Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 26 August 2022 10.30 a.m.

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

Contact: Committee Services 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 218 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 8 July 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 08 July 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.


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 125 KB

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

Additional documents:


The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources presented the report.


He began by highlighting an email sent to Members on 02 August 2022 by the Case Management Officer, which set out suggested changes to the work programme following discussions at the July meeting.


He noted that in response to the Committee’s request for updates on the cost of living crisis and support for Ukrainian refugees, the relevant Portfolio Holder reports had been moved up to the meeting.


He concluded by referring to the recent Task and Finish Group, which looked at Local Government Reorganisation, and noted that the findings had been well received at Cabinet and had since been forwarded onto Westmorland and Furness Council for consideration.


Members questioned the lack of meetings in 2023, and suggested that it would be preferable to have a closing meeting with a final report before the dissolution of the Council.


The Chair suggested that additional meetings could be arranged where required, and looked to the Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources for confirmation. The Director acknowledged the request and noted that he would look into whether an additional meeting could be held in February.

Members raised concerns with the local rail services, noting that recently service had been abysmal and very unreliable. Cllr Rathbone suggested writing to the local railway franchise holders, to which other Members seconded the idea. Cllr Rathbone confirmed that he would progress the matter.


The Chair asked for an update on whether contact had been made with the Love Windermere Partnership, to extend an invitation to speak at the next meeting.


The Director of Customer and Commercial Services noted that it was in hand, and that officers would continue to progress the matter.


Following on from the query from the Chair, Members asked who represented the Council on the Love Windermere Partnership Board.


The Director of Customer and Commercial Services confirmed that the Council currently did not hold a position on the Love Windermere Partnership Board, but had representation as part of a working group regarding the Lake. He added that discussions were in progress to look at adding a Council representative to the Love Windermere Partnership Board.


Members responded expressing that it was unacceptable for the Council not to be represented on the Board, and requested that this be resolved as a matter of urgency.




(1)   The Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s updated Work Programme for 2021/22 be agreed; and

(2)   The Forward Plan published 02 August 2022 be received.


Corporate Finance Update Quarter 1 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 283 KB

To consider the projected year end position based on performance to the end of Quarter 1 2022/23 and officers’ planned actions to ensure a balanced budget by the end of the financial year.

Additional documents:


The Finance Specialist presented the report, highlighting the key figures for the first quarter of the financial year up to the end of June. She noted that increased costs due to inflation, salary increases and fuel costs had been somewhat offset by other items such as savings on interest payments and lower capital spending than expected. Before passing to Members for comment, she concluded that the Council remained in a robust financial position and hoped to offset the worst of the economic shock.


Members asked at what interest rate the Council would be paying back debt. The Finance Specialist responded by confirming that due to LGR any action related to debt would go through Westmorland and Furness Council. She added that the Council currently had no plans to repay existing debt.


Members noted that there could be an opportunity to pay off debt before interest rates rise, and further asked at what level of interest the Council would consider repaying debt. The Finance Specialist responded noting that she would need to consider and revert to the Committee at a later date with an answer.


Members also expressed concern regarding low capital expenditure, and queried whether promises and projects could be expedited to ensure that the Council maintained a good reputation until the end.


The Chair added to these comments by querying whether money granted to the Council would be ring-fenced moving forward into Westmorland and Furness. The Finance Specialist confirmed that where the terms and conditions of grants restrict the use of the funds then these would be ring-fenced to particular schemes.


RESOLVED – That the contents of the report and appendices be noted.


Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 1 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 429 KB

To monitor progress against the measures of success as detailed within the Council Plan 2021-2026.

Additional documents:


The Case Management Officer presented the report, noting it looked at the Council’s activity and measured success in meeting various targets. He informed Members that the report highlighted excellent performance across services, and directed Members to the service statistics within the report.


Members asked about Affordable Homes, and whether the declining number was expected to continue. The Case Management Officer responded noting he would need to seek specialist planning advice on the details, but confirmed that planning applications were in the pipeline. The Housing Portfolio Holder also responded noting that Officers were convinced that the Affordable Homes target would be met.


Members requested that charts be included in the report in future to show performance against expectations, to ensure that it is clear as to whether targets are being met.


Members also asked whether any statistics were available regarding rough sleepers and the level of take-up for the cold and cosy scheme. The Case Management Officer confirmed he would email the statistics around to Members.


RESOLVED – That the summary of performance, detailed risks information and detailed performance statistics within the report and appendices be noted.


Portfolio Holder Report - Health, Wellbeing and Poverty Alleviation pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To consider the annual report from the Health, Wellbeing and Poverty Alleviation Portfolio Holder on the progress made within the portfolio area and their plans for the future.


The Portfolio Holder presented the report. She began by reminding Members that due to rising energy costs and inflation, many residents would be choosing between eating and heating, starving or freezing. She noted that without intervention from central government people would lose their lives during the cost of living crisis.


She continued noting that despite being perceived as an affluent area, deprivation was present in areas such as Kendal and Ulverston. She also highlighted the issue of fuel poverty in rural areas, noting that around 11% of people were experiencing some form of fuel poverty.


The Portfolio Holder then paused for comments and questions.


Members asked about resources available to food banks, and whether they would be able to cope with increased demand. In responding, the Portfolio Holder informed Members that she was involved in a food forum that involved 25 hubs around the district. She highlighted that during the monthly meetings it was clear that conversations were becoming more heightened and that demand was increasing. As an example, she noted that support deliveries in Sedbergh had doubled.


The Portfolio Holder continued, informing Members that Cumbria County Council had been very supportive, funnelling money to assist where possible. However, she admitted it was currently unclear as to what money would be available going forward. She added that in response to the Fairer South Lakeland fund, applications had been received for money to support food boxes for communities.


Members asked what could be done to try and get ahead of any future curve. The Portfolio Holder admitted that it was a difficult question to answer, but noted that the main sources of support were from public donation and money from central government. She was pleased to note that public food donations had surprisingly not decreased, and communities were acting to support each other.


She continued, highlighting continued funding and communication as the key requirements that would help to deliver support to those that need it. She concluded by adding that a big barrier to poverty support was the stigma around poverty and that work needed to be done to ‘normalise’ financial hardship so people would feel comfortable asking for help.


Members expressed concern with regard to how other organisations would cope, such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), and asked if anything could be done to support such organisations. The Portfolio Holder informed Members that CAB was a partner of the Council, which meant that communication was frequent and grant funding had been increased over the next two years to help support their work.



Whilst noting that the hope would be that central government would intervene, Members asked whether any crisis plan was in place or an emergency budget. The Portfolio Holder agreed that it would be a sensible idea and confirmed that the Community Resilience Group was still running and she would raise issues with the Chair at Cumbria County Council (CCC). The Strategy Specialist added that the Council was working closely with CCC to look at deprivation and forecasts  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/21


Portfolio Holder Report - Housing pdf icon PDF 143 KB

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


The Portfolio Holder presented the report, beginning by noting that despite high demand on the service there was a high percentage of positive outcomes.


She added that the work of the service had close links with some of the things covered by the Health, Wellbeing and Poverty Alleviation Portfolio Holder.


She noted that the cost of living and arrival of refugees would also be putting more pressure on the system. However, she was pleased to confirm that the district response to Ukrainian refugees had been extraordinary, with Arnside alone hosting 40 refugees.


She continued, noting that currently the 6 month hosting period had another 2 months to go, and that Cumbria County Council (CCC) were making contact with both guests and hosts to see whether arrangements could continue. The Portfolio Holder informed members that CCC had been asked to explore the possibility of sharing details with the Council to assist in providing support.


Moving on, she informed members that one current focus was to look at increasing the supply of private rental accommodation in the district. She confirmed that empty home owners were currently being contacted to see if they would be willing to rent out their homes. Communications were also being put out regarding renting rooms.


The Portfolio Holder concluded by thanking Officers for doing a remarkable job across all fronts, but noted that it would continue to be a tough challenge going forward.


In response to a question on how the refugee funding was being deployed by Cumbria County Council, the Portfolio Holder noted she did not have a breakdown but would ask the question and revert.


In response to a request for a breakdown of the statistics, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that there were 317 hosts within the County, 512 arrivals and 192 refugees currently hosted within South Lakeland.


Members thanked the Portfolio Holder for the report.


RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.


Portfolio Holder Report - Economy, Culture and Leisure pdf icon PDF 173 KB

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


The Portfolio Holder presented the report, noting that he was hugely pleased to inform members that business confidence had been on the rise. However, he admitted that it would be unlikely to continue to rise due to challenging times ahead both socially and economically.


He concluded noting that the Council was continuing to do what it could during its remaining months, but the current assessment is that it would be a challenging period.


Members expressed their thanks for the support given to the Farmers Arms in Lowick, noting that it was a good example of a community driven project. The Portfolio Holder noted that he was happy to have been able to support Grizedale Arts.


RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.


Review of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy pdf icon PDF 263 KB

To consider the revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2022.

Additional documents:


The Licensing Specialist presented the report, and began by relaying apologies from the report author who was unable to attend.


She informed members that the Policy had already been presented to Licensing Regulatory Committee and subject to public consultation.


She continued noting that changes made to the policy were indicated in red, and included updates on LGR and the NR3 sharing register. The Licensing Specialist directed Members to the report and appendices for full details.


She confirmed that following consultation between April and May 2022, several changes had been proposed. This included; a statutory tax check for those applying for licences, increased evidence requirements of adequate and professional repair for write-off vehicles seeking a licence and emissions standards requirements.


In responding to a question on age-limits for licenced vehicles, the Licensing Specialist confirmed that it was already covered in the policy.


In relation to the idling policy, members asked whether it had been enforced before and what schemes were in place to encourage the use of low carbon / electric vehicles. The Licensing Specialist responded noting that the Council was seeking out government incentives for licensing drivers wanting to introduce electric vehicles to their fleet. She added that she was not aware of any enforcement action during her time at the Council.


In response to a question on what was being done looking forward, the Director of Customer and Commercial Services responded noting that more modern vehicles had in built  technology that assisted in reducing emissions that older vehicles did not. He also added that communication with various groups around the consequences of idling had been broadly successful and that it was positive that the Council had not had the need to prosecute in any cases.


Responding to members comments on the connection between parking officers and emission incident reporting, the Director of Customer and Commercial Services informed members that on-street parking and waiting restrictions were currently monitored and enforced by Cumbria County Council (CCC). However, he added that the Council and CCC would come together under Westmorland and Furness Council where the importance of preventing idling could be further stressed.




(1)   The contents of the report be noted; and

(2)   The Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2022 be endorsed.


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.


The Chair noted that in the absence of Cllr Wilson an update was not available. She noted that an update could be sought from Cllr Wilson if required on his return.


RESOLVED - That the update be noted.