Agenda item

Announcements and Communications

To receive any announcements from the Chair, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive

 

Minutes:

The Chair announced the details of the engagements undertaken by herself and the Vice Chair had been circulated to all members.

 

The Chair reminded members that before Christmas, the County Council held the annual Christmas celebration events for our looked after children, foster carers and their families from across Cumbria. The events took place in both Carlisle and Barrow in December, and were both a huge success.  This event was a great opportunity for the council to show its appreciation to the foster carers for their ongoing support and commitment.

The Chair was privileged to have attended both events and said it was wonderful to see so many happy children enjoying the day.

 

Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Cumbria, Mrs Claire Hensman, announced recently that several Cumbrian people had been named in this year's New Year's Honours List, including:-

 

·         Mr Paul Foster of Cockermouth, for services to Business (CBE)

·         Mr John Campbell Hudson of Troutbeck, for services to the Royal Navy and to Naval Shipbuilding and Design (CBE)

·         Ms Sascha Hilary Wells-Munro of Kendal, for services to the NHS and Patient Safety (OBE)

·         Mr Ben Stokes of Cockermouth, for Services to Sport (OBE)

·         Mr John Howarth of Cockermouth, for services to General Practice (MBE)

·         Ms Elizabeth Cornford of Grange-over-Sands, for services to Young People (MBE)

·         Mr John Butler of Ulverston, for services to Further Education (MBE)

·         Mr Mark McCree of Kendal, for services to Public Libraries (BEM)

·         Mr John Shakeshaft of Ulverston, for services to Young People in Ulverston (BME)

·         Ms Cassandra Rees of Greenheys, for services to the Community in Cumbria (BME)

 

The Chair reminded members that Monday 27 January was national Holocaust Memorial Day, which was a time for everyone to pause to remember the millions of people who had been murdered or whose lives had been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.  This year marked 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia.

 

The County Council would have a range of activity to commemorate this national day.

 

In December Cabinet agreed to provide a long lease on Ellerthwaite House, the Windermere library building, to the Lake District Paradise Project.  A special event marking this handover would take place on Holocaust Memorial Day.

 

Lastly, on behalf of the Council the Chair extended thoughts and prayers to those in Australia affected by the bushfires that continued to grip the country.  Whilst it was impossible to imagine the truly devastating effect on its residents and communities, as a county that had experienced the impact of severe weather, Cumbria County Council could appreciate, more than most, the short, medium and long-term impact of this event.

 

The Chair then invited Cabinet Members to make any announcements.

 

The Leader made reference to the treasury announcing that the Government would deliver its first budget on the 11 March 2020. He also spoke of the joint letter, which had been signed by all 3 political group leaders and sent to the Prime Minister setting out Cumbria County Council’s infrastructure asks of the government for Cumbria.  This letter had been sent to all members, for information, and he asked all members to lobby the Cumbrian MPs to support this ask.

 

The Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services made an announcement about the recent inspections by CQC of Cumbria County Council Residential Homes.  In November and December six homes had received unannounced inspections.

 

Elmhurst, a 40 bed residential home in Ulverston, received its final inspection report last week, and had achieved outstanding for responsiveness and good for all the other areas which looked at whether the service was safe, effective, caring and well led.

 

The team at Elmhurst had worked really hard to achieve this result in what had been a very busy year for them.  They had been part of the staff restructure and modernisation programme and had implemented an electronic records system.


Elmhurst was one of the homes that received £1.7m capital investment to achieve CQC and Dementia Gold standards.  The occupancy was increasing and the County Council was looking to open up the fourth unit at Elmhurst later this year.

 

She asked all members to join her in sending congratulations to all the staff involved in this success.

 

Across all of Cumbria Care’s services, staff had worked 24/7 over the Christmas period to ensure residents and people who needed care and support at home, had remained safe, and received thatquality care to ensure they could enjoy the festive period with families.

 

Staff, including social worker teams and care workers, have also had a busy time supporting our NHS colleagues, both North and South of the county.

The Cabinet Member personally thanked all staff for their contribution and the support they had provided. Together they responded to the extreme pressures professionally and competently and frankly, their actions went well beyond the call of duty.

 

Lastly some news about extra care.  The County Council saw Extra Care Housing as playing a key role in enabling people to maintain their independence and remain in their communities for longer.  As the demand for residential care declined, the demand for people to be able to stay in their own homes was increasing.

 

The Council aimed to increase the availability of Extra Care Housing schemes by supporting partner organisations, including agenda 21, and facilitating the development of new schemes across a range of tenures so that by 2025, Extra Care Housing would be a viable option of choice for all older people across the county.

 

Work had started on the development of 104 new units of Extra Care in Oxenholme. This represented a significant contribution to the Council’s Extra Care Housing delivery targets for South Lakeland.

 

Although the Council was not providing capital funding directly to support the development, grant funding had been awarded to Housing 21 to support a smaller new Extra Care scheme in Penrith.

 

Officers were also working closely with the developer to ensure that the new schemes met the housing, care and support needs of the local population.

 

Next, the Cabinet Member for the Environment made an announcement about the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Cumbria County Council was immensely proud to have supported the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant not only across the Council’s services but also into the wider community.  The Covenant was originally signed in 2013, and in June 2019 the Council reaffirmed this commitment. In signing the covenant a number of steps had been taken, including:-

 

·      A countywide Armed Forces Portfolio Holder, in addition to an Armed Forces Champion for each local committee.

·      Host the Armed Forces Covenant Partnership, which includes District Councils, armed forces charities, Police, DWP, health bodies, Cumbria Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) amongst others

·      A Veterans Guaranteed Interview Scheme, which recognises the valuable contribution of veterans to the organisation, and assists veterans in overcoming barriers in finding civilian employment

·      Established an evidence base in assessing current and future health and care needs of ex-service personnel, through the Military Veterans chapter of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)

 

As part of the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) the Council was aspiring to become a Gold Employer. The scheme recognises and acknowledges the Councils role in supporting ex-service personnel, reservists and their families, not only through the Council’s workforce but the wider community too.

 

Mr K Hitchen arrived at the meeting at this point.

 

The Cabinet Member then announced details of The Employer Recognition Scheme Conference which would take place on the 25 February 2020.  This was being co-organised by the Council, would be used to promote the work of the covenant and encourage businesses to sign up to the scheme. Further information would be shared with all members and the Cabinet Member extended an invite to all councillors to attend the event.

 

Finally, the Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and rescue made an announcement about the recent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in June 2019.  Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service had received their final report which stated that the Service was performing to a 'good standard'.

 

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) had been judged as ‘good’ in relation to how effective it was about keeping people safe and also judged as ‘good’ in relation to how efficient the Service was.  It was rated as ‘requires improvement’ for how well it looks after its people. In total, the Inspectorate looked at 11 key areas and CFRS had been graded as good in eight of those areas and requiring improvement in three.