Venue: This meeting will not take place in a physical location but will be held remotely.
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Roll Call of Members
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Mr Barbour, Miss Fearon, Mr H Graham, Mr W Graham, Ms McCarron-Holmes, and Mr Shirley.
Election of Chairman
To elect a Chairman of the County Council for the ensuing municipal year.
The Chairman to make a declaration of acceptance of office
The Chairman asked for nominations for the Office of Chair of the Council. Mrs Carrick moved that Mr Markley be elected as Chairman for the ensuing year. This was seconded by Dr Haraldsen.
With only one nomination being received and with the agreement of the Council, it was
RESOLVED that Mr A Markley be elected as Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year
Due to current social distancing requirement it had been agreed there would be no ceremonial swapping of the Badge of Office and chains on this occasion. The Declaration of Acceptance of Office was signed by Mr Markley, and he then took the Chair.
Mr Markley in the Chair.
After thanking the outgoing Chairman, Mr Markley spoke about his pride and honour at being elected as Chairman of Cumbria County Council, his passion for Cumbria, and how proud he was of Cumbria’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He was looking forward to being able to travel around Cumbria to raise the profile of the council, whilst also taking the opportunity to promote all the good things Cumbria had to offer.
The Group Leaders congratulated Mr Markley on his election.
Election of Vice Chairman
To appoint a Vice Chairman of the County Council for the ensuing municipal year.
The Vice Chairman to make a declaration of acceptance of office
The Chairman sought nominations for the Office of Vice Chair of the County Council.
With Mr Cotton proposing and Mr Cook seconding Mr Connell as Vice Chair, and there being no other nominations, it was
RESOLVED that Mr A Connell be appointed as Vice Chair of the County Council for the ensuing year
Mr Connell signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, but due to current social distancing requirement there was no ceremonial swapping of the Badge of Office and chains on this occasion.
Declarations of Interest
To disclose any disclosable pecuniary interests relating to any item on the agenda.
Members are asked to refer to the Monitoring Officer for advice in relation to the declaration of interests at meetings of the full Council. A complete list of declarations notified to the Monitoring Officer by 5.00 pm on Monday ??? will be circulated at the meeting. If any member wishes to correct or add to the circulated list, guidance on what constitutes a disclosable pecuniary interest is set out below.
NB The following is a summary of what constitutes a disclosable pecuniary interest. Please seek advice from the Monitoring Officer.
Members must disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises
1 Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.
2 Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
3 Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority
(a) Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and
(b) Which has not been fully discharged.
4 Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority.
5 Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer.
6 Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge)
(a) The landlord is the authority; and
(b) The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial interest.
7 Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where
(a) That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the authority; and
(b) Either –
(i) The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.
In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.
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 declarations made on this occasion.
Exclusion of Press and Public
To consider whether there are any items on the agenda in respect of which the press and public should be excluded during consideration of the item.
RESOLVED that the press and public be not excluded from the meeting during discussion of any items on the agenda today.
To receive petitions or questions from the public under the Public Participation Scheme for the Council. This item is time limited to 30 minutes.
The Chair notified members that there had been a number of participants asking that questions be asked on their behalf during this item, however, as the County Council had now moved into the pre-election period for local elections and the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Chief Legal Officer had advised that these should be moved to a later meeting date, after the elections have taken place.
This was noted.
To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 18 February 2021 (copy enclosed)
RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting be agreed with the following amendment:-
On page 12 Minute 144 (A) – Cabinet Minutes 12 November in the 2nd para the date 1 July 2021, should be amended to read 1 July 2020.
Announcements and Communications
To receive any announcements from the Chair, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive
The Chair began by informing members of the sad passing of former County Councillor Muriel Dinning. Mrs Dinning served on the County Council from 1981 to 2001 and was Chairman of the Council during 1997-98. The Chair said thoughts and condolences were with her family and friends.
Last month, the Furness Peninsular Blue Light Hub opened in Ulverston. This new Blue Light Hub facility had a range of facilities for blue light services: Cumbria Fire and Rescue, Cumbria Police and North West Ambulance Service (NWAS). An official opening was being planned for later in the year, however a virtual opening in line with COVID-19 restrictions had taken place and the videos could be viewed online.
The Chair commented that the next step of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown which included the reopening of our libraries was now taking place. While it was welcome news that the COVID-19 situation was improving, it was important that everyone remained vigilant, and continued to follow the rules and help drive infections down further.
The Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue made an announcement about the Furness Peninsula Blue Light Hub Ulverston (UBLH). Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service moved into the facility on Monday March 8 2021. The fire service move was closely followed by partners from NWAS on Monday 15 and Cumbria Police on the 22 March 2021, all three Services were now embedded and were delighted with the benefits of a single building approach.
The Cabinet Member, as the local member, was incredibly proud to have this building as a focal point demonstrating the professionalism of the emergency services working together to serve the communities of South Cumbria, in particular the Furness Peninsula.
The Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning made an announcement on Education. With schools and colleges returning after the Easter break she wanted to take the opportunity to share her thanks to all the staff in schools, colleges and settings and the staff in the local authority who had helped to manage the situation over the last twelve months.
The County Council and its partners would continue to meet as the challenges were not going away, and the discussions about the consequences of the pandemic on children and staff, current exams and qualifications and how these challenges would be managed would be ongoing.
The County Council was committed to meeting all these challenges and the Cabinet Member hoped everyone would continue to support staff and partners to ensure that all young people still achieved their ambitions.
The Chief Executive made an announcement about the Director of Finance, Julie Crellin who will be leaving the Council in June to take up a new position, having been appointed as a Director of Major Projects and Programmes for City and Guilds. She asked members to join her in congratulating Julie and wishing her every success for the future.
The Group Leaders congratulated Julie and thanked her for her many years of service to Cumbria and her leadership ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Election of the Leader of the Council
To elect the Council Leader
Nominations were sought for the position of Leader of the Council.
Mrs Burns nominated Mr Young for the position, seconded by Mr Thornton, and Dr Haraldsen nominated Mrs Carrick, seconded by Mr Wearing. This was then put to a roll call vote.
With the votes cast as follows For – Mr Young 42 votes and Mrs Carrick 31 votes it was
RESOLVED that Mr S Young be elected as Leader of the Council.
Election of Chair and Vice Chair of Scrutiny Management Board
To elect a Chair and Vice Chair of Scrutiny Management Board.
RESOLVED that Mr W Wearing be elected as Chair, and Mr M Wilson be elected as Vice Chair of Scrutiny Management Board.
To consider a report from the Leader of the Council (copy enclosed)
The Leader of the Council presented a report which dealt with the constitution of the Council’s committees and other member bodies and asked members to appoint chairs and vice chairs of various committees and other bodies. In addition the Council was asked to confirm the Scheme of Delegation as set out in the Constitution. The schedule of appointments had been circulated to members in advance of the meeting.
The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) Regulations 1990 make provision for the allocation by the Council of places on its committees to political groups represented on the Council.
Appendix 1 set out the committees and sub-committees to which these principles applied and the proposed allocations to each group based on those principles.
Members noted that there were currently 4 vacancies in Brampton, Cockermouth North, St John’s and Great Clifton, and Ulverston West. By-elections to fill these vacancies would be held on 6 May.
At its Annual Meeting, the Council must appoint at least one scrutiny committee. Scrutiny committees were required to be politically balanced. The Constitution provides for the appointment of three Scrutiny Advisory Boards, a Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee, an overarching Scrutiny Management Board and a committee to scrutinise the Local Enterprise Partnership. It was the intention that County Council members appointed to the LEP scrutiny Committee shall be the same members as those appointed to the Scrutiny Management Board.
Certain Council bodies were not ordinary committees of the Council and not subject to the requirements of political proportionality. Under the Constitution the full Council made appointments to these bodies and Members were recommended to make appointments to these bodies as indicated in Appendix 1.
The Council appoints the Chair and Vice Chair of each Scrutiny Advisory Board. Appointments were subject to specific rules set out in the Constitution. Under the Council’s Rules of Procedure, nominations were based on the principle of an allocation which was proportionate to the number of seats each political group had on the Council as a whole and in accordance with a weighting system described in the Constitution.
The Council was asked to approve the recommendations in this report so that its committees and sub-committees and other bodies were constituted for the municipal year 2021/22, so that the Council was represented on the outside bodies to which the Council appoints and that the Council had in place an approved Scheme of Delegation to Officers.
RESOLVED, that the Council
(1) Approve the size (where optional) and terms of reference of ordinary committees of the Council and the allocation of committee places to political groups;
(2) Receive and approve nominations to sit on each committee and other Council bodies;
(3) Appoint the Chair and Vice Chair of the member bodies set out in Appendix 2;
(4) Appoint the Chair and Vice Chairs of the Overview and Scrutiny Advisory Boards as set out in Appendix 3;
(5) Approve appointments to certain bodies for the remaining year of the Administration, ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
The minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 18 March 2021 are enclosed (copy attached)
The Chair will ask members if they have any questions on the minutes taking each page in turn. Members should state clearly the minute number of the item concerned
On page 82 – Minute 110 Mrs Mallinson wondered whether Council could take the opportunity to thank colleagues in Environmental Health for all the work they had done in relation to test and trace.
The Leader, and also the Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services replied to say that they would agree that all the teams involved in the track and trace service, including Public Health, Environmental Health, and a number of NHS teams had provided an exemplary service during this difficult time.
On page 69 Minute No 104 Mr Lamb expressed his disappointment that Cabinet had chosen to ignore the referral from Copeland Local Committee in relation to Cumbria County Council Representation on Radioactive Waste Management's (RWM's) Copeland Working Group for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF), and the motion supported by the majority of the members of the Council that Cumbria should be represented. He asked the Leader to explain how he arrived at the original decision he took, prior to this going to Cabinet, for the County Council not to be represented on the working group.
Also on pages 69-71 Mr Whiteside asked a question on the same subject, echoing what Mr Lamb said, but taking it one stage further. Cabinet could have devolved this issue to Copeland Local Committee, given the decision from the motion at the last Council meeting that Cumbria should be represented on this group. He wondered how seriously members could take the statement from the Leader about being in support of devolving matters down to local committee level when he did not agree to devolve this decision down.
The Leader responded to both questions at the same time by saying that although Council approved the motion, this was not a decision that full Council could take, it was an expression of views and he was sure those views were sincerely held.
When he was asked originally about representation on the working groups for Allerdale and Copeland he reiterated the County Council’s long-standing position, which had been known since 2013, and declined to do so. However, following the referral from Copeland Local Committee on this subject, the matter was re-considered and Cabinet confirmed the original decision/position.
On the issue of devolution, he was a great supporter of local devolution, he was involved in the original scheme to set up local committees in 1993, and he consistently supported this, but not everything could be devolved. There were issues which should be dealt with by the centre and it was a case of finding the right balance. He recognised the disappointment of the members involved.
On page 76 Minute No 107 Mr Lamb said that during a briefing held in November the Deputy Leader had stated that he had ‘2 dogs in the fight’ when it came to local government reform for Cumbria. Now the bids were out for public consultation Mr Lamb asked the Deputy Leader to declare which was his preferred choice.
The Deputy Leader replied to say that his preference would ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
To consider a report from the Leader of the Council (copy enclosed)
Members had before them a report from the Leader of the Council which recommended the adoption of an amended public participation scheme and to notify members of changes to the Constitution made by the Chief Legal Officer under her delegated powers.
The Council was committed to ensuring the people of Cumbria had an opportunity to have a say on its services and decisions and public participation at meetings was an important part of this. Public participation could absorb a huge amount of committee time and there was a need to find the right balance between openness, accountability and transparency and the need to conduct the business of the Council efficiently. The changes to the public participation scheme were intended to ensure that balance was maintained.
The main changes were to introduce a new section making it clear that Local Government Pension Scheme employers and members may participate at the Pensions Committee by making a statement or asking a question. Changes were also suggested to the rules which apply to the Development Control and Regulation Committee to limit the total number of speakers who can speak in relation to any application to 5 speakers supporting and 5 speakers opposing the application (with places allocated on a first come first served basis) and to limit the length of time that anyone can speak to 5 minutes per person (although there is discretion for the Chair to extend this 5 minutes in relation to the applicant in order to enable them to respond to any objections raised). The scheme makes clear that the local member or members (where a planning application relates to land in more than one area) can also speak. These changes were in-line with schemes in other County Councils and were supported by the Chair of the Development Control and Regulation Committee.
The report also set out some minor changes to the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, the Procedure for Budget Debate and the Protocol for Notifying Local Members of Key Issues and some new definitions included in the Glossary. These changes have been made by the Chief Legal Officer under her delegated powers and had been identified as part of a rolling programme of review of the constitution which was carried out in order to ensure the constitution complied with relevant legislation and best governance practice.
(1) Members approve the adoption of a new Public Participation Scheme;
(2) Members note the changes to the Constitution made by the Chief Legal Officer under her delegated powers.
To consider a report from the Chair of Scrutiny Management Board (copy enclosed)
The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board presented a report which detailed the Scrutiny Annual Report 2020/21 and updated members on the work of Scrutiny and any issues and developments that have occurred since the last meeting of Full Council.
The Scrutiny Annual Report 2020/21 provided a summary of the Scrutiny activity carried out over the last 12 months and the impact Scrutiny had had in relation to the response and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and on other key issues important to the residents of Cumbria. Members were asked to note the Annual Report.
The current Scrutiny Work Programme, which Members were asked to note, was under ongoing review and regularly updated to reflect new and emerging issues.
The Chair of Scrutiny Management Board took members through matters which had been considered by the Scrutiny Boards since the last meeting of Council, and also detailed the recent Task and Finish reviews undertaken.
(1) Members note the Scrutiny Annual Report 2020/21 attached as Appendix 1 of the report;
(2) Members note the work programme presented as Appendix 2 and recent activity undertaken by Scrutiny set out in the report.
To consider questions from Members, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No 11.2 to 11.5 to the Leader, a Member of the Executive or the Chair of any Committee.
Mr Turner asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport a question about the blue badge renewal process and the decision to stop sending out renewals by post. This made it extremely difficult for residents unable to access libraries or internet services.
The Cabinet Member thanked Mr Turner for his question. He was not aware of this issue and would investigate and provide a written response.
Mrs Williamson, asked, whilst noting the new statutory duties in respect of domestic violence, and the appointment of the new domestic abuse commissioner Nicole Jacobs, for assurances from the Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services, and the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services that Cumbria County Council would be taking Ms Jacobs up on the offer to explore all opportunities to address how Cumbria could fund and build a proper support service for the victims of this dreadful abuse.
The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services responded to say that Cumbria County Council would be inviting Ms Jacobs to visit the county and talk to members about domestic violence.
The Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services assured members that Cumbria County Council was committed to building a support service for those suffering from domestic violence and would be seeking funding from Government to ensure this happened.
Mr Collins asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport a question about Broadhead near Grayrigg concerning its replacement by a new road bridge. It was severely damaged in Storm Desmond and subsequently the council had to demolish and remove it.
There are numerous complications relating to this including the proximity of the West Coast main line viaduct and the ownership of the bridge which have never been transferred from any rail body to this council, however, small as it is, it formed an important link in the local road network. Mr Collins asked what work had been done and when the bridge would be replaced.
The Cabinet Member responded to confirm that the project for Broadhead Bridge was still ongoing. This was a difficult and complex scheme, and the ownership of the bridge was still to be confirmed, however he had asked for the final future proposals for the bridge so that they could be agreed within the next few months.
Mr Whiteside asked the Leader a question about who had been given access to the legal advice received in relation to the West Cumbria Mine Planning Application. Mr Whiteside was aware that statements had appeared on social media pages stating some members had seen the legal advice regarding the application. He asked the Leader, to confirm if legal advice had been shared, and if so, could all members be given equal access to see it.
Mr Young responded to say that he was not aware that any legal advice had been shared with anyone, that he himself had not seen it, as this advice was usually highly confidential, but that he would investigate further and provide a written response.
Mr Betton was aware that ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
Minutes of Committees
To receive reports from Committees of the Council and receive questions and answers in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 11.1 to 11.5.
To receive the draft minutes of a meeting of the Cumbria Pensions Committee held on 16 March 2021 (copy enclosed)
RESOLVED, that the draft minutes of the Cumbria Pensions Committee held on 16 March 2021 be received and noted.
To receive the minutes of a meeting of the Audit and Assurance Committee held on 15 January 2021 (copy enclosed)
RESOLVED, that the minutes of the Audit and Assurance Committee held on 15 January 2021 be received and noted.
The meeting then adjourned at 12.55 and reconvened at 1.30pm.
Mr Stoddart left the meeting at this point.
To consider a report from the Leader of the Council (copy enclosed)
The Leader of the Council presented a report, the purpose of which was to notify members of any urgent decisions taken in the period since the last County Council meeting.
Five relevant decisions had been taken since the last meeting and the details of those decisions were set out at Appendix 1. In all cases, the decisions were treated as urgent decisions as the requirements to advertise for at least 28 days prior to a key decision being taken could not be complied with.
RESOLVED, that the report be received and noted.
Notice of Motions
To consider notice of motions for up to a specified period of one hour.
Mr Peter Thornton will move
This Council recognises that a future Cumbria Unitary Authority, or authorities, will offer greater clarity of roles along with potential financial savings. We also recognise that the removal of a layer of local government could lead to more remote decision making at a greater distance from the communities affected by these decisions. Therefore this Council believes that a future Unitary authority, or authorities, should seek to ensure the maximum decision making powers to Local Committees, or their equivalent, and should seek to devolve services to Town and Parish Councils where appropriate, and where agreement can be reached.
Dr Stephen Haraldsen will move
This Council endorses the increasing importance being attached to the safety of individuals on our streets following the recent tragic events in London and the significant public response to those events. It calls upon the Cabinet to conduct a ‘Safer Streets’ review, working alongside and with Cumbria Police and other partner agencies, to identify those safety issues that are causing people concern, focusing particularly on the experiences of women and girls.
Mr Peter Thornton moved that
‘This Council recognises that a future Cumbria Unitary Authority, or authorities, will offer greater clarity of roles along with potential financial savings. We also recognise that the removal of a layer of local government could lead to more remote decision making at a greater distance from the communities affected by these decisions. Therefore this Council believes that a future Unitary authority, or authorities, should seek to ensure the maximum decision making powers to Local Committees, or their equivalent, and should seek to devolve services to Town and Parish Councils where appropriate, and where agreement could be reached.’
The Deputy Leader began by saying that this may be the last Annual General Meeting of Cumbria County Council, due to the possibility of Local Government Reform for Cumbria. The consultation would be closed shortly and the decision of the Secretary of State was expected in late July.
At this stage there would be much work to be done until the vesting date for the new council or council’s, which was expected to be April 2022 or 2023.
The Deputy Leader believed that Cumbria County Council should begin to express the principles which it believed should underlie the new arrangements. He understood that what was decided would in no way bind any future process, but he felt that members should be starting to discuss the type of council which they believed could best serve the residents in Cumbria.
He outlined the possible options for discussion, and said he planned to take the same Motion before South Lakeland District Council. He invited other dual hatted members to do the same, and urged members to support it.
Mr Cook seconded the motion and it was then opened for debate.
An amended was tabled from the Conservative Group, which stated
‘This Council recognises that a future Cumbria Unitary Authority, or authorities, will offer greater clarity of roles along with potential financial savings. We also recognise that the removal of a layer of local government could lead to more remote decision making at a greater distance from the communities affected by these decisions.
Therefore this Council believes that a future Unitary authority, or authorities, should seek to ensure the maximum decision making powers at a local level. And to this end, that the recent report produced by the cross-party Scrutiny Task and Finish Group into Local Government in Cumbria should be shared with any future unitary authority or authorities, to inform their decision-making.’
This was then put to a roll call vote, and with 25 voting for and 40 against the amendment was lost.
The substantive motion was then put to a vote, and with 61 voting for and 2 abstentions this was carried.
RESOLVED, that this Council recognises that a future Cumbria Unitary Authority, or authorities, will offer greater clarity of roles along with potential financial savings. We also recognise that the removal of a layer of local government could lead to more remote decision making at a greater ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
To hear speeches (not exceeding five minutes each) for up to a specified period of 30 minutes, from individual members, of which at least 24 hours’ notice has been given to the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services.
Mr Whiteside gave a speech in which he paid tribute to Edward Jenner, creator of the world’s first vaccine, praising his innovation and work, and urging members to support calls for Jenner’s statue to be moved from Kensington Gardens to Trafalgar Square in London - particularly during this time of pandemic and the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.