The minutes of the meetings of the Cabinet held on 14 November 2019 and 19 December 2019 are enclosed (copies attached)
The Leader 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.
The Leader of the Council presented the minutes of the Cabinet meetings held on 14 November 2019 and 19 December 2019.
Cabinet - 14 November Meeting
Mr Dew commented on Minute No 57 – Statements from the Leader and Cabinet Members where the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services congratulated the Cumbria members of the Youth Parliament on their work, that it was worth noting that one of the key issues in Cumbria was children and young people’s mental health. He wondered whether the Cabinet Member was aware that there was a well-documented link between the climate change issue and CYP mental health, the symptoms of which included an increasing fear of environmental doom and a sense of helplessness and despair.
Mr Dew asked whether the Cabinet Member would agree with him that elected members should temper their language and be more considered in the way they addressed the climate change issue given its impact on the wellbeing of vulnerable and impressionable children and young people.
The Cabinet Member responded to say the statement was about the success of the young people involved in the Youth Parliament, and how successful they had been in this role, and nothing else. Although, the Cabinet Member was certain that the Youth Parliament took the issue of climate change seriously.
Mr Hughes asked the Cabinet member for Economic Development whether he shared his satisfaction with how well Cumbria County Council contracting with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in each distinct part of the county appeared to be working and does he agree that a nationally-imposed elected mayor model of governance might well put this success in jeopardy.
The Cabinet Member agreed that the SMEs were working well in each district. With reference to the whether the nationally elected mayor would put this in jeopardy the Cabinet Member felt this was difficult to ascertain. What Cumbria needed was sufficient financial resources to allow improvements such as infrastructure improvements to be implemented, rather than an additional mayoral tier.
Mr Lamb asked, with reference to Minute 31- Award of Framework for Capital Works 2020-2024, what steps had been put in place to avoid a repeat of the problems experienced during the development of the Blue Light Hub, Ulverston.
The Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue agreed to provide a written response.
Mr Dew was aware that during the discussions on Minute 62 – English National Concessionary Travel Scheme a conversation took place about so called ‘wealthy pensioners’ coming to Cumbria in their millions and ‘running around on our buses’. He was concerned to hear this and asked the Deputy Leader for comment.
The Deputy Leader wondered whether it was appropriate to question something which was not actually detailed in the Cabinet minutes. However, he reassured Council that he was not criticising pensioners, nor being ageist. His comments were simply about the possible need for the ENCS scheme to be reviewed.
Mr Airey asked the Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services about the proposed closure of the Abbey Care Home Staveley. Given the comments of the Area Manager for South Lakes at the last Scrutiny Management Board meeting confirming that no consultation had taken place with South Lakes Local Committee, he asked whether the portfolio holder had mislead council in her response at the last meeting.
The Cabinet Member responded to say that the Area Manager gave members a detailed response to this question at the Scrutiny Management Board Call in Meeting.
In essence the Area Manager had worked closely with the Local Member, updating him at every juncture, and he had remained fully involved in the planning, which included the conversations with the Parish Council and the wider community. The Local Committee were updated verbally on progress through their Strategic Planning Working Group. The Cabinet Member said the Shadow Cabinet member had also been kept fully updated on this.
On Minute No 34 – Cumbria Care – Reshaping of Services Dr Haraldsen asked the Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services whether the need for extra care facilities was increasing and what the impact of this might be on nursing care. He asked the Cabinet Member to detail what Cumbria County Council was doing for nursing care
The Cabinet Member responded to say none of the Cumbria Care homes were registered as nursing homes. She was aware that there was a shortage of this type of care but Cumbria County Council did not employ nurses. However, high level discussion had been taking place on this, but there was nothing to report at this stage.
Mr Collins asked the Cabinet Member for Health and Care Services to bear in mind that the Abbey Care Home had received a ‘good’ rating from the CQC for the latest inspection, and he asked Cabinet to ensure all options were kept open for this home by not de-registering it.
Cabinet - 19 December
Mr Dew felt the reference to the Inspectorate report for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service had much to commend it but he was aware of some concerns expressed by members of staff about the bullying and harassment which they experienced at work and the fact that over 60% felt that they were unable to express discontent without suffering reprisals or ‘consequences’. He asked the Cabinet Member for reassurances that she would investigate this and resolve these issues in a timely manner.
The Cabinet Member assured Mr Dew that Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service took all allegations seriously and would investigate.
With reference to Minute 75 – Community Asset Transfer of Ellerthwaite House Mr Hogg was delighted to read about the CAT of Windermere Library to the Paradise Project. With the 75 year anniversary of the Windermere Boys arrival being this year there would be a great deal of press interest. He asked the Cabinet Member for Economic Development whether there would be a formal handover of the deeds ceremony to commemorate the anniversary.
The Cabinet Member responded to say that Cumbria County Council would be taking part in the 75th Memorial day celebrations and this would give the Council the opportunity to communicate its ongoing support to this project. This would be followed by an event later in the year to hand over the keys.
On Minute No 79 – Future Provision of the Generic Adults Housing related Support Service Mr Dew was concerned that the Council was making cuts to this service. He felt Cumbria County Council had a moral imperative to continue to provide financial support for this service.
The Cabinet Member responded to say this was not a statutory service, and nor was it the responsibility of the County Council to provide this. It was in fact a district council function. However, recognising the vulnerability of this service the County Council had agreed to fund the service for a further 12 months to allow transitional arrangements to be brokered.