Agenda item

Cabinet Working Group - Local Government Reorganisation

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

 

Minutes:

Cabinet considered a report from the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services, which sought approval from Cabinet to establish a Cabinet Working Group on Local Government Reorganisation.

Following the announcement on 21 July 2021 by the Secretary of State that he intended to move forward with Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) in Cumbria which would see the establishment of two new unitary authorities, the seven councils across Cumbria had been working to develop and deliver a joint LGR Programme to implement the Secretary of State’s decision.

 

An LGR Programme Board whose membership consisted of the Chief Executives of the County Council and six District Councils had been established.  The LGR Programme Board and the SRO for the Programme were responsible for providing overall leadership for the programme and ensuring it achieved its objectives, delivered the projected outcomes and realised the benefits in the timescales set out.

 

A Cumbria Leaders Oversight Forum whose membership consists of the Leaders of the County Council and six District Councils had been established.  The Forum would provide political leadership input from all seven sovereign Councils into the shape and direction of the LGR Programme.

 

A number of service-based Themes had been established as part of the programme structure.  These were responsible for reviewing the existing services within their scope and leading on the development of options to ultimately be considered by the joint committees and shadow authorities in advance of vesting day, to ensure service continuity. All existing Council services were included within a theme.

 

The role of the Leaders Oversight Forum, Programme Board, the service-based Themes and functional Workstreams was to coordinate activity across the seven councils but they had no decision-making authority.  Formal decision-making rested with the seven Councils until joint committees were established and subsequently the Shadow Authorities were elected, and the usual governance arrangements of the individual Councils were not impacted by the establishment of the Leaders Oversight Forum, Programme Board or the Themes and Workstreams.

 

In order to provide a forum to ensure there was political oversight and leadership for the County Council’s input into the LGR Programme it was recommended that a Cabinet LGR Working Group be established. This Working Group would enable officers working on the LGR Programme to ensure Cabinet members had full engagement with the LGR Programme and provided a forum for Cabinet members to input and contribute to the Council’s involvement which was separate from existing structures so does not impinge on the work of Cabinet in relation to the delivery and transformation of County Council services.

 

It is not intended that the Cabinet LGR Working Group would be a decision-making body and any decisions would be made by members or officers (as appropriate) under usual governance arrangements.

 

The proposed Terms of Reference of the Cabinet LGR Working Group were included in the report.

 

RESOLVED, that Cabinet approve the establishment of a Cabinet Working Group on Local Government Reorganisation in line with the Terms of Reference as set out in the report.

 

 

 

Supporting documents: