Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 8 July 2022 10.30 a.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, Kendal Town Hall, Kendal

Contact: Ross Ette  Legal, Governance and Democracy Specialist

No. Item


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 4 March 2022 (copy attached).


RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 04 March 2022.


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.


No declarations of interest were raised.


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.


No declarations of the party whip were raised.


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.


There were no excluded items on the agenda.


Terms of Reference

To note the Terms of Reference of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


RESOLVED – That the Terms of Reference be noted.


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 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.


No questions, representations deputations or petitions were received in respect of the meeting.


Work Programme 2022/23 and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To consider the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2022/23, and the contents of the latest Forward Plan.

Additional documents:


The Case Management Officer briefly presented the report, reminding Members that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had only two further meetings before the dissolution of South Lakeland District Council.


Members recalled a previous request for a representative from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust to attend a meeting to discuss the Trust’s work. Members commented on the absence of such item from the Work Programme and re-iterated the desire for a representative to attend a future meeting.


Members expressed concern that there was only two subsequent meetings remaining and that there was a considerable gap between the two. They also highlighted two key issues facing the district, those being the cost of living crisis and an influx of Ukrainian refugees, and suggested that they were topics that should be looked at as part of the Committee’s Work Programme.


The Chairman drew Members attention to the Portfolio Holder report items within the Work Programme, suggesting that such topics could be addressed in detail as part of those reports where appropriate.


Members and the Chairman, who also sat on the Lake Administration Committee, also raised the issue of loss of biodiversity at Windermere Lake and suggested that a separate session should be held to hold the relevant agencies to account.


After a short discussion between the Chairman and the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources, they agreed to meet in future to discuss the suggestions made by the Committee and how they could be best taken forward considering levels of time and resource available.




(1)    subject to agreement between the Chairman and the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources, the Work Programme is approved;

(2)    the Chairman and the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources will agree an approach to include additional topics within work programme, including; the cost of living crisis, the district’s response to the homes for Ukraine scheme; and the loss of biodiversity at Windermere Lake;

(3)    the contents of the Forward Plan dated 21 June 2022 be received.


Local Government Reform - Recommendations from Task and Finish Group pdf icon PDF 254 KB

To consider the findings and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group in relation to Local Government Reorganisation.

Additional documents:


Cllr Wilson presented the report, expressing to Members that the work of the Task and Finish group had been very valuable and had resulted in an exciting report. He noted that the report was weighty and looked at the work of the Council over the years. He concluded, explaining that to have not formed the group would’ve been a missed opportunity to capture the Council’s key strengths to be passed on to the new authority.


Members echoed Cllr Wilson’s comments, noting their pride in the work of the Council and what a great shame it would be for the knowledge to be lost as part of the Local Government Reorganisation transition.


Members also highlighted that a close eye would need to be kept on the report and its recommendations to ensure that they were properly considered by Cabinet and the unitary authority.




(1)    the findings of Task and Finish group in Appendix 1 be noted;

(2)    that Cabinet be recommended to endorse the findings and recommendations within Appendix 1.


Revenue and Capital Outturn 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 347 KB

To note the Council's financial performance for 2021/22 and to approve movements to and from reserves and any carry forward of budgets to 2022/23.

Additional documents:


The Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder introduced the report, acknowledging that it had been a tough year that stretched resources – particularly in the response to COVID-19 and large amounts of grants combined with preparation for Local Government Reorganisation. He thanked officers for their continued hard work.


Speaking on the Revenue Budget, the Portfolio Holder reminded members that the report looked at spend during the year and any carry forward into 2022/23. He informed members that the budget was set during the pandemic at a time where it wasn’t clear what the full impact would be. As a result large contingencies were set aside to cover losses which ultimately were not required, resulting in an overall underspend for the year.


In terms of Capital Expenditure, the Portfolio Holder noted that there was a revised budget of £15m, with £11m spent in the year. The Portfolio holder noted the large underspend, but highlighted the huge spend of £11m on various projects such as Kendal Town Hall, Flood Defence schemes and Cross-a-moor roundabout.


In responding to a question on employment problems impacting on expenditure, the Portfolio Holder noted that it was key to ensure resources were being prioritised and that the Council was acting ahead of events to ensure that the appropriate staff were in place. He suggested that the committee could invite officers to take a look at what is being done administratively.


Responding to the question of what happens to projects that aren’t completed prior to the vesting day in April 2023, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that that money could not be ring-fenced. He continued noting that it was a significant issue that was yet to be resolved, but work was being done to ensure March 31 2023 did not become a hard stop for projects.


Members queried why the Ulverston Leisure Centre project was on hold, noting that local residents were disappointed that nothing had been done yet. The Portfolio holder responded by clarifying that no promises were made regarding expenditure on the project, but rather it was agreed to look at a business case for the project. He continued noting that any decision would now be the responsibility of the new unitary authority, but acknowledged the strong need for a replacement pool and that there was still a firm intention to do something.


Members continued querying whether improvements to the sports fields and courts would be going ahead. The Portfolio Holder responded to confirm it was his understanding that those works were within the budget, and to provide some reassurance he informed members that the unitary authority had given general consent for works up to £2 million which included leisure centre and sports facilities works.


Members thanked the Portfolio Holder and officers for the work that went into Cross-a-moor junction, which was due to open on the day of the meeting.


In relation to the Shared Prosperity Fund bid, members queried what projects and funding levels were being applied for. The Portfolio Holder responded noting that he had  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/9


2021/22 Annual Treasury Management Report pdf icon PDF 264 KB

To consider the Treasury Management Annual Report 2021/22.

Additional documents:


The Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder presented the report, informing members that the Treasury Management Framework had been approved by Council in February 2021 ahead of the financial year.


He confirmed that the Council was £11.2 million under-borrowed with external debt remaining at £12.8m, well below the Capital Financing Requirement of £24 million. He highlighted rising interest rates and noted that were it not for Local Government Reorganisation, the Council would be considering borrowing ahead of future expenditure. He continued noting that it would be inappropriate for the council to take on borrowing that is not currently required.


He concluded by thanking officers for their continued hard work.


In relation to a request for a list of Council properties that had been declassified as investment properties, the Section 151 verbally read through the list of properties.




(1)    the 2021/22 Annual Treasury Management Report be noted; and

(2)    the 2021/22 Annual Treasury Management Report be recommend to Council for approval.


Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) policy pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To consider the proposed amendments to the Disabled Facilities Grants policy.

Additional documents:


The Senior Housing Standards Officer presented the report, noting that the policy had originally been approved by Council in 2018.


She informed Members that the policy was being reviewed for two main reasons, firstly to ensure links to the Council plan are clear following audit recommendation and secondly to increase level for a means test from £5,000 to £10,000. She continued noting that by increasing the means test level it would bring it in line with that of Eden District Council and Barrow Borough Council and reflect national increases in labour costs, which in turn would reduce delays for those customers that need assistance most.


In responding to a request for figures on Disabled Facilities Grant approvals, the Senior Housing Specialist confirmed she would provide a written response with a breakdown of the figures.


Members thanked officers for their hard work in delivering the grants.


RESOLVED – That the amended Disabled Facilities Grant Policy be recommended to Cabinet for approval.


Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee Update

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


Cllr Wilson provided an update as a County Council member of the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee. He informed members that all the minutes and information was available on ModGov or the Cumbria County Council website.


He highlighted various topics considered and explored by the Health Scrutiny Committee, including; stroke services across north and south Cumbria, availability of dentistry services within Cumbria and the work of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust.


RESOLVED – That the verbal update be noted.