Venue: Council Chamber, County Offices, Kendal
Contact: Jackie Currie Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Mrs P Bell and Mrs J Willis.
Mrs A Burns and Mr D Southward arrived late to the meeting due to traffic delays from a road traffic accident.
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 made 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 not excluded during any items of business today.
To receive the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 22 September 2022 (copy enclosed)
RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2022 be 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.
Mr D Southward arrived at the meeting at this point.
The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport made a statement about Winter Maintenance. The weather over the last 10 days had turned much colder and the County Council’s Highway Teams had been out gritting the roads across the County. The Council had received many requests for grit bins in response to the severe temperatures.
He then went on to make a statement about the four youngsters that had sadly diedas a result off falling through ice on a frozen lake in Solihull. He mentioned a recent event in Cumbria where it had been reported that there had been two young boys that had fallen into Siddick Pond in Workington.
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service crews from Workington and Whitehaven were called, working alongside colleagues from Cumbria Police, North West Ambulance Service and assistance from HM Coastguard and their helicopter, Maryport Rescue and voluntary organisation West Cumbria Search & Animal Rescue a thorough search was carried out.
Following extensive enquiries by Cumbria Police they were able to identify the boys involved and speak with them, it was believed that one of them partially fell through the ice, however he did not fully enter the water.
The Local Member for Seaton, whose division Siddick Pond was located in thanked all of the emergency services for their swift response to this incident.
The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport also praised the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service for their response to the recent fire in Hadrians Gardens in Carlisle which sadly had resulted in a fatality. He sent condolences to all concerned with this.
Mrs A Burns arrived at the meeting at this point.
The Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Property then made a statement about Cumbria County Council’s progress in Digital Infrastructure Strategy. Members heard how significant progress in its Digital Infrastructure Strategy had been achieved over the last 12 months, with almost 95% of properties in the county now able to access broadband services of at least 30Mbps. Over 31% of properties had access to gigabit-capable broadband, an increase from just 12% at the beginning of the year.
It was expected that access to gigabit capable broadband will expand much further over the next few years. Nine broadband suppliers had broadband programmes in progress in Cumbria, investing hundreds of millions of pounds into the county and creating jobs and opportunities for business growth in the area.
There were no questions, petitions or statements at the time of despatch
Ms Wendi Lethbridge attended to ask Cabinet a question about the Abbey Care Home in Staveley.
She spoke to say the following:
‘My name is Wendy Lethbridge and I have lived in Staveley for over 30 years. I have had 2 accidents since 2018 which have reduced my mobility and access to my house is not easy.
In 2019 the decision was made to close the Abbey Care Home and I was one of many local people who objected and signed a 2000 strong petition to SAVE OUR ABBEY. But in 2020 Cumbria County Council closed it anyway. Staveley people are determined to carry on looking after its older residents, in Staveley, people, who like me, have strong ties to Staveley, and close friends.
Staveley Community Trust was set up so that the building and grounds could be owned by members of the community so that the people decide what it will deliver and how to run it. Over a year ago, in October 2021, an innovative, costed proposal that matched local needs was submitted to Cumbria County Council. South Lakeland District Council were impressed enough to offer a £260,000 Community Homes Grant to prepare for the build, and to make our case even stronger.
Other grant funding has been promised. Not only would the site provide extra care homes, a care hub, and home from hospital care, but potentially free up local homes for local families, in a village suffering from second home blight.
Cumbria County Council eventually came back with a number of points of viability to which we responded with full support from the Parish Council in May this year – then waited, from June to September, during which time Staveley Community Trust were led to believe that CCC was working with them so that the Abbey could be transferred to the community at less than market value.
Having waited for so long for more consultation, the decision on 24 October this year that Cumbria County Council had refused to transfer the Abbey building as a Community Asset, felt like a slap in the face, and the final straw came when less than 3 weeks later, it was put on the open market – to be sold to the highest bidder by 18 January 2023.
We intend to make sure it is owned by our community, so Staveley Community Trust have launched a crowdfunding page which is doing very well, and we have been offered match funding once the fund reaches £100,000.
More than 120 people so far have written to the LDNPA to object to a change of use from C2, and emphasise that we need a care facility in Staveley.
Nobody should have to leave the area they live in because they are older or need a little help. That’s the starting point for our proposal. If the Abbey is sold to the highest bidder I want to know how the new Westmorland and Furness Authority will meet my needs and others like me? Cumbria ... view the full minutes text for item 40.
SCRUTINY REVIEW - NO CHILD GOES HUNGRY
To consider a report from the Chair of the No Child Goes Hungry Task and Finish Group (copy enclosed)
The Chair of the No Child Goes Hungry Task and Finish Group presented a report which set out the findings and recommendations of a Scrutiny Task and Finish Group which was established in September 2022 to explore options for extending access to adequate nutritious food, to ensure that no child goes hungry at any point, building on the work of the Council’s Cost of Living Crisis fund and work undertaken during the pandemic.
The report was debated by Council on 3 November 2022. Members supported the recommendations in the report and referred the report to Cabinet to consider the outcomes and allocate funding as part of the Quarter 2 budget monitoring report.
The Chair of the Scrutiny Task and Finish Group then took members through the key findings and the recommendations from the task and finish group for Cabinet to consider.
The Chair said Scrutiny members hoped this would help to establish a bridge for the two new unitary councils to take forward as a standard and legacy from Cumbria County Council.
The response to the recommendations was contained in the next agenda item. Minute No 41 (b) refers.
To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (copy enclosed)
The Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services presented the response to the Scrutiny Review - No Child Goes Hungry.
The Cabinet Member thanked everyone who participated in the review, and said this was an excellent example of partnership working during a time of crisis. Agreeing the recommendations from the review and getting them in place before the winter months would be essential.
The Cabinet Member said the Cabinet would accept all 5 of the recommendations from the scrutiny review, but with a couple of pragmatic amendments.
The Leader commented that there would also be a change to recommendation 1 in relation to which funding stream the money would be allocated from. It would be funded in the manner set out in paragraph 27 of the report, leaving the Household Support Fund available to assist wider community needs.
The Leader has written a letter to the Government to lobby for an increase in the funding allocation for free school meals which would be sent once Cabinet approval was granted. All cabinet members supported the need for lobbying.
The Leader reminded Cabinet members that the relevant Scrutiny Chair had given approval for this decision to be exempted from call in due to the urgent need to deal with the cost of living crisis, and he thanked the Chair for his approval.
RESOLVED, that Cabinet
(1) Agrees to provide funding to cover the 25% of none DfE funded costs that eligible schools must contribute in order to be part of the National Breakfast Club Programme until March 2023.
(2) Agrees to provide a Food Provision Grant to every school based on a formula that included a combination of total pupil numbers and total numbers of FSM pupils. This funding to be used at the school’s discretion to ensure that their pupils are able to access hot food as appropriate. Schools will be issued with guidance and advice on use of the grant.
(3) Agrees to allocate £0.4m from the unspent Contain Outbreak Management Funding (COMF) and £1.1m from COVID ringfenced reserves to fund the breakfast clubs and food provision schemes.
(4) Agrees for the Leader to write to Government to lobby for a fair review of the funding of FSM.
(5) Agrees to enter into an agreement for the provision of free school meal vouchers during the Easter Holidays and provide funding for the vouchers in the form of a ringfenced reserve to be used by Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council.
(6) Agrees to allocate £0.5m from COVID ringfenced reserves to fund the provision of free school meal vouchers during the Easter Holidays.
To consider a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) (copy to follow)
The Deputy Leader presented a report which set out the Council’s forecast year-end financial position at 30 September 2022 and covered the revenue budget, capital programme and treasury management.
He took Cabinet through the key messages contained in the report, and highlighted the following:
· The original approved net revenue budget for 2022/23 was £455.496m. After taking account of adjustments to General Grants and transfers to and from reserves, the revised net budget 2022/23 was £472.818m at 30 September 2022. The net forecast outturn was £472.818m, an overspend of £1.368m (0.3%) as summarised in Table 1 of the report.
· The General Fund Balance at 1 April 2022 was £25.056m. Q1 forecast a £1.368m overspend position, which would reduce the General Fund balance to £23.688m. When the General Fund Balance was set by Council at £25m it was stated as being adequate for the financial risks facing the Council. Therefore, focused work was continuing to deliver a balanced budget position to mitigate any impact on the General Fund Balance. A balanced budget position for 2022/23 would enable General Fund Balance to remain at the present position of £25.056m.
· There continued to be significant financial risks that could impact on the forecast outturn position reported at Q2. These included:
Ø the uncertainty around further increases to inflation levels throughout the year;
Ø increased financial costs as care market conditions potentially improve and the unmet need for social care provision is met;
Øcapacity concerns around delivering County Council priorities whilst also supporting the Local Government Reorganisation programme and responding to national policy changes resulting in the need to invest in additional resources in year, and;
· increased demand for individual support and financial assistance for individuals and households due to the ongoing cost of living crisis.
· There had been changes to the Capital Programme since February and this report sought agreement to change the Capital Programme, 2022/23 to 2026/27, by £3.439m.
RESOLVED, that Cabinet
(1) Note the revised Revenue Budget at the provisional outturn for monitoring purposes of £471.450m as a result of the agreed transfers to and from reserves (set out in Appendix 1 of the report);
(2) Note the forecast Revenue Budget outturn as at Q2 is a projected overspend of £1.368m (see Table 1 below) which would result in a General Fund Balance position at year end of £23.688m.
(3) Note that Corporate Management Team is working collectively to identify and take further actions to mitigate the financial pressures to ensure a balanced budget position is achieved at year end resulting in a General Fund Balance position at year end of £25.056m.
(4) Note the forecast delivery of approved savings for 2022/23 is £14.792m against a total target of £16.231m (91.1%).
(5) Note the key decision that has been taken in respect of providing £3.845m of financial support for social care providers through an in year uplift to social care provider contract rates effective from 1 October 2022.
(6) Approve £2.000m of funding to support Cabinet’s response to Scrutiny Task ... view the full minutes text for item 42.
To consider a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) (copy enclosed)
Members had before them a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) which provided Cabinet with an update on corporate performance, measured against the new Council Plan Delivery Plan agreed in March 2022.
As a result of Local Government Reorganisation within Cumbria, a 12 month extension to the existing four year Council Plan 2018-22 had been agreed and would now run until March 2023. This supported a consistent focus on delivery of the broader outcomes across the Council in a rapidly changing working landscape.
Overall 38 of the 63 indicators had been met, or were on track, 19 were amber and 5 were rated red. Compared to the previous quarter this showed a slightly worsening position, with 1 more indicator now red, and 2 fewer indicators rated green.
The Cabinet Member representing Hindpool hoped that once the Fire and Rescue Service moved across to the Police and Crime Commissioner the same community focus would still be maintained. Recently there had been 3 fires in her division and the Fire Service had responded and dealt with these in a very effective manner. The role the Fire and Rescue Service played in supporting the Council’s supporting people agenda, could not be understated.
RESOLVED, that Cabinet notes the overall performance relating to delivery of the four Council Plan outcomes and context indicators for the quarter ending 30 September 2022.
To consider a report from the Executive Director - People (copy enclosed)
Members considered a report from the Executive Director – People, which sought a final decision on the proposed change of age range at St Bees Village Primary School and Wigton Infant School.
An initial public consultation exercise on the change of age ranges was carried out between 6 June 2022 and 15 July 2022, and legal notices were published on 12 October and 13 October 2022 which triggered a 4 week representation period.
St Bees was a thriving Governor–led nursery which the Head and School Governors now wanted to integrate more fully into the primary school. To formally make the nursery part of the school the age range would need to change from 4 to 11 years of age to a new range of 2 to 11 years.
The extension of age range would allow the school to more effectively share its resources with the nursery, whilst making no changes to the day-to-day running of the existing arrangements for parents and children.
No responses were received during the representation period.
In September 2020 Wigton Infant School changed its age range to 2 to 7 years in order to allow it to take on the former Longthwaite Road Pre-School.
Following a review of the facility since that date, and a temporary change to concentrate on 3 year-olds, it was now proposed to permanently amend the age range of the school to 3 to 7 years of age.
No responses were received during the representation period.
RESOLVED, that the Cabinet
(1) Agrees to implement the proposed change of age range at St Bees Village School from 4 to 11 to 2 to 11 years;
(2) Agrees to implement the change of age range at Wigton Infant School from 2 to 7 to 3 to 7 years.
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 2023/24 giving local authorities flexibility in applying the NFF.
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 0.32% equating to £1.067m was agreed. 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, including prospective members of the respective school fora for Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness, the Cumbria Schools Forum at its meeting on 23 November 2022, had recommended to Cabinet that the National Funding Formula was implemented in full from April 2022 for the 2023/24 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.
(1) Cabinet approve the recommendation of the Cumbria Schools Forum to allocate funding in Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness to schools using the National Funding Formula in 2023/24 and,
(2) after taking into account the growth fund budget, any residual balance up to a maximum of 0.5% to be transferred from the Schools Block into the High Needs block and
(3) any balance remaining in the Schools block after transfer of a maximum of 0.5% should be allocated to schools through the school funding formula.