Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Friday, 1 February 2019 10.30 a.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal

Contact: Committee Services 

Items
No. Item

O&S/51

Chairman's Announcement

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Helen Chaffey who was taking Councillor Robin Ashcroft’s place on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee following his recent appointment to the Cabinet.

 

The Chairman also took the opportunity to advise Members that Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust had provided late notification that they were unable to send a representative to make the presentation at Agenda Item No.9.  Concern was expressed in this regard and it was suggested that the Chairman write to the Trust expressing the Committee’s disappointment that they had been unable to send anyone at all and seeking firm commitment for attendance by a named representative at the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 26 April 2019 to make a short presentation followed by a question and answer session.

 

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to write to Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust expressing disappointment and seeking commitment for attendance by a representative at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 26 April 2019 along the lines discussed and outlined above.

O&S/52

Minutes pdf icon PDF 298 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11 January 2019 (to follow).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11 January 2019, marked “to follow” on the agenda, had been circulated prior to the meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 11 January 2019.

O&S/53

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 at this stage in the proceedings.

O&S/54

Declaration of the Party Whip

In accordance with Rule 17 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules, any Member who is subject to a party whip on any item must declare the existence and nature of the whip.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That it be noted that no declarations of the party whip were raised.

O&S/55

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 the Agenda.

O&S/56

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:

Harry Brunskill spoke with regard to the Cumbria Public Health Strategy on behalf of a group – Clean Air for Ulverston.

 

Mr Brunskill pointed out that air pollution killed more than 20 times more people than road traffic accidents in this country; 40,000 a year from fumes, compared to fewer than 1,800 from road accidents.  Air pollution caused a wide range of health effects, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, miscarriage, cancer of all kinds and, possibly most worrying, permanent damage to children’s lungs.

 

Mr Brunskill felt that the fact that the levels of air pollution in Ulverston were lower than in other places seemed of little relevance, since air pollution had recently been shown to be harmful, even at low levels.  He stressed that there were no safe levels, so any reduction in air pollution, in Ulverston’s case from vehicle emissions, would lead to a reduction in deaths and other health effects.

 

Mr Brunskill stated that Mr Cox focussed on particulates from woodburners in the Strategy document.  While a reduction in the use of woodburners, if not a complete Government ban, would be welcomed by the group, Mr Brunskill stressed that woodburners must not be used as a reason to avoid action on traffic fumes.  The particulates referred to were also, of course, present in vehicle emissions, and not only from diesels or lorries.

 

Based on the same 2019 Public Health England figures that Mr Cox referred to in the document, the group estimated deaths in Ulverston from traffic fumes to be running at a conservative estimate of about 20 a year.  The group was asking for this to be reduced, by pedestrianisation of the town centre and a 20mph speed limit throughout the town.  Mr Brunskill said that there seemed to be backing for the 20mph limit from all political parties in Ulverston.  In addition, he pointed out that, according to the figures from the campaign group, “20’s Plenty”, it would only cost about £18,000 for the whole of the town, so the group did not see why this was not going ahead immediately.  Mr Brunskill pointed out that pedestrianisation would cost even less – a few no entry signs.  It was also popular – a survey carried out by the group in summer had shown that at least nine out of ten people asked had been in favour of the idea.  This was also supported by many traders, who saw the potential of a traffic-free town centre.  As Mary Portas had put it, for high streets to thrive, shopping had to be about “the experience”.  In other words, it had to take place in a pleasant environment, which traffic-free streets provided.  Mr Brunskill highlighted that the group had sent studies to Council officers and Members when last addressing the Committee, showing that pedestrianisation increased footfall and trade by up to 40%.  So pedestrianisation should increase trade, and certainly could not be worse than present policies, where they existed at all, to combat the two trends  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/56

O&S/57

Work Programme and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To consider a verbal update on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2018/19 and the contents of the latest Forward Plan (copies attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Solicitor to the Council provided a verbal update on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2018/19 and the contents of the latest Forward Plan published on 8 January 2019.

 

As reported at the previous meeting, the date for consideration by the Committee of the Homelessness Strategy 2019-2024 would now be 26 April 2019.  In addition, the Committee would, on 26 April, be asked to consider an additional item, the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy.  The Solicitor to the Council referred to the Green Team Update which was shown within the Programme as an item for today’s meeting.  This would also be moved to the agenda for 26 April, however, she advised that the Assistant Director Strategic Development was present to provide a brief update under this item.

 

The Solicitor to the Council advised that expressions of interest had been sought for the task and finish group on the development of locality working through Customer Connect.  It had been intended that this task and finish group would commence in February 2019, however, following a request for an urgent workshop to be held on the potential impact of a no deal Brexit on Cumbria, expressions of interest for which would shortly be sought, the locality working task and finish group would commence instead in March.

 

A suggestion was raised at this point for Members to give authorisation to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, to continue correspondence with Northern Rail with regard to rail issues, as and when necessary, instead of having to wait until the next meeting of the Committee.

 

The Assistant Director Strategic Development then provided a brief update with regard to progress being made by the Green Team which had been established approximately nine months ago.  The Group, consisting of officers, partners and the Leader had met on a number of occasions, culminating in the production of a draft Climate Change Policy which was due to be considered by Cabinet and Council and which would form part of the revisions to the Council Plan in order to bring the issue to the fore, as well as through various communication channels.

 

The group had produced a list of activities to assist in influencing behaviours.  A large amount of work had been done to support the Climate Change Agenda and a low carbon economy, in relation to, for example, air pollution, cycling, Local Plan development  and development standards.  There had been engagement with partners in order to seek ideas from the community and to help inform the schedule of actions.  In addition, the group was working with Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS).  A programme of work was in place with regard to the energy efficiency of Council buildings.  Another key issue was that work being carried out in partnership with Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park Authority, and a meeting was scheduled to be held the following week for joint discussions.

 

In response to a query, the Assistant Director Strategic Development  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/57

O&S/58

Cumbria Public Health Strategy pdf icon PDF 408 KB

To receive a presentation from Colin Cox, Director of Public Health, and to consider the draft Cumbria Joint Public Health Strategy and provide any comments to Cabinet to consider prior to its recommendation for adoption by Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The latest version of Appendix 1 to the report, the Cumbria Joint Public Health Strategy had been circulated prior to the meeting.

 

The Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder thanked Mr Brunskill for his thought-provoking comments regarding air quality.  The Portfolio Holder introduced the item and explained that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee was being given an opportunity to consider the draft Strategy prior to presentation of the document to Cabinet.  He stressed the importance of the Public Health Strategy and the need for local government to seek to influence people and promote good health.  The Portfolio Holder welcomed Colin Cox to the meeting.

 

Colin Cox, Director of Public Health, who had led on the creation and development of the Cumbria Joint Public Health Strategy, provided Members with a detailed presentation on the draft Strategy which focussed on tackling the wider determinants of health.

 

The presentation, together with the substantive report, indicated how officers with multi-disciplinary backgrounds and expertise from South Lakeland District Council (SLDCE), the other district councils, Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park Authority had contributed to the writing and the shaping of specific thematic areas.

 

The Public Health Strategy sat under the Cumbria Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2019-2029. This strategy was currently in production, and would be presented to the Cumbria Health and Wellbeing board in April.  This was a document which set out how the Health and Wellbeing Board would work together over the next ten years. All Clinical Commissioning Groups, local authorities and NHS England plans would need to take the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy into account.

 

The vision of the Cumbria Joint Public Health Strategy was to, “enable Cumbrian communities to be healthy and to tackle health inequalities.”  This corresponded with the existing SLDC Public Health Strategy, and the proposed Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

 

The Cumbria Joint Public Health Strategy took a different approach to previous public health strategies as, instead of focusing on individuals, it acknowledged the conditions in which a person was born, lived, worked and how ages impacted on their access and ability to live a healthier life.  These were known as the wider determinants of health, and included housing, education, employment, working conditions, the natural environment, food production and water. These were incorporated into Figure 1 of the report – the wider determinants of health and how SLDC interacts with these different layers. Estimates varied, however, it was broadly accepted that health care was accountable for approximately 10% of the contribution to health.  This meant that, whilst access to good quality health care was very important, health was primarily determined by socio-economic factors.

 

The framework of the Strategy was based on the “Five Capitals Model,” which included the following:-

 

·         Natural Capital (Planet): A high quality natural environment that provides opportunities for engagement with the natural world.

·         Human Capital (People): People with the skills, knowledge, and experience that give them the capacity to take part in society and have meaningful and fulfilling lives.

·         Social Capital (Participation): A  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/58

O&S/59

Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

To receive a presentation from a representative of the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Minutes:

As indicated earlier in the meeting, no representative of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust being able to attend to make a presentation, this item would be deferred to the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 26 April 2019.

O&S/60

Council Plan Performance Monitoring Quarter 3 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 182 KB

To monitor progress against the measures of success as detailed within the Council Plan 2014-2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

On behalf of the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, the Finance Portfolio Holder introduced the Council Plan Performance Monitoring report for Quarter 3 of 2018/19.  The report highlighted areas of significantly good or poor performance relating to the measures of success set out in the current Council Plan.

 

The Portfolio Holder reported that the Council continued to deliver on its housing targets.  He drew attention to the need to monitor the plateauing figures in relation to waste recycling, however, stressed the fact that none of South Lakeland’s waste was currently sent to landfill.  He also commended the reduction in the annual target for carbon emissions.

 

The report also included the latest Strategic Risk Register and the Portfolio Holder drew attention to the recent addition of two further risks which had been included in order to enable officers to ensure that the appropriate mitigations were in place:-

 

Risk 20 – Capacity for business as usual during the transition to the new organisational model; and

 

Risk 21 – Accountable body for large value schemes.

 

The high figure for business start-ups was noted, however, it was queried as to how many of these businesses were still in existence.  The Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder explained that the Council was good at nurturing start-up businesses and undertook to provide a written response with regard to the figures.

 

Attention was drawn to the measure for the overall level of reported crime not exceeding 3,425 and to the actual total of 3,884 crimes to date for 2018/19.  It was queried whether the target was realistic and, if so, what lessons had been learnt.  The Finance Portfolio Holder undertook to provide a written response.

 

Reference was made to Risk 9 on the Strategic Risk Register – Essential strategic partnerships required to deliver the Council Plan do not operate effectively – and strong concern was again expressed with regard to the fact that Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust had not sent a representative to make the presentation scheduled for this meeting.  The Finance Portfolio Holder acknowledged the Plan’s objective for the Council to work in partnership with other organisations, however, pointed out that some of the contents of the Plan were not in the sole control of the Council.  The Council, although not responsible for health matters, played a role in this area.  The health of the neighbourhood was of great importance and the Council would continue to attempt to drive forward joint working on the issue.  The Chief Executive informed the Committee of ongoing work and provided assurance that the Council was involved.  Both the Leader and himself had met with the Trust and had made the Council’s expectations clear.  They had received a positive response and had been invited to the Trust’s strategic development day.

 

A query was raised with regard to the statistics shown within the report relating to the measures of success for Culture and Wellbeing and to the fact that this was old data relating to 2012-14.  It had been understood  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/60

O&S/61

Corporate Financial Monitoring Quarter 3 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

To note the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 3 2018/19 and to consider any recommendations to be made to Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance Portfolio Holder presented the third quarter financial monitoring report of 201819.  The report provided an update on how the financial situation was progressing during this year.  In part, it was backward looking, highlighting the Council’s expenditure and income during the first nine months of the financial year, but also including the Council’s current projections of expenditure during the rest of the year.

 

The Portfolio Holder provided details relating to the revenue budget, capital expenditure, collection of Council Tax and business rates and the Council’s current position with regard to debt collection, details of which were contained within the report and appendices.

 

Appendix 1 set out the revenue variances to date.  Overall, at the end of Quarter 3, budget monitoring had identified a forecast year-end underspend of £260,000.  In addition, there was projected to be £273,000 of carry-forward requests.  Trends identified in these budget monitoring results had been fed into the 2019/20 budget setting process.

 

Appendix 2 set out the position on the Capital Programme. The capital budget at Quarter 2 2018/19 had stood at £9.795m. Carry-forwards to 2019/20 of £1.557m relating to the ERDF Flood Alleviation scheme and £300,000 relating to the Cross-a-Moor development and an increase to the Millerground Play scheme of £12,000 due to additional funding had been approved by Council on 18 December 2018 as part of the updated Capital Programme submitted with the 2019/20 Draft Budget.  This resulted in a 2018/19 Capital Programme of £7.950m at the end of Quarter 3.  Expenditure against this Programme to the end of Quarter 3 had been £3.205m.  There was anticipated to be significant expenditure during Quarter 4 and £0.458m of further re-profiling had been identified.  A revised Programme was presented as part of the budget process, including any new schemes prioritised against the available funding.

 

Appendix 3 provided an update on Treasury Management for the quarter.  There was one issue to report in terms of compliance with the approved Treasury Management Strategy relating to counterparty limits which had arisen as a result of an administrative error, as detailed within the report.  Investments had performed better than the relevant benchmarks except in relation to long-term core investments due to the change in interest rates.  No repayment of existing borrowing or new borrowing was anticipated up to the end of the financial year.

 

The Portfolio Holder closed in thanking the Finance Team for highlighting the challenges in the budgets for the rest of the year and having allowed the Management Team to take corrective action.

 

A query was raised with regard to the final cost to the Authority in relation to Treasury Management and where the Council had exceeded the counterparty limit with one of its Money Market Funds by £1.2m.  The Portfolio Holder explained that there had been no cost as a result of the situation which had arisen as a result of an administrative error, however, that steps had been taken to avoid this happening again.

 

In response to a question as to why local authority partners  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/61

O&S/62

Portfolio Holder Report - Economy and Assets pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To consider the annual report from the Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder on the progress made within the portfolio area and their plans for the future.

Minutes:

Note – During consideration of this item of business, Councillor Janette Jenkinson declared a non-pecuniary interest by virtue of the fact that she was a Board Member of the Ulverston Community Enterprise, which managed the Ulverston indoor and outdoor markets on behalf of South Lakeland District Council.  She remained in the Chamber during the discussion and voting on the item.

 

The Economy and Assets Portfolio Holder presented his annual report on progress made and plans for the future within the portfolio area, and highlighted a number of areas within his report.

 

The Portfolio Holder referred in particular to the joint work being carried out by South Lakeland, Barrow Borough and Lancaster City councils which had brought the partnership’s economic position into sixth place in the North West, behind Manchester, Cheshire East, Cheshire West, Liverpool, Chester and Trafford.  Morecambe Bay was establishing a strong economic position.

 

In response to a query raised, the Portfolio Holder explained that the consultation on ways to improve Kendal indoor and outdoor markets had not yet commenced.  This was a protracted process requiring a lot of work, the key aim of which was to establish a clear strategy to take the markets forward to ensure they thrived in the longer term.  He provided assurance that the consultation with stallholders and users would commence officially later in the year.  It was raised that Ulverston Community Enterprise, which managed the Ulverston indoor and outdoor markets on behalf of South Lakeland District Council, was currently examining ways of increasing footfall.  This being the case, it was suggested that there could be joint working between Kendal and Ulverston.  The Portfolio Holder felt that this was an appropriate point, and also drew attention to the Council’s responsibility for the small market in Ambleside.  He felt that there may be benefit from discussion with Ulverston and undertook to raise the suggestion with the Council’s Corporate Asset Manager.  It was further suggested that Ambleside Together may wish to become involved.

 

Reference was made to the forthcoming Strategic Car Parking Study and the need to ensure that all areas were taken into consideration.  The Portfolio Holder indicated that the study had not yet concluded, however, explained that all opinions would be taken into consideration.

 

Concern was raised with regard to recent rumours relating to the current restaurant business at the K Village site.  It was suggested that approval of the recent planning application for a hotel at the K Village site had included the retention of the restaurant.  The Director People and Places advised that he was aware of the situation undertook to provide a written response once the matter had been thoroughly investigated.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

O&S/63

Portfolio Holder Report - Finance pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To consider the annual report from the Finance Portfolio Holder on the progress made within the portfolio area and their plans for the future.

Minutes:

The Finance Portfolio Holder presented his annual report on progress made and plans for the future within the portfolio area.  The Finance Team had continued to be extremely busy throughout the financial year and he highlighted a number of areas.

 

The statutory Statement of Accounts had been successfully delivered by the end of May, in line with the new deadlines.  These had received an unqualified audit report, and the Portfolio Holder commended the Finance Team on delivering these reports one to two months earlier than in previous years, without issue or disruption.

 

There had been active involvement in reducing the risk of significant overspend during this financial year and, as reported in the earlier Corporate Financial Monitoring Report, the projected overspend had reduced from £600,000 to £100,000 at the end of Quarter 3.

 

The Medium Term Financial Plan had been the focus of ongoing work and this was allowing the Council to present a balanced budget for next year and to highlight the significant risks of reduced Government funding in following years.

 

Linked to the Medium Term Financial Plan, supported by the its property advisors, the Council had been developing a review and understanding of the Council’s long-term capital requirements which had led to approval of a new Property and Land Management Strategy and the extended Capital Strategy which had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee last month.

 

Both the Procurement and Treasury Management strategies had been updated.

 

The Finance Team had been working to integrate their processes into the Customer Connect Programme.  This would give residents easier access to information and allow customers to directly make arrangements, apply for discounts and notify the Council of changes in circumstances.

 

In closing, the Finance Portfolio Holder expressed thanks to the Finance Team for their work.  His thanks were echoed by Members of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

O&S/64

2019/20 Procurement Strategy and Procurement Schedule pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To consider the updated Sustainable Procurement and Commissioning Strategy and the Procurement Schedule for 2019/20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Finance Portfolio Holder, reported that the Council’s three-year Sustainable Procurement and Commissioning Strategy had been approved in 2016.  During 2019, an exercise would be carried out to review the document to ensure that it met the Council’s needs in the future under the Customer Connect model.  During 2018, the Local Government Association had published an updated National Procurement Strategy.  Many of the proposals in this national strategy were already reflected in the Council’s Strategy, but some minor changes were proposed around strategic contact management, supplier engagement and social value.  References to legislation and the Council Plan had also been updated. Appendix 1 to the report updated the Council’s existing Strategy to reflect these changes.

 

Since April 2016, the Council’s Constitution had permitted officers to conduct and conclude the contracting processes without further approval, providing it was in line with the Procurement Schedule, to be approved by Council at least annually.  Where a procurement process was over budget, then approval would still be required in accordance with the Financial Procedure Rules.  Where an officer sought approval for a waiver or exemption under the Contract Procedure Rules, this was also included in the Procurement Schedule.

 

The Procurement Schedule for 2019/20 was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.  There were 78 procurement projects identified, which was slightly lower than the 83 procurement exercises originally approved for 2018/19.

 

Concern was raised with regard to the Procurement Schedule and the item relating to the supply of car park tickets.  Those currently being provided did not have an adhesive strip with which to attach the ticket to a car windscreen, resulting in the potential for tickets to blow away when closing the car door.  The Finance Portfolio Holder believed that this related to the Council’s commitment to abolish single-use plastics, however, undertook to provide a firm response in writing.

 

RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-

 

(1)        the updated Sustainable Procurement and Commissioning Strategy attached at Appendix 1 to the report; and

 

(2)        the Procurement Schedule for 2019/20 attached at Appendix 2 to the report.

O&S/65

Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee Update

To receive an update, if any, on the work of the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee from the Council’s representative or substitute.

Minutes:

Councillor Vivienne Rees, the Council’s representative on the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee, having been unable to attend the last meeting of that Committee, Councillor Mark Wilson, a County Council representative on the same Committee, provided a verbal update.  He made particular reference to two items of business which had been on the agenda for the meeting on 18 December 2018.  One had been a report from Healthwatch Cumbria on what a good life looked like for people with learning difficulties in Cumbria.  The other had been a very useful presentation from the NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, which had provided an update on healthcare for the future in north Cumbria, similar to that which had been expected from Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust at this meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  Councillor Wilson undertook to send a website link to the relevant agenda and reports to Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

RESOLVED – That the verbal update be noted.