Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 17th December, 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

68.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

69.

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:

Mrs Burns declared an interest, under the members code of conduct, in Agenda Item No 8 (a) – Scrutiny Review – Future of Local Government in Cumbria – Locality Models and Structures, as she is a member of Barrow Borough Council.

 

Mr Thornton declared an interest, under the members code of conduct, in Agenda Item No 8 (a) – Scrutiny Review – Future of Local Government in Cumbria – Locality Models and Structures, as he is a member of South Lakeland District Council.

 

Mrs Willis declared an interest, under the members code of conduct, in Agenda Item No 8 (a) – Scrutiny Review – Future of Local Government in Cumbria – Locality Models and Structures, as she is a member of South Lakeland District Council.

 

70.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To receive the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 12 November 2020 (copy enclosed)

 

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED,  that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 November 2020 be agreed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

 

71.

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 the press and public be not excluded from any items on the agenda today.

 

72.

STATEMENTS BY THE LEADER OF THE COUNCIL AND CABINET MEMBERS

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

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport updated Cabinet on the recent announcement of funding to accelerate delivery of the A66 dualling.  It had been made public as part of Comprehensive Spending Review announcement made on 25 November 2020.  The result of which was that the construction timeline for the A66 would be cut in half.  Highways England had originally planned for construction to take 10 years.  The County Council would be working closely with Highways England to support delivery of this scheme.

 

The Cabinet Member also announced that the County Council Highways Team were finalists in the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Service Awards 2020 in the category of ‘Best Service Team of the Year - Highways’ for the work undertaken on the Winter Service Review. He congratulated all those involved in this.

 

The Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services took the opportunity to thank everyone working in the care sector in Cumbria. It had been the most challenging year, and everyone had worked above and beyond during the pandemic crisis.

 

The Cabinet Member said that the Government was seeking to promote testing of visitors using Lateral Flow covid tests which would return a result in half an hour, suggesting that if the test was negative then a “normal visit” could take place. 

 

The Cabinet Member outlined her concerns with this approach, and said that even if this testing was in place, visiting was by no means risk free.  Cumbria County Council had advised homes that this should not change the requirements of their existing infection prevention and control measures.

 

As Christmas approached, the Cabinet Member wanted to reassure residents and families that the Council was doing it could to support the county’s care homes, both to keep residents safe and facilitate contact with loved ones. 

 

73.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

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

 

Minutes:

The Chair informed Cabinet that Ms Maggs Walton had requested the opportunity to speak to Cabinet about the School Admissions Item in today’s agenda.  Democratic Services then called Ms Walton into the meeting.

 

The Chair welcomed Ms Walton and explained that she had 5 minutes in which to make her statement to members, and then invited her to speak. Ms Walton gave the following statement:-

 

‘My name is Maggs Walton, a mother of 3 boys who live in the village of Gosforth.  My eldest son has just started Secondary School at Millom and two younger boys attend Gosforth Primary School in year 5 and 3.  I am writing in regard to the consultation on the 2022-23 School Admission Arrangements for Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools.   I would like to make the case for our area to have dual catchment for the Primary Schools of Gosforth, Seascale and Eskdale. 

 

Since 2017 children from our village have not always been able to get a place at their catchment secondary school of West Lakes Academy.  When this first happened in March 2017 parents and children received a letter from Cumbria County Council notifying them that a place was not available for them and that they had been assigned their second choice, Millom, or if a second choice had not been specified they were offered Whitehaven.  Given this situation was unprecedented, it came as a great shock to us all in the community.  It had a negative affect on the children who were very upset at such a key point in their life.  Sadly this has continued to be the norm since then but something we feel strongly as a community we do not want to accept.

 

Those who had specified Millom School as second choice had done so because there was an existing bus service and historically pupils from Gosforth and surrounding villages have attended this school and they have links with our schools.  To our knowledge, no children in these local villages have ever gone to Whitehaven Academy, who have never had links to our schools and even after 3 years of this happening still do not.  No contact has been made to try and link us into their transition arrangements. There are no existing school links and no established bus service to that school.  Our children would have to pass their catchment school to travel Whitehaven, passing children coming from the other direction who have been allocated a place at their only catchment choice.  This does not make sense for our communities or financially!  Putting Millom down as a choice means that we, as parents, have to pay for our children’s bus to allow them to attend a school that they have established links with.

 

This year, my son and many of his friends did not identify West Lakes Academy as their first choice because they knew that they were unlikely to get a place and this would be extremely upsetting to them. It also avoided a period of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.

74.

SCRUTINY RESPONSE TO BUDGET CONSULTATION

74a

Scrutiny's Response to the Council's Strategic Planning and Budget Consultation pdf icon PDF 79 KB

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

 

Minutes:

The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board presented a report which provided a summary of Scrutiny’s engagement in Strategic Planning for 2021/2022, and outlined key points and recommendations agreed by Scrutiny Management Board (SMB).

Scrutiny’s engagement in the 2021/22 Strategic Planning process had been an ongoing dialogue which had focussed around two sessions, the first of which took place on 6 October 2020. During the course of this session, members received a presentation from the Chief Executive and Director of Finance, outlining the current position and proposed approach, as well as the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic over the past 8 months.

 

The second session took place on 24 November 2020. Members received an update on the policy and financial context for the council. The Director of Finance set out the proposals for delivering a balanced budget for 2021/22 as presented to Cabinet earlier in November and as reflected in the Budget Consultation that runs until January 2021.

 

The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board took members through the report in detail, highlighting the key themes and points raised by members.

 

He then took Cabinet through the six recommendations from Scrutiny Management for Cabinet to consider.

 

The response to the recommendations was contained in the next agenda item.  Minute no 74 (b) refers.

 

The Chair thanked the Chair of Scrutiny Management Board for the report.

RESOLVED that,     Cabinet Members agree Scrutiny’s response and recommendations.

 

74b

Response to Scrutiny Feedback on Strategic Planning and Budget Consultation pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To consider a joint report from Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services and the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) (copy enclosed)

 

Minutes:

Members considered a report from the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services which provided a proposed Cabinet response to Scrutiny feedback on Strategic Planning and the 2021/2022 Budget Consultation. The Scrutiny Management Board made 6 recommendations to Cabinet, in respect of local government reform, commercial and income generation opportunities, future ways of working, invest to save approaches, future demand on services, and early Scrutiny engagement as proposals are brought forward. It was proposed that Cabinet accepted the 6 recommendations.

 

The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board had presented the response from Scrutiny to these budget proposals in the previous item.  Minute No 74 (a) refers.

 

The Deputy Leader took members through the Cabinet’s response to the recommendations.  He then moved the recommendation.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet accepts the 6 Scrutiny recommendations and agree the responses contained in paragraphs 11 to 55 of the report.

 

75.

FUTURE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN CUMBRIA - LOCALITY MODELS AND STRUCTURES

75a

Future of Local Government in Cumbria - Locality Models and Structures pdf icon PDF 79 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mrs Burns declared an interest under the members code of conduct in this item, as she is a member of Barrow Borough Council.

 

Mr Thornton declared an interest under the members code of conduct in this item as he is a member of South Lakeland District Council.

 

Mrs Willis declared an interest under the members code of conduct in this item as she is a member of South Lakeland District Council.

 

The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board presented a report from the Future of Local Government in Cumbria – Locality Models and Structures Task and Finish Group.

 

The report invited Cabinet to consider the findings and recommendations of the Scrutiny Task and Finish Group.  The report was based on learning from other areas, and the experience and views of a wide range of stakeholders.

Cumbrian local authorities had been invited by the Government to submit proposals for unitary authority status. This report provided a perspective on one aspect of the process – models of localisation and downward devolution.

Scrutiny Management Board agreed on 10 September 2020 to an initial phase of activity focused on the development of proposals in respect of locality arrangements, and strengthening the role of town and parish councils.

The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board took Cabinet members through the detail of this activity and the three recommendations made by the Scrutiny Management Board.

He felt that overall, Scrutiny Members were able to benefit from insights gathered across parts of Cumbria and from examples across the country. It was hoped that the recommendations would help to inform any future model of localisation, and any further scrutiny activity.

The response to the recommendations was contained in the next agenda item.  Minute no 75 (b) refers.

 

The Chair thanked the Chair of Scrutiny Management Board for the report.

 

RESOLVED, that Members consider the findings and recommendations made by the Scrutiny Task and Finish Group into Future of Local Government in Cumbria – Locality Models and Structures, as set out in the report at Appendix 1.

 

75b

Response to Future of Local Government in Cumbria - Locality Models and Structures Scrutiny Recommendations pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To consider a report from the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services (copy enclosed)

 

Minutes:

Cabinet had before it a report from the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services, which provided proposed Cabinet responses to the findings and recommendations of the Scrutiny Task and Finish Group on the future of local government in Cumbria with a focus on locality models and structures.

 

In early September Cabinet approved a high-level proposition for Local Government Reform in Cumbria and an associated Business Case. These documents were subsequently submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government following receipt on an invitation to principal local authorities in Cumbria to submit proposals for reform.

 

The proposition and Business Case included the aim that one new Council for the people of Cumbria would deliver stronger town and parish councils and locality working and more powers to Cumbria’s many and varied local communities over what happened in their area.

 

In advance of Cabinet consideration, all non-executive Members of the Council were invited to a session held on 19 August 2020 to receive an update on the development of proposals and contribute to the further development of proposals.  At this session Members identified exploration of potential locality arrangements, including strengthened Town and Parish Councils, as a piece of future Scrutiny Work.  The Scrutiny Management Board subsequently commissioned a Task and Finish Group to explore this issue and agreed a scope for initial work on 10 September.

 

The findings and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group were presented under the previous item (Minute No 75 (a) refers.

 

The Leader said Cabinet welcomed the work that Members had carried out and appreciated the efforts to complete this initial work over a short period of time.

 

The Leader reminded Cabinet that the decision of the Government on the next steps in the local government reform process would be made after 9 December 2020.The shape and pace of further development of proposals was linked to Ministerial decisions on the proposals received from local authorities in Cumbria.

 

Cabinet welcomed and accepted the findings and recommendations from Scrutiny and would use them to inform future local work and decisions on the relevant issues.

 

The Leader asked Cabinet to agree an additional recommendation that the task and finish review be shared with colleagues in the district, town and parish councils within the county.  This was agreed.

 

RESOLVED, that

 

(1)     members agree the responses to the Scrutiny Task and Finish Group’s recommendations as set out in paragraphs 10 to 29 of the report;

 

(2)     The Scrutiny Task and Finish Group’s Review be shared with colleagues in the district, town and parish councils in Cumbria.

 

76.

2020/21 Revenue and Capital Budget Monitoring Report to 30 September 2020 pdf icon PDF 260 KB

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

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report from the Director of Finance (Section 151 Officer) which set out the Council’s forecast financial position at 30 September 2020, Quarter 2 (Q2); covering the Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Treasury Management.  This report linked to the Council Plan Delivery Plan Report which was contained in the next item on today’s agenda.

 

The Deputy Leader said the financial context for the Council remained extremely challenging.  Since setting the Budget, as a result of the response to, and recovery from, the COVID-19 pandemic there had been significant and unprecedented financial consequences for the Council, as with other Local Authorities.

 

The financial impacts of the COVID-19 continued to emerge and evolve and would be ongoing beyond the current financial year.  In this year, these impacts included one-off and exceptional costs, changes and increases in demand for social care, re-prioritisation of resources, delays to transformation activity and lost income in both sales, fees and charges and more significantly, expected decreases in core funding of Council Tax and Business Rates.

 

The Deputy Leader took Cabinet through the key messages contained in the report.

 

He asked that thanks be recorded to the Director of Finance and all the Finance Team for the efficient and effective work carried out, in supporting the Directorates, to ensure the County Council made sound financial decisions, noting that the current forecast that the Council will finish the year in a break even position i.e. a balanced budget is to be welcomed. Cabinet supported these comments.

 

Before closing the Leader of the Council commented on the three major risks to be faced by the public sector as a whole over the next few months, including:-

 

·         The effects and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic

·         The prospects of a trade deal ,or lack of, as the Country exited the European Union

·         Winter weather and the challenges which could come with this

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet

 

(1)     Note the revised Revenue Budget at the provisional outturn for monitoring purposes of £407.930m as a result of the transfers from the COVID-19 Emergency Grant Earmarked Reserve and agreed transfers to and from reserves (set out in Appendix 1);

 

(2)     Note the forecast Revenue Budget outturn is breakeven at the year-end, with the assumptions as set out in this report (see Table 2 below);

 

(3)     Note that the breakeven forecast outturn position is sensitive to a number of underlying assumptions, which are set out in paragraph 4 (xi) of the Executive Summary;

 

(4)     Note progress in delivering the new savings for 2020/21 of £5.646m; a total of £4.186m (74.1%) of these new 2020/21 savings are forecast to be delivered by 31st March 2021;

 

(5)     Approve the transfer of £13.687m to a Financial Volatility Earmarked Reserve, as detailed in paragraph 45;

 

(6)     Approve the creation of Earmarked Reserves for Local Cycle Walk Infrastructure Plans £0.050m and Digital Village Hubs/Project Management Officers £1.300m within the Economy and Infrastructure Directorate, as detailed in paragraph 46.;

 

(7)     Approve the revenue contribution to capital expenditure of £0.185m, in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.

77.

Corporate Performance Monitoring Report – Quarter 2 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 280 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report from the Director of Finance, which provided members with a progress update on corporate performance, incorporating progress on the Council Plan Delivery Plan 2020/21 for the three month period from 1 June 2020 to 30 September 2020.

 

This was the first performance report to be considered since the agreement in September of the new Council Plan Delivery Plan.  In terms of the key messages, the Leader of the Council stated the overall position at the end of Quarter 2 2020/21 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, fourteen (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 was therefore rated red.

 

In terms of the measures used to track performance, the overall position for Quarter 2 was that 24 of 41 measures (59%) demonstrated positive, exceeding the target or within 5% of the target which resulted in a green rating. Ten measures (24%) were within 10% of the target and rated amber. Seven measures (17%) were more than 10% off the target and were therefore rated red.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet note the overall performance relating to the delivery of the implementation of new ways of working and the three Council Plan outcomes, focusing on progress against the actions and metrics identified in the Council Plan Delivery Plan 2020/22 for the Quarter ending 30 September 2020.

 

The meeting broke at 11.30am and reconvened at 11.35am

 

78.

Response to Copeland Borough Council Local Plan 2017 - 2035 Preferred Options Consultation pdf icon PDF 101 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 sought Cabinet’s approval to the Council’s consultation response to the Preferred Options for the new Copeland Local Plan as set out in Appendix 1 and the other supporting appendices contained within the report. 

 

A draft response to the Preferred Options consultation was shared with Copeland Borough Council on 30 November 2020, but this was subject to change and to Cabinet approval.

 

The Cabinet Member – Environment took members through the report.  Upon conclusion of the discussions she moved the recommendation.

 

Cabinet supported the recommendation on the basis that this would help to ensure the Council’s interests and priorities were reflected within the Local Plan, and ensure the integration of Local Plan growth and infrastructure planning.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet approves the technical response contained in Appendix 1 and the site-specific highway and drainage comments (Appendices 2 and 3) of the report for formal submission to Copeland Borough Council.

 

79.

Community Asset Transfer of Walkmill Community Woodland - Grant of a Long Term Lease pdf icon PDF 90 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet had before it a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure, which proposed a Community Asset Transfer for the grant of a long-term lease (99 years) on a full repairing and insuring basis (FRI) of the Walkmill Community Woodland to Moresby Parish Council (transfer at undervalue) for nil rent.

 

The Walkmill Community Woodland was a popular recreational area created by Cumbria County Council on a 36ha former colliery site close to Moresby Parks.

 

The woodlands were not used operationally by the County Council and were identified as a surplus property asset in 2019.  Moresby residents and visitors appreciated the paths and open spaces and were keen for the site to remain accessible.

 

In conjunction with the West Cumbria Rivers Trust and the Walkmill Community Woodland Activity Group, Moresby Parish Council requested a Community Asset Transfer from the County Council. The Parish Council would hold the lease on Full Repairing and Insuring terms.

 

The Parish Council working with a number of interested groups was looking to maintain and develop the natural environment and access to the woods whilst promoting community health and wellbeing. 

 

Cabinet supported the proposal, which demonstrated how enthusiastic local groups could work with an established lower tier of local government to support community and voluntary activities in an area. All partners had a common aim to promote further use of this well-loved local asset.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet

 

(1)     agree the grant of a long-term lease (99 years) on a FRI basis of Walkmill Community Woodland to Moresby Parish Council (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.

 

80.

Community Asset Transfer of the former Mirehouse Library - Grant of a Long Term Lease pdf icon PDF 95 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 for the grant of a long term lease (25 years) on a full repairing and insuring basis (FRI) of the former Mirehouse Library to Mirehouse Community Association Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) (transfer at undervalue) for nil rent with an option for a future freehold conversion.

 

This former Branch Library was in the centre of the Mirehouse area of Whitehaven surrounded by local facilities including churches, schools and neighbourhood shops.  Mirehouse Community Association had been running a community café from this building since July 2018 following closure of the Library.  The group had also used the building to host a series of short and long term community activities.

 

The Community Association had applied for a Community Asset Transfer as a long-term interest in the building would allow them to obtain funding to carry out much needed alterations and improvements including a different heating system, new windows and a fit-for-purpose ventilation system.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet

 

(1)     agree the grant of a long term lease (25 years) on a FRI basis of the former Mirehouse Library to Mirehouse Community Association 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.

 

81.

Highways Winter Service Review 2021 - 2026 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet members considered a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure, which asked them to approve the Winter Service Policy 2021 to 2026.

 

The Policy set out how the Council, as the highways authority for Cumbria, would manage the county highways during the winter period to enable the safe movement of goods, people and services on the highway in and around Cumbria.  The approval of this policy would demonstrate compliance, where reasonably practicable, with the Government’s Well-Managed Highways Infrastructure: A Code of Practice.

 

The highways winter service was an essential front-line service to keep roads and routes open, well-connected and accessible despite ice and snow during the winter months, September to April.  The service made an important contribution to the Council’s overall vision and the council recognised that given the size of, and resources required to deliver winter service in Cumbria, it was not economical or practical to treat the whole of the 7900km of highways network when undertaking ‘planned’ winter activities.

 

The Council recognised that certain routes were more important for road users and therefore these must be prioritised for treatment.  The Council aimed to keep these roads open and usable as a priority over other parts of the network and it was therefore essential that the Council clearly designated a hierarchy for carriageways that would receive priority treatment during winter.

 

Cabinet noted that following approval of this report, a Cumbria wide winter service route optimisation exercise would be undertaken to establish the most efficient and cost-effective means of delivering winter services across the approved network.

 

The Leader said Cabinet was pleased to note that areas around the schools would now get priority as part of this review.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet approve the Winter Service Policy September 2021 to April 2026 as set out in Appendix 1 of the report.

 

82.

Award of Design and Build Contract Alternative Provision Hubs - Barrow and Carlisle pdf icon PDF 101 KB

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

 

Minutes:

Members had before them a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which recommended entering into the second stage of a Design and Build (D&B) contract to provide new Alternative Provision (AP) Hubs in Barrow and Carlisle.

 

Cumbria County Council’s Inclusive Cumbria Strategy (2017-22) set out proposals for transforming the Council’s approach to ensuring all children had the best possible education and support, regardless of academic ability.

 

A key part of the strategy focused on Alternative Provision (AP), expanding the remit of Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) to support a wider AP offer. The aim was to provide an alternative educational offer tailored to children and young people who were unable (for academic, social or emotional reasons) to access the curriculum in mainstream schools.

 

The need for AP in Cumbria was highlighted by a large recent increase in exclusion rates from mainstream schools, with more children dropping out of education with the potential of being left behind.

 

As a key element of the Inclusive Cumbria Strategy (2017-22), and following a Strategic Needs Analysis, a project to establish AP units in the North and South of the County (Carlisle and Barrow) was prioritised.  The project received initial approval from Cabinet in June 2018.

 

The Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning added that times were changing and one of the biggest issues in the country at the moment is the issue of children being excluded from school and being catered for in full time education.  She referred to the past objectives of the Pupil Referral Units (PRU) which had included getting youngsters back into mainstream school after a short stay in the units.  Over the years this had proven to be ineffective and she hoped that the development of alternative provision, alongside the PRUs would enable this objective to be achieved.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services spoke to say she supported everything said by the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet approve, the award of the second stage of the Design and Build contract to provide new Alternative Provision (AP) Hubs in Barrow and Carlisle to Roland Hill Ltd for a contract value of £4,650,026.

 

83.

Carlisle Station Gateway Project - Borderlands Grant Funding Agreement pdf icon PDF 506 KB

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

 

Minutes:

The Leader presented a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which explained that the Heads of Terms for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal (July 2019) had confirmed ‘in principle’ support for the project with £15m allocated, subject to a satisfactory detailed business case. 

 

Although a draft business case had been prepared pre-COVID-19, the financial and economic modelling assumptions in the business case had to be revisited.  As a result, the business case was amended to increase the funding ask to £20m.  At the end of October 2020, Cumbria County Council received confirmation from MHCLG that funding of £20m was approved for the Project.

 

Northumberland County Council was the accountable body for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and would receive the funding from MHCLG.  This report asked Cabinet to agree to enter into a grant funding agreement with Northumberland County Council and to take responsibility for the delivery of the project, in line with the approved business case. 

 

The primary objectives of the Carlisle Station Gateway Project were to increase passenger use of the station and to create a more attractive gateway to the city centre.  The Leader outlined the proposed plans for the development of the station.

 

A number of funding conditions were identified by MHCLG at funding approval, and the Leader took Cabinet through these.

 

In accepting the grant funding the Council was agreeing to take responsibility for the delivery of the Project and in addition to providing a financial contribution was also accepting responsibility for the cost over-run risk. 

 

The Leader felt that the development of the project would encourage new services to use the station, and this project was future-proofed through passively providing for HS2, through the aforementioned passenger growth and investment in the station.  Carlisle was an excellent location for HS2 to stop at in the future, and this Project not only future-proofed for it but created the conditions to encourage use of the HS2 stop at Carlisle.

 

Increased parking provision for customers (including electric charge points and disabled bays) and enhanced pedestrian access and cycle facilities in and around the Station would also be provided as part of this project.

 

Cabinet supported the project and the recommendations moved by the Leader.

 

RESOLVED,       that Cabinet agrees to:

 

(1)     In principle, enter into a Grant Funding Agreement with Northumberland County Council (as accountable body for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal) in relation to the Carlisle Station Gateway Project;

(2)     Delegate authority to the Executive Director - Economy and Infrastructure, in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder and the S151 Officer and Monitoring Officer, to agree the terms of and authorise the execution of the grant funding agreement in respect of the Carlisle Station Gateway Project.;

(3)     The inclusion of the £18.001m funding into the Capital Programme from 2020/2021 in respect of Carlisle Station Gateway Project, in addition to the £6.100m approved by the Chief Executive on 10th November 2020 for acquisition of land for the Project;

(4)     Recommend to Full  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.

84.

School Funding Formula 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

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

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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 a ‘soft’ year in 2021-22 giving local authorities flexibility in applying the NFF.

 

Last year, 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 £2.6bn already having been allocated in 2020-21 an additional £2.2bn has been allocated in 2021-22.  Of this, £730m was being directed to the High Needs Block.

 

Local Authorities were 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 £1.511m was agreed.  Cabinet was statutorily responsible for deciding on a formula through which funding is allocated to schools.

 

Following a consultation with all Cumbrian schools affected by these proposals, Cumbria Schools Forum at its meeting on 27 November 2020, had recommended to Cabinet that the National Funding Formula was implemented in full from April 2021 for the 2021-22 financial year and, 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 with any balance remaining in the Schools block after the transfer of a maximum of 0.5% should be allocated to schools through the school funding formula.

 

Cabinet supported this proposal.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet approve the recommendation of the Cumbria Schools Forum to allocate funding to schools using the National Funding Formula in 2021-22 and, 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 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.  

85.

2022-2023 School Admissions Arrangements pdf icon PDF 121 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please note this item was moved up the agenda and discussed after Item 6 during the meeting.

 

Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – People which set out at Appendix A, the proposed admission arrangements for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools, for which the county council was the statutory admission authority.  The Local Authority (LA) was required to consult other admission authorities on any changes to the policy, including catchment areas and proposed reductions to published admission numbers (PANs).  The LA must also consult the governing bodies of Community and Voluntary Controlled schools where it proposed to increase or retain the existing Published Admission Number (PAN) for 2022-23. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning took members through the report.

 

She specifically mentioned the proposed PAN Changes from September 2021:

 

School

Current PAN

Proposed PAN

Ewanrigg Junior School

40

30

Orgill  Primary School, Egremont

40

30

 

The head teacher and governing body of Ewanrigg Junior School, Maryport had formally requested that the PAN for the school be reduced from 40 to 30.  In recent years the September Year 3 intake had reduced.  Numbers generally in the area indicated that even with the PAN reduction sought there were likely to be sufficient places available to meet demand for the foreseeable future.

 

The headteacher and governors at Orgill Primary School, Egremont had requested that the PAN be reduced from 40 to 30.  In recent years the September Reception intake had reduced.  Early years and nursery provision at the school had been extended requiring some re-designation of accommodation.  Numbers generally in the area indicated that even with the PAN reduction sought there were likely to be sufficient places available to meet demand for the foreseeable future.

 

Following consultation on this proposal, which closed on 17 November 2020, no responses were received.

 

Admission arrangements included the PAN for every Community and Voluntary Controlled school, and the oversubscription criteria, which specifically included reference to catchment areas.

 

Voluntary Aided, Foundation, Free schools and Academies had responsibility for determining their own admission arrangements, including catchment areas and oversubscription criteria.  

 

A total of 13 responses to the consultation were received.  All respondents requested that consideration be given to issues relating to the catchment area boundaries for West Lakes Academy and Millom School with 8 requesting that specific consideration be given to develop a dual catchment for the areas of Gosforth, Seascale and Eskdale. 

 

As detailed in the Public Participation item earlier in today’s agenda (Minute No 73 refers) this was an ongoing issue, and had been the subject of two previous call in meetings.  In both cases, following the call in meetings Cabinet had resolved to retain the current admission arrangements for the area.

 

After listening to the participant’s statements in the earlier item, and the comments that there hadn’t been sufficient time for Scrutiny to consider the consultation responses,  the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning asked Cabinet to defer recommendation 2 to enable time for the Scrutiny Committee to look at this.

 

RESOLVED  ...  view the full minutes text for item 85.

86.

Proposed Change of Age Range to Armathwaite School pdf icon PDF 114 KB

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – People which dealt with the outcome of the ‘representation period’ triggered by the publication of statutory notices to change the age range at Armathwaite School to allow the creation of a maintained nursery.

 

Armathwaite Nursery Group had been operating from the school site for a number of years.  This popular facility ceased to operate at the end of the Summer Term 2020.  Since the start of the Autumn term in September, the governors of Armathwaite School had been offering a continuation of the provision through ‘governor-led’ childcare, but wished to formalise the establishment of maintained nursery provision through a change of the age range catered for by the school, from the current 4 to 11 to 3 to 11.

 

A public consultation was undertaken between 7 September and 2 October 2020 with 220 letters sent to parents, staff, governors and other stakeholders.

 

Cabinet considered the outcome of consultation on 15 October and agreed to the publication of the statutory notices required to bring about the change in age range.  Notices were published on 7 November 2020, and this triggered a 4-week representation period during which any interested party was able to submit objections or comments.  The representation period ended on 5 December 2020.  No representations were received.

 

Cabinet members supported the proposal which would provide a sustainable and well subscribed maintained nursery facility for children in the local area.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet approve the change of age range of Armathwaite School from 4-11yrs to 3-11yrs in order to establish maintained nursery provision from 1 January 2021.