Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder presented an update report on progress with the current Council Plan for Quarter 1 of 2020/21. Monitoring the success of the Council Plan demonstrated improvements and ensured that Council services addressed the needs of residents in an open and transparent way. The Council was committed to delivering high quality, cost-effective services that met the needs of residents and improved quality of life. The performance management process helped the Council to demonstrate how well it was doing.
The measures listed within the report showed very good performance, demonstrating that South Lakeland was a very desirable place to live, work and explore. However, in line with the national trend and the influence of Covid-19, the number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation was increasing.
The report also included the Council’s Strategic Risk Register. Following a review of the Strategic Risks for Quarter 4 2019/20, it could be seen that 65% of risks were now above tolerance. This significant change was due to the pressures brought about by Covid-19.
In presenting the report, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder stressed the fact that, past performance, whilst good, was not a good guide for the future. As a result of the shock on society and the economy of Covid-19, a new state had been entered, and he referred to the rise in unemployment and in Universal Credit claims, the fact that South Lakeland had one of the highest furlough rates in the country, the suffering hospitality industry and the closure of many shops. The Council was engaged in doing what it could to address these issues. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder also referred to the impact of the pandemic on the Council’s strategic risks and the serious increase in those risks which was being carefully monitored. Of the greatest concern was the impact on the district’s most vulnerable people, the importance of welfare reform and the resultant poverty which could come from unemployment and hardship.
The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder informed Members that the report had also been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 17 July 2020. At that meeting, the need to ensure there were training opportunities and support for young people at college or leaving school had been raised, with Covid-19 having caused mental strain and stress. In addition, it had been suggested that the strategic risks should be monitored on a weekly basis.
During discussion, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder undertook to provide information, at the Council meeting on 28 July 2020, the mechanism of reporting to all Members movements on the Strategic Risks.
Members talked about those people who faced hardship within South Lakeland, attention being drawn to the fact that people were now also suffering in the more affluent areas of the district, such as Windermere, as well as in rural communities. Attention was drawn to the need to be reactive and to the work being carried out by the Department of Work and Pensions and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested discussing with the Department of Work and Pensions the potential for the Council to assist in facilitating claims. The Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder agreed, also acknowledging a comment regarding the need to be mindful of those without access to the internet and who were unable to access the Citizens’ Advice Bureau offices in Kendal, Windermere and Ulverston. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder re-emphasised that this was a very serious situation which raised the question of whether a poverty emergency should be declared.
The Leader asked the meeting if the motion was agreed. There was no dissent.
RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-
(1) the Summary of Performance as detailed in the report; and
(2) the detailed risks information contained within Appendix 1 to the report.
Reasons for Decision
The report is directly linked to the Council Plan commitment to ensure that the Council is equipped to provide the best, most cost effective services. Details regarding performance monitoring are published in line with the Council’s latest Performance Management Framework.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
None – the purpose of the report is to receive a performance update. The Council must note successes, monitor progress and take action where appropriate.
Publication date: 24/07/2020
Date of decision: 22/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 22/07/2020 - Cabinet
Effective from: 03/08/2020