go out to consultation with the required groups as set out in the School Admissions Code 2021;
• the establishment of a dual secondary school catchment area for Millom School and West Lakes Academy to better support children and families living in the primary catchment areas of Gosforth, Seascale and St Bega’s schools go out for consultation;
• the proposed co-ordinated scheme for 2023-24 for all maintained schools and academies in Cumbria be approved (appendix 1);
• the proposed definition of relevant areas for admission authorities in Cumbria for the period 2023-24 go out for consultation (appendix 2); and
• the nursery admissions policy for 2023-24 for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools and infant/primary schools providing nursery education be approved.
The consultation process had opened on 1 October 2021 and closed on 11 November 2021. The LA consulted on all aspects of the proposed admission arrangements. ‘Arrangements’ technically included the PAN for every Community and Voluntary Controlled school and the oversubscription criteria which specifically include reference to catchment areas.
A total of 94 responses to the consultation were received. 78 of the responses were relevant to the consultation. 77 related to the establishment of the dual catchment area between West Lakes Academy and Millom and all were in favour. One response was related to the criteria of the relevant area and was in favour of the proposed definition. A more detailed analysis of the consultation responses could be viewed at Appendix 3. of the report.
The Cabinet Member said the establishment of a dual catchment area in this case did not set a precedence, but would ensure families in this area who saw Millom as part of their community, and Millom School as a ‘natural’ alternative to West Lakes Academy, would be given the opportunity to send their children there in future.
It was forecast that no more than a single bus would be required at any time between the affected areas and Millom
(1) Cabinet approve the proposed Policy for Admission to Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools 2023-24 including the establishment of a dual catchment area between West Lakes Academy and Millom School;
(2) Cabinet approve the proposed definition of relevant area for Admission Authorities in Cumbria
To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (copy enclosed)
Cabinet members considered a report from the Executive Director – People which set out the current arrangements for school funding and updated members on the outcome of a recent consultation with schools.
A National Funding Formula (NFF) was introduced for schools from 2018/19 and as in previous years it would continue to be ‘soft’ year in 2022/23 giving local authorities flexibility in applying the NFF.
In 2019, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a three-year school funding settlement for 2020/21 to 2022/23. This outlined a national increase in school budgets of £14.5bn over 3 years compared to 2019/20 levels resulting in increases of £2.6bn in 2020/21, £4.8bn in 2021/22 and £7.1bn in 2022/23. With £4.8bn already having been allocated by 2021/22 an additional £2.3bn had been allocated in 2022/23. Of this, £780m was being directed to the High Needs Block.
In the Autumn 2021 Spending Review the government announced additional funding of £4.7bn by 2024/25 for the core schools budget. This included a further £1.6bn for schools in 2022/23 on top of what had already been announced in recognition of budget pressures due to national insurance increases, high needs and responding to COVID19. The split of this funding at a local level had not yet been announced.
Local Authorities are obliged to consult their local schools and Schools Forum on an annual basis regarding changes to school funding arrangements and whether to continue to adopt the NFF. Cumbria had adopted the NFF each year since 2018/19.
In addition to deciding whether to adopt the NFF for schools or to apply a locally determined formula, Local Authorities also had discretion over whether to transfer up to 0.5% of funding from the Schools Block into other blocks with the agreement of Schools Forum. Last year, after allocating the NFF in full a transfer of 0.5% equating to £1.558m was agreed. After allocating the budget on this basis, and after taking into account the growth budget, £0.553m was leftover which was allocated to schools through increasing the basic per pupil amount. Cabinet was statutorily responsible for deciding on a formula through which funding was allocated to schools.
Following a consultation with all Cumbrian schools affected by these proposals, Cumbria Schools Forum at its meeting on 22 November 2021, had recommended to Cabinet that the National Funding Formula was implemented in full from April 2022 for the 2022/23 financial year and, after taking into account the growth fund budget, any residual balance up to a maximum of 0.5% of funding is to be transferred from the Schools Block into the High Needs block with any balance remaining in the Schools block after the transfer of a maximum of 0.5% to be allocated to schools through the school funding formula.
Cabinet Members asked for an additional recommendation to be agreed to allow for any additional money to be allocated, if required.
(1) Cabinet approve the recommendation of the Cumbria Schools Forum to allocate funding to schools using the National Funding Formula in ... view the full minutes text for item 182.