Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday, 24 July 2018 6.30 p.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal. View directions

Contact: Inge Booth 

Items
No. Item

C/21

Minutes pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 22 May 2018 (copy attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 22 May 2018.

C/22

Public Participation

Any member of the public who wishes to ask a question, make representations or present a deputation or petition at this meeting should apply to do so by no later than 0:01am (one minute past midnight) two working days before the meeting.  Information on how to make the application can be obtained by viewing the Council’s Website www.southlakeland.gov.uk or by contacting the Committee Services Team on 01539 733333.

 

(1)        Questions and Representations

 

            To receive any questions or representations which have been received from members of the public.

 

(2)        Deputations and Petitions

 

            To receive any deputations or petitions which have been received from members of the public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no questions, representations, deputations or petitions have been received from members of the public in respect of this meeting.

C/23

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.

 

Members are reminded that, in accordance with the revised Code of Conduct, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests.  (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)

 

Members may, however, also decide, in the interests of clarity and transparency, to declare at this point in the meeting, any such disclosable pecuniary interests which they have already declared in the Register, as well as any other registrable or other interests.

 

If a Member requires advice on any item involving a possible declaration of interest which could affect his/her ability to speak and/or vote, he/she is advised to contact the Monitoring Officer at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no declarations of interest were raised.

C/24

Local Government Act 1972 - Excluded Items

To consider whether the items, if any, in Part II of the Agenda should be considered in the presence of the press and public.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that there are no excluded items on this Agenda.

C/25

Chairman's Announcements

To receive announcements by the Chairman.

Minutes:

A list of engagements which the Chairman had attended since the last meeting had been circulated to Members.

 

The Chairman paid tribute to former Councillor Jo Stephenson on the fourth anniversary of his death.

C/26

Customer Connect Programme Business Case pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider the Business Case for the Customer Connect Programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Housing, Innovation and People Portfolio Holder, reported that, in September 2016, Cabinet had agreed a Programme Definition Document for the delivery of the Customer Connect Programme which set out how it would contribute to a sustainable budget through increased value for money services, improve customer service and develop a skilled and flexible workforce that put the customers’ needs first (Minute CEX/62 (2016/17) refers). The Programme set out how it would deliver its outcomes through the implementation of a new operating model by January 2020.

 

The Customer Connect Programme established three key areas of the business to develop: Digital, People and Place. In March 2016 Cabinet had approved the Digital Business Case (Minute CEX/144 (2016/17) refers) and work had been progressing well since then to implement new technology, including a new accessible website and a replacement Revenues and Benefits system.

 

The Council now faced some difficult decisions based on increasing demand from customers, increased use of technology, reducing support from Government and the uncertainty of future government funding mechanisms.

 

The Places element of the Programme would be governed by the Asset Management Programme. A report would come to a future Cabinet meeting setting out the accommodation needs of the organisation which would support the new ways of working for staff, support improvements to front line customer service and provide opportunities for income generation from other organisations leasing space.

 

As part of the People (Members) element of the Customer Connect Programme, the Member Development Strategy had been updated and approved at Council on 27 February 2018 setting out how Members would be equipped with the skills and technologies to support their roles in their communities, and the district as a whole. There were also a number of developments being undertaken to support the role and activities of Members, including updated Member role profiles (Minute C/87 (2017/18) refers).

 

As the final part of the Customer Connect Programme for People (Employees) a comprehensive business case had been developed and this was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. This business case set out a detailed plan to remodel the Council around customer outcomes, to maximise self-service and leave specialists to focus on complex cases. It introduced the concept of locality working and created a major opportunity for the workforce to work differently by removing unnecessary process and geographic and organisational silos. The new model would provide:-

 

           a completely new way of working for staff;

           teams organised around the customer and activity, not services;

           breaking old habits and the forming new ones centred around the customer;

           new roles across the organisation;

           more clear career progression pathways; and

           different way of working for Members including Skype for Business, thus reducing travel and having direct contact with the locality teams to enable local issues to be resolved locally.

 

To implement the change, the Programme would adopt a set of design principles that would underpin the concept of the Future Model.  Every element of the design for the future  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/26

C/27

Revenue and Capital Outturn 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To consider the Council’s financial performance for 2017 and the impact on reserve balances.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance Portfolio Holder, Councillor Andrew Jarvis, presented the Revenue and Capital Outturn 2017/18 report which set out the Council’s financial performance for 2017/18 and the impact on reserves. The Portfolio Holder felt that the report highlighted that the Council continued to have good control of its expenditure.

 

The report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 13 July 2018 and by Cabinet on 18 July 2018.

 

Councillor Jarvis referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s consideration of the report at its meeting on 13 July 2018 and to discussion which had taken place on the underspend within Community Grants and specifically regarding the amount which was to be put back into reserves. A suggestion had been made that this money could be made available, in full or in part, to be used within Members’ locality budgets for health and wellbeing projects in line with the aims of the Council Plan.  Councillor Jarvis had drawn Cabinet’s attention to the suggestion at its meeting on 18 July and had undertaken to ask the Finance Team to consider whether an appropriate scheme could be brought forward to allow modest investment in worthwhile community projects at the instigation of Members.

 

Councillor Jarvis expressed thanks to the Finance Team and moved the recommendations contained within the report.  He was seconded by Councillor Graham Vincent, Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder.

 

Councillor David Williams reminded Councillor Jarvis that he had yet to receive a reply to his question raised at the last meeting with regard to the figure for uncommitted reserves.  He also queried the reasons for the overall net overspend of £110,000 on Lake Windermere.  The Assistant Director Resources (Section 151 Officer) explained that this was a demand led service and that income had been lower than expected.  She undertook to provide a detailed written response.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the report be noted; and

 

(2)        the revised Capital Programme at Appendix 3 to the report and the funding of the Capital Programme at Appendix 4 to the report be approved.

C/28

Treasury Management Annual Report 2017/18 and 2018/19 Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To consider the Treasury Management Annual Report 2017/18 and the 2018/19 Strategy Update.

Minutes:

The Treasury Management Annual Report 2017/18 and 2018/19 Strategy Update was presented by Councillor Andrew Jarvis, Finance Portfolio Holder. The report indicated that the current premium level on the Council’s borrowing was circa 83% and that, as a result, it was prudent to continue paying the debt at current levels and to invest until a stage where the repayment premium was more attractive. Investments continued to outperform benchmark rates and the Council had reached the end of the payback period for the early repayment in 2013/14 and was now experiencing an annual saving.

 

A technical change was being recommended to the Treasury Management Strategy which would extend the Counterparty limits to investments with the highest, purple or yellow, creditworthiness scores under Link Asset Services. These institutions would have the same duration and amount overlays as the current best counterparties.

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered the report at its meeting on 13 July 2018 and Cabinet on 18 July 2018.

 

In presenting the report, Councillor Jarvis apologised to Councillor David Williams for the lack of response to his query as mentioned in Minute C/27 above, and undertook to ensure that a written response was provided.  He moved approval of the recommendations contained within the report and was seconded by Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder.

 

RESOLVED – That the 2017 Treasury Management Annual Report and update to the 2018/19 Treasury Management Strategy be approved.

C/29

Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 to 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To consider the draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 to 2023/24, incorporating the Financial Strategy and the Budget Strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 to 2023/24, incorporating the Financial Strategy and the Budget Strategy (referred to collectively as the MTFP) was presented by the Finance Portfolio Holder, Councillor Andrew Jarvis. The MTFP would ensure that the Council had a sound basis for allocating resources and effective financial management over the medium term. The overall position would be constantly reviewed and reported over the rest of 2018 and early 2019 as part of the budget process and update reports.

 

The Finance Portfolio Holder stated that the Council began this process in a relatively robust position and that, through prudent financial management, the Council had a record of balanced budgets, good reserves, low debt and a healthy cash balance. He emphasised that the Council had maintained services and activities despite the reduction in Government support.

 

The Draft MTFP was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. The annual revenue budget deficit projections before Customer Connect savings totalled circa £1.3m for 2019/20 rising to £3.6m by 2023/24 based on a number of assumptions as detailed in the draft. The Customer Connect programme would generate £1.55m of recurring annual savings reducing the expected deficit in 2023/24 to £2m. Savings plans in addition to the Customer Connect Programme were being developed to provide a balanced position. The overall position will be constantly reviewed and reported over the rest of 2018 and early 2019 as part of the budget process and update reports.

 

The report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 13 July 2018 and by Cabinet on 18 July 2018.  The Finance Portfolio Holder thanked officers for their work in producing the MTFP and moved approval of the recommendation contained within the report.

 

A discussion ensued during which Members raised challenges and uncertainties around future Government Grant, Second Homes Agreement, Council Tax, Business Rates and potential levels of economic growth.

 

Attention was drawn to the fact that, earlier in the afternoon the Government had announced a new bidding round for business rate pool pilots for 2019/20 and had also published consultation on the treatment of negative Revenue Support Grant for 2019/20, thresholds for New Homes Bonus and proposed referendum limits for Council Tax for 2019/20.   Regarding the Second Homes Agreement with Cumbria County Council which was due to expire on 31 March 2019 it was observed that billing authorities set the level of Council Tax discount to be applied to Second Homes and not the County Council. 

 

Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, having seconded the motion, reported that the Resolution Trust had observed a rise in child poverty and that there was therefore a need for inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

 

RESOLVED – That the draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2019/20 to 2023/24, as at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved.

C/30

Community Governance Review pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To consider undertaking a Community Governance Review in accordance with the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, for the whole of the South Lakeland District.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder, reported that a review of parishes in South Lakeland was due and that, following implementation of the district ward boundary changes, it was an appropriate time to engage with the parish councils and communities within the District to conduct a full review of parishes and their electoral arrangements in order to ensure that the local government provided was effective and convenient, reflecting the interests and identities of the communities involved.

 

The Council had last undertaken a review during 2013.  Representations had been received from some parishes in 2014 to consider a further review but, at that time, it had received notification from the Local Government Boundary Commission that it was to undertake a further electoral review.  Advice at that time had been not to proceed with a Community Governance Review at the same time as an electoral review.  In addition, the outcome of the review of the National Park boundaries had also been awaited and, therefore, any further review had been considered to be premature.  In September 2014, Council had resolved that, “the Council does not undertake a further community governance review at this time but that officers look at a timetable for a review to commence by March 2017,” (Minute C/45 (2014/15) refers).  Councillor Brook referred to paragraph 3.5 of the report and the need for a textual change to clarify that in March 2017, the Council had indicated that any further Community Governance Review should commence following the 2018 District Elections.

 

Councillor Brook having moved the recommendations was seconded by Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder.

 

Members welcomed the proposed review and the opportunity to ensure that parish councils were named so as to reflect the communities they covered as well as the potential for some smaller ones to join together.  The experience and knowledge of parish councillors was highlighted and the need for collaboration and co-ordination.

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        a Community Governance Review be conducted in accordance with the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, for the whole of the South Lakeland District;

 

(2)        the proposed Timetable and Terms of Reference of the Community Governance Review, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be approved; and

 

(3)        the Director of Policy and Resources (Monitoring Officer) be authorised to take all necessary steps in relation to the Review, keeping Members up to date with progress.

 

Note – The meeting adjourned for a break at 8.25 p.m. and reconvened at 8.30 p.m.  A motion to bring forward Agenda Item No.14 (Notice of Motion) was moved by Councillor Giles Archibald, seconded by Councillor Matt Severn, and passed.

C/31

Notice of Motion

The following Notice of Motion has been given in accordance with Paragraph 11.1 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure:-

 

“That this Council notes with concern that the failing local rail service is having a serious detrimental impact on the area’s visitor economy; notes the use of the line by commuters and school children and recognises the safe guarding issue created by the timetabled services not being available in the past; registers disappointment at the Department of Transport’s decision in 2016 to remove the franchise from TransPennine and grant it to Northern despite the Lakes line being separated from all the rest of Northern’s services; regrets the government’s cancellation of the planned electrification of the line between Oxenholme and Windermere; urges Government to investigate the feasibility of a micro franchise in Cumbria for the Lakes, Furness and Cumbria Coast lines run by an operator that is capable of running a reliable train service which cannot be Northern; and recognises and is grateful for the intervention of the local MP, the Lakes Line User Group and the West Coast Railways, that enabled a shuttle service to be run on the Lakes Line in June.”

 

(signed by Councillor Matt Severn)

Minutes:

In accordance with Paragraph 11.1 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, the following notice of motion had been put to Council by Councillor Matt Severn:-

 

“That this Council notes with concern that the failing local rail service is having a serious detrimental impact on the area’s visitor economy; notes the use of the line by commuters and school children and recognises the safe guarding issue created by the timetabled services not being available in the past; registers disappointment at the Department of Transport’s decision in 2016 to remove the franchise from TransPennine and grant it to Northern despite the Lakes line being separated from all the rest of Northern’s services; regrets the government’s cancellation of the planned electrification of the line between Oxenholme and Windermere; urges Government to investigate the feasibility of a micro franchise in Cumbria for the Lakes, Furness and Cumbria Coast lines run by an operator that is capable of running a reliable train service which cannot be Northern; and recognises and is grateful for the intervention of the local MP, the Lakes Line User Group and the West Coast Railways, that enabled a shuttle service to be run on the Lakes Line in June.”

 

In presenting the motion, Councillor Severn stressed that Northern Rail had demonstrated its inability to run a comprehensive rail service on the two lines in South Lakeland leading to economic disruption, as well as human and reputational cost in the area.  He referred to a number of decisions which had led to this untenable situation including the cancellation of electrification of the Lakes Line leading to Northern Rail having to rely on ancient rolling stock.  In addition, he referred to the Department for Transport having signed off the new timetables and to the lack of trained drivers.  Councillor Severn wished to call on Northern Rail to relinquish the franchise and to hand it over to a Cumbrian micro franchise.

 

Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, seconded the motion.

 

Councillor James Airey thanked Councillor Severn for putting the motion, however, wished to propose an amendment to demonstrate cross party agreement and to recognise work by the wider community and organisations which had intervened or assisted, including the MPs for Barrow and Furness and Copeland and the Department for Transport. 

 

The proposed amendment, put as follows, was seconded by Councillor Ben Berry:-

 

“That this Council notes with concern that the failing local rail service is having a serious detrimental impact on the area’s visitor economy; notes the use of the line by commuters and school children and recognises the safe guarding issue created by the timetabled services not being available in the past; registers disappointment at the Department of Transport’s decision in 2016 to remove the franchise from TransPennine and grant it to Northern despite the Lakes line being separated from all the rest of Northern’s services; regrets the government’s cancellation of the planned electrification of the line between Oxenholme and Windermere; urges Government to investigate the feasibility of a  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/31

C/32

Leader's Announcements and Cabinet Question Time, including the Composite Report of the Cabinet (1 Hour Maximum) pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Council is asked to receive the Executive Reports (Look Forward 2018/19) from the Leader and Cabinet and to deal with any questions raised by Members to the appropriate Cabinet Members on the contents of the reports.

 

To receive announcements from the Leader and, in accordance with Paragraphs 10.2 and 10.3 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, to deal with any questions to the Leader and/or Portfolio Holders on any topic which is within the jurisdiction or influence of the Council and is relevant to their Portfolio.  Any Member who poses a question will be entitled to ask one supplementary question on the same topic.

 

Members are encouraged to give 24 hours’ written notice to the Solicitor to the Council of questions to be raised under the Agenda Item.  If no notice is received, then the Portfolio Holder can reserve the right to give a written answer.  Where written notice of questions has been given, these will be taken first.  Should a Member wish to ask more than one question, questions should be listed in order of priority.  If more than one Member sends in a question, these will be taken in alphabetical order of Members’ names, alternated from meeting to meeting.  Each question and each response is restricted to three minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the Executive Reports (Look Forward 2018/19).  He took the opportunity to raise the serious issue of climate change, referred to meetings which were being held on the subject and invited Members to come forward with suggestions for tackling the issue within their local communities.  Officers had been asked to make arrangements for a session for Members on Climate Change in the coming months.  The Leader highlighted that the Executive Reports reflected the Cabinet’s innovative and dynamic group of portfolio holders who had a desire to serve the community and protect the vulnerable, as well as nurturing the area’s economy in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

 

In accordance with paragraph 10.2 and 10.3 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, the following written questions had been submitted to the meeting:-

 

From Councillor Stephen Coleman to Councillor Dyan Jones, Environment Portfolio Holder - I am very pleased to see the range of new recycling initiatives that we have been pursuing.  Please can you tell us more about the proposed recycling bin trial for Kendal?

 

Councillor Jones explained that kerbside recycling was being extended on a trial basis and that the Council was trying to understand the barriers faced by other authorities around contamination, budget, procurement and collection issues.  Three bins offering recycling at source had been located in two locations on New Road and the Bird Cage at the top of Finkle Street.  Following one week’s use, there had been no evidence of contamination.  Councillor Jones felt that this was a positive start and advised that the Council was to look into how it could do more across the District.

 

Councillor Coleman posed a supplementary question, enquiring if there were any other recycling-related initiatives for the future.

 

Councillor Jones advised that recycling of textiles could be explored for the benefit of the community and charity.  5% of refuse was textiles which could be used to generate income.

 

From Councillor John Holmes to Councillor Jonathan Brook, Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder - I understand that the Helsington Community Land Trust project at Brigsteer which has been running for 11 years with support from SLDC and others is not going ahead due to it now being deemed unviable by both South Lakes Housing and Eden Housing Association.  South Lakes Housing were only brought in this year to assess the scheme with a view to taking it forward with HCLT.  Over the 11 year period I understand that SLDC has grant aided and loaned some £64,000.00 and other agencies a further £32,500.00. I assume SLDCs (and for that matter the other agencies) contributions including loans will have to be written off.  It would appear that the scheme was only professionally assessed this year after a run of 11 years. Why was the scheme not stringently assessed throughout the 11 years before funds were granted.  Will it be the usual practice in the future to ensure that such developments proposed by CLTs are linked with a Housing Association before monies are released?

 

Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item C/32

C/33

Minutes of Meetings

To receive Chairmen’s comments (if any notified) in respect of the minutes of the Committee meetings held between 23 April and 22 June 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no comments or questions have been received in respect of the minutes of committee meetings held between 23 April and 22 June 2018.

C/34

Questions to Chairman of the Council or Chairman of any Committee or Sub-Committee

To deal with any questions under Rule 10.6 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, of which due notice has been given and/or the Chairman allows as a matter of urgent business and which are in relation to any matter over which the Council has powers or duties or which affect the area.

Minutes:

The following written question had been received under Rule 10.6 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure:-

 

From Councillor Ben Berry to Councillor David Williams, Chairman of the Lake Administration Committee - The unacceptable delays in restoring the Windermere Ferry have led to understandable local concerns over the long-term future of the service. What are the thoughts of residents and lake users on this fiasco and past poor performance?

 

Councillor Williams responded, pointing out that the Windermere Ferry was the responsibility of Cumbria County Council.  He first praised those involved in the safe evacuation of the ferry during the fire in May.  He went on to say that it had been thought that any problems relating to the ferry had come to an end following the recent issues around the new ticket machine system.  However, following the fire, he pointed out that it had taken a month for the County Council to order a replacement engine, six weeks for diversion signs to be put in place and two months before any repair work had taken place.  Furthermore, Councillor Williams understood that the closure of the ferry had not yet been discussed by the County Council’s Cabinet.  Businesses on the west side of the Lake had reported a significant decrease in takings of 30% to 40%.  The County Council had recently set out its plans for reimbursement for season ticket holders, although this had not yet been communicated.  Councillor Williams said that people had lost trust in the County Council’s ability to run the service and were expressing concerns at the potential for removal of the service in its entirety.  Concerns had also been expressed with regard to the possibility that poor maintenance of the ferry had led to the fire.  He said that users also felt that the leadership of the County Council did not care about the ferry at all and that they would welcome intervention.  Councillor Williams thanked Councillors James Airey and Matt Brereton for their involvement.

 

As a supplementary question, Councillor Berry asked what could be done by Members of the Council with regard to the situation.

 

Councillor Williams felt that, as Chairman of the Lake Administration Committee, he must heavily criticise Cumbria County Council for its perceived lack of action with regard to the Windermere Ferry.