[Electoral Divisions: All]
To consider a report from the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services
This report provides Local Committeewith an update on the work of each area, identified activity againstpriorities, highlights current issues and provides an overview of thebudget position.
A report by the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services was considered which brought together information from across the community teams including community development andservices as well as public health. The report provides Local Committeewith an update on the work of each area, identified activity againstpriorities, highlights current issues and provides an overview of thebudget position.
The Area Manager presented the report. He referred to the first anniversary of the COVID 19 Pandemic lockdown and added that there was optimism now due to the vaccination programme. The response to the pandemic continued to be a critical work stream for the Community Team. An increase in the number of people added to the shielding list had not led to a significant demand for practical support via the County Council’s support structure. Members were informed about the Area Planning Activity undertaken by the Team which included member attendance at an area planning and budget workshop on 23 February where £5,000 had been recommended to be awarded to Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, a youth employment hub and Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service.
A briefing was given on the business being undertaken by the Alston, Penrith, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Eden Lakes area planning groups. A detailed report was given on the business conducted at the Local Committee’s working groups. Members were informed that going forward, there would be a regular Public Health and Wellbeing update for members in the Area Planning in Eden report.
A member referred to the Eden Area Plan’s ‘access to services’ priority. She considered that the report did not refer to this and stated that as the end of lockdown was approaching, everyone was mindful that grants for transport services may be ending. Members were informed about the Cabinet review on transport for the future. The member referred to the request for a report on bus services in Eden adding that this was now an important piece of work for the Committee as improvements could not be made until there was an understanding of the current position. She expressed her concerns about the public’s access to transport services after lockdown.
The Area Manager advised the Committee of the legal advice confirming that Local Committees were now able to award grants to charitable transport services under community investment grant criteria. He commented on the project work that would be undertaken with the Rural Issues Working Group to identify transport issues and how the Committee could take the matter forward and this would be reported to a future meeting of the Committee. A member asked that all members had an input into this work as the issues affected all of Eden.
Mr N Hughes declared a non-pecuniary interest in the discussion relating to the Carlisle and Eden Citizen’s Advice Bureau as he used to volunteer for the organisation.
A member referred to £50,056 of unallocated resources and expressed his embarrassment that although there were needs in the Eden area, funds remained unallocated. He referred to the number of unspent member divisional grants. He asked that Eden Health and Wellbeing Forum take the subject of mental health seriously, especially that of young people. He asked that a full response be received on the steps taken in conjunction with the NHS on mental health. He was pleased to report on the successful meeting with Shap Parish Council to discuss area planning principles and congratulated officers on their work on this matter. The member asked for a date when further details on the proposals for the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) would be presented to the Committee. The member referred to public transport issues in Eden and asked that the work on this was expedited.
The same member talked about the award of £12,000 for a Universal Service in Kirkby Stephen (recommendation 3.9) and highlighted that the 106 bus partnership was struggling to retain its service provision. He commented on it being an indispensable and excellent service. Mr Hughes moved that the grant to Kirkby Stephen Youth Project be reduced to £8,000 and the remaining £4,000 be vired to support the 106 bus partnership.
The Area Manager provided clarification on the current budget position. He explained that the £50,056 unallocated resources reported to the Committee were as at the end of February 2021 and, following significant efforts by the community team to responsibly apply the committee’s budget on committee priorities, this figure would be significantly reduced following this meeting.
With specific reference to the 11-19 ring fenced budget carry over, this was due to some Penrith services not as yet being at the appropriate funding stage. He explained that the action of vireing the budget, as stated in the motion, would need to be confirmed by Finance as to whether this was permitted with the budget which may be ring fenced for 11-19 universal service provision. He stated that the development of the LCWIP was at an early stage so information would be brought to the Committee as soon as it was available.
The Public Health Locality Manager advised that she would be attending the next Eden Health and Wellbeing Forum and there would be a complete review of all its priorities at that meeting. Mental health would be discussed and it would be ensured that there would be an agreement of what the term meant so everyone had an understanding of the issue. This would then be reported back to the Committee.
The Chair referred to member divisional grants. He advised that these had all been committed but appeared to be unspent due to the time lag in reporting to Committee. The Area Manager provided clarification that once the budget decisions had been made by the Committee at the meeting, then the money would no longer be unallocated. He highlighted the budget allocation work undertaken by members on this issue at a Local Committee workshop in February 2021.
The Chair talked briefly on his role as volunteer bus driver in his electoral division and expressed his understanding of the challenges local bus services were experiencing. An explanation was provided by the Chair on his understanding of what the Control Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) could be spent on: for individuals struggling through the pandemic rather than supporting bus services. He referred to the motion and considered that using the 11-19 Universal Services budget for supporting community bus services was not appropriate, it should be used for youth provision. He advised that there was money in the Concessionary Travel Scheme which remained unspent and this money should be kept in mind when consideration was given to supporting community bus services.
In light of the fact that it was currently unknown whether the budgets could be vired, Mr Hughes emphasised that he was not disagreeing that the Kirkby Stephen and Alston 11-19 Universal Services should be supported.
Mr Hughes highlighted that as the Chair drove a community bus, he may have a conflict of interest if he made a decision on this item at the meeting. He referred to young people who would welcome support for transport in the area supported by the 106 bus service. In acknowledging that advice would need to be obtained on the ability to vire money between budgets, Mr Hughes referred to his motion and amended it to ‘Subject to any contrary legal advice being obtained before the next meeting, the grant to Kirkby Stephen Youth Project be reduced to £8,000 and the remaining £4,000 be vired to support the 106 bus partnership. This change was seconded by Mrs Bell.
Mrs Bell advised that upon investigation, it had been confirmed that COMF funding could have been spent on supporting charitable transport services but this had not been supported by Eden Local Committee. As seconder, she asked the Mover of the motion if it would be more appropriate to grant £8,000 to Kirkby Stephen and retain £4,000 until it was established whether the budgets could be vired. This would allow the project to progress whilst holding £4,000 back for potential support for the 106 bus service.
Mr Hughes agreed a change to his Motion to read ‘Members agree an allocation of £8,000 to initiate a Universal Service in Kirkby Stephen and £4,000 not committed be earmarked to supporting the 106 Penrith to Shap, Tebay, Kendal Service on the understanding that legal advice permits virement of this funding for that purpose’. Mrs Bell supported this change.
A member expressed her concerns on the motion and considered it to be potentially damaging and confusing. She considered that it would be more equitable to use funding from across the entire 11-19 Universal Services budget recommendations in the report rather than only the allocation for Kirkby Stephen. She provided her opinion on the suggested conflict of Interest of the Chair as a community bus driver. The member talked about member budget decisions made in 2014 by the proposer of the motion which were now impacting on transport provision. The member talked about the proposed funding reduction identified in the motion and asked that members be mindful of a number of County wide budgets which were underspent and being transferred to the Council’s central reserves. She reminded members of their support earlier in the meeting for Eden Youth Council and highlighted that a priority for the young people was places to go and things to do however, in this item, directly following that discussion, a reduction in funding for 11-19 Universal Service had been proposed.
The Chair commented on the proposed reduction for funding youth provision in Kirkby Stephen and highlighted the rurality of the area. In referring to the suggestion that the Local Committee support bus services, he highlighted the advice from the Chief Legal Officer that community grants would be available but that due process should be followed and an application would need to be made for a grant.
The Chair asked for clarification that he did not have a conflict of interest in voting on the recommendations. He advised that he was a volunteer bus driver for the Westerndale Bus and explained the route was different to the 106 bus service. He added that he was Local Member for Kirkby Stephen and the reduction in 11-19 Universal Service would be a reduction of funding in his Electoral Division.
An adjournment took place for ten minutes (12.00 – 12.10) whilst clarification was sought on the Chair’s interest.
During the adjournment the Chair was called away on a family emergency. When the meeting reconvened, the Vice Chair was called to Chair the meeting
Vice Chair in the Chair.
Mr Connell asked if the mover of the motion would withdraw it given that Mr Dew was not in the meeting. Mrs Bell, as seconder of the motion queried if the item could be delayed until the next meeting. Mr Hughes was agreeable with this course of action. The Area Manager suggested that all recommendations apart from those pertaining to the 11-19 Universal Service budget be voted upon.
Mr Hughes asked if an award of £8,000 to Kirkby Stephen could be considered in order for the project to move forward. The Area Manager considered that it would be more prudent to consider the 11-19 Universal Service budget in its entirety, carry these recommendations over to the next meeting in order for further work to be undertaken on the matter and allow Mr Dew to take part in the discussions relating to his electoral division. Mrs Bell supported the Area Manager’s proposed course of action.
Following a review of what was being proposed that the Committee should decide at the meeting, Mr Hughes advised that he was supportive of the recommendations as set out in the report except for the award to Kirkby Stephen (3.9 in the report) and this decision be held over for consideration until the next meeting.
Mrs Bell proposed that recommendations 3.9 and 3.10 be considered at the next meeting.
As Local Member, Ms Driver was invited to speak on the potential impact of the 11-19 Universal Service allocation in Alston being postponed. The Community Development Officer advised that Kirkby Stephen would be impacted mostly if a decision would not be made but that determining the decision at the next meeting would not be significantly detrimental to the projects. Ms Driver commented on the current position of the Alston project and supported the motion. Mr Hughes supported the motion to carry over recommendations 3.9 and 3.10 as set out in the report, to the next meeting.
It was clarified that members would be voting at the meeting on recommendations 3.1 to 3.8 and 3.11. Recommendations 3.9 and 3.10 would be determined at the next meeting of the Committee.
A member highlighted that the Appleby area planning group had not set a date for another meeting, this was only being considered.
The Chair put the recommendations as set out in the report, but excluding 3.9 and 3.10 to the meeting for agreement and as there was no dissent, it was,
1 Members note the budget allocations for 2020-21 and the commitments and expenditure recorded to date.
2 Members note the provisional unallocated resources in the 2020-21Communities Revenue Budget of £50,056 as at 28 February 2021.
3 Members agree an allocation of £6,407 for Cumbria Family Support to deliver a Covid-19 recovery project as described in paragraph 4.11 of the report.
4 Members note an allocation of £5,000 to Citizen’s Advice Carlisle and Eden (CACE) to extend the additional employment advice and support as described in paragraph 4.12 of the report.
5 Members note an allocation of £5,000 towards a partnership project with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Eden District Council to enable the development of Youth Employment Hub for Eden as described in paragraph 4.13 of the report.
6 Members note an allocation of £5,000 to Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) to enable year 2 of the armed forces link project as described in paragraph 4.14 of the report.
7 Members note 0-19 a funding allocation of £2136.40 to Stainton Cricket Club as described in paragraph 4.29 of the report.
8 Members note the allocations of £4,000 for service development and delivery in Alston, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Penrith for the 2020/21 11-19 Universal Service fund as described in paragraph 4.30 of the report.
9 Members note the area planning update contained between paragraphs 4.5 to 4.36 of the report.
10 Recommendations 3.9 and 3.10 as set out in the report be carried over to the next meeting for determination.