Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 4 November 2022 10.30 a.m.

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

Contact: Committee Services 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 26 August 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 26 August 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.


Love Windermere Partnership - Windermere Lake

To receive a verbal update from a representative from the Love Windermere Partnership.


Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of the Love Windermere Partnership Board (the Partnership) and Environment, Planning and Engagement Officer of the Environment Agency (EA), attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the ecological background of Windermere Lake and the work of the Partnership.


He began by highlighting the importance of protecting and maintaining the Lake, suggesting that around £750m in economy was tied to the catchment. He continued noting that key points of concern were around sewage and nutrient enrichment, and that pressures had increased over the last 100 years as a result of increased human activity.


He noted that pressures faced were a mix of past and present issues, which were all being looked at as part of a long term process. He then paused for any questions.


In relation to a slide regarding the 2019 Water Framework Directive Assessment, Members asked for an explanation of the performance scale and what factors were responsible for ecological and chemical improvements. Mr Ratcliffe explained that the scale ranged from ‘Bad’ (red) to ‘High’ (blue) and that in the case of Elterwater treated effluent had been redirected to another channel, hence the improvement.


Mr Ratcliffe continued his presentation, covering the various sources of Phosphorus, including; waste water treatment, non mains sewage, land management (farming), boats, lakebed sediment and highways run-off. He noted that around 40% of Phosphorus came from United Utilities and the other 60% was a mix of other sources on the catchment, he then add that current figures were rough but work was ongoing to re-assess.


In response to a question on highways run-off, Mr Ratcliffe noted that it didn’t usually fit within the Environment Agency’s remit but rather the Highways Agency, however he added that they were always looking to have a more joined up approach across agencies.


Speaking about the Partnership, Mr Ratcliffe noted that it was led by the EA and included a number of organisations including the Council. It was an aggregation of all bodies involved in managing the catchment area. He added that the EA would not be able to make all the necessary improvements, so partnership working was essential. He continued, informing Members that the Partnership was still in its infancy and that there was lots still to be done, further adding that funding was a key risk to the future of the Partnership.


Mr Ratcliffe concluded by noting that he hoped that Westmorland and Furness Council would look to support and fund some aspects of the Partnership’s work in future.


Members highlighted the importance of managing sewage, and noted that it was a priority. Mr Ratcliffe agreed that sewage was a priority, and noted that there were two parts of United Utilities, one that looked at treatment and discharge of waste water and another that looked at storm related discharge. He continued by informing Members that the Government had released an action plan for storm discharges, which looked at reductions by 2050 or by 2035 for higher profile cases.


In response to further questions  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/31


Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 2 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 433 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, highlighting the summary of performance within the covering report. He noted the increased cost of living was affecting both people and local businesses and drew Members attention to the mitigation measures that the Council had put in place. He also noted that a new strategic risk had been added in relation to the Cost of Living.


He continued by highlighting the excellent performance of service, noting to Members that many were achieving higher than the national averages.


In relation to comments raised during the Q1 update, he noted that the request for target lines on graphs was being worked on for the Q3 report and figures on the uptake of the Cold to Cosy scheme were currently being pulled together.


Members queried the target of 2037 for a carbon neutral South Lakeland, asking whether this would be possible. The Climate Change and Biodiversity Specialist confirmed that the 2037 target was agreed back in 2019, and that the same target had been agreed for Westmorland and Furness Council. He noted that it was a much firmer target than the 2050 target set by Government, and added that industry was also moving towards the 2037 target.


In relation to figures and targets for Affordable Homes, Members expressed concern as to whether the necessary infrastructure was or would be in place to support the amount of new homes. The Case Management Officer noted that a Planning Specialist would be needed to answer the question. It was agreed by the Committee for the question to be put forward to Cabinet.




(1)     The Summary of Performance, detailed risks information and detailed performance statistics within the report and Appendices be noted: and

(2)     That the comments and concerns around supporting infrastructure for new housing are passed onto Cabinet.


Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder Report pdf icon PDF 159 KB

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


The Finance Lead Specialist presented the report, relaying apologies from the Finance and Assets Portfolio Holder.


She began by informing Members that an update on the 2020/21 accounts was expected from the external auditors at the next Audit Committee on 10th November 2022.


She explained that a quarter 2 budget monitoring report was being worked on but unfortunately was not ready in time for the committee, she then offered a virtual briefing for Members if they wished. Members expressed an interest in a virtual briefing.


The Finance Lead Specialist noted that things were relatively quiet on the Treasury Management front, but highlighted the rise in interest rates.


She briefly mentioned that the Deputy Section 151 Officer would be leaving the Council at the end of the year.


In relation to Procurement, she informed Members that this was being undertaken where necessary, with Grange Lido and Bring Sites being current key projects.


In relation to Benefits Administration, she highlighted a decreasing case load attributed to the introduction of Universal Credit for new claimants.


She continued noting that Business Rates collection had increased from the previous year, and that there had been significant jump in the number of businesses expected to pay full rates.


In relation to the Council Tax Energy Rebate Scheme, the Finance Lead Specialist confirmed that nearly 34,000 payments had been made totalling £5m and in relation to the Discretionary Energy Rebate Scheme she added that the application window had now closed, nearly £20k in payments had been made with the remaining funds to be distributed by 30th November 2022. She also confirmed that the COVID-19 additional relief scheme had completed, with over £700k awarded to eligible businesses.


She concluded by directing Members to the Assets section at the end of the report which listed current and recently completed works.


In relation to the Assets section of the report, Members queried whether a map was available to show the suggested new pathways around Kendal. The Director of Customer and Commercial Services confirmed that there was a typographical error within the report and it should instead have stated new pathways around Kendal Castle.


Members also enquired whether an agreement had been reached with Westmorland and Furness Council regarding ring-fencing of money for particular projects. The Finance Lead Specialist responded noting that no agreement had been reached, and that money would not be ring-fenced unless there was a legal mechanism in place, for example an agreement or terms and conditions tied to the funding. Members suggested that certain budgets should be ring-fenced, for example the poverty alleviation budget. The Finance Lead Specialist responded noting that for some budgets requests were in place to spend the remaining money by year end.


RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.


Customer and Locality Services Portfolio Holder Report pdf icon PDF 308 KB

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


The Customer and Locality Services Portfolio Holder presented the report, thanking officers who contributed updates for their particular service area.


He began by highlighting the continued success of Customer Connect, noting that it was an evolving project and that implementation was still on-going.


He then provided updates for various service areas including; Locality Services, Waste and Recycling, Car Parking, Emergency Planning, Legal Services and Human Resources.


In relation to Human Resources, Members queried which services areas were facing difficulty with recruiting. The Portfolio Holder noted that Planning and Legal Services were hardest to recruit for. The Director of Customer and Commercial Services added that the problems had been on-going for a number of years and reflected a national issue.


Members continued, asking whether levels of staff leaving were unusually high. The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources noted that he would need to review the relevant data before providing a response, however he added that the departure of more senior staff often portrayed the situation to be worse than the reality.


Members expressed a continued concern with the performance of Planning Services, noting that they were constantly contacted by disgruntled people with complaints about the service and the lack of communication. Members also queried how existing Planning cases would be handled as part of the transition to Westmorland and Furness Council.


The Portfolio Holder responded informing Members that he would be meeting with Human Resources regarding Planning Services soon and would be happy to feedback to the Committee. The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources added that the topic had been discussed at the Council meeting on Tuesday 1st November, and a response to that discussion was to be circulated to all Members within 7 days.


In responding to a question on why parking income had decreased, the Portfolio Holder noted that investigations were on-going and he would be happy to report back once concluded.


The Portfolio Holder also accepted comments raised regarding problems with customer service for various departments, as well as issues encountered with some Customer Connect Services. He confirmed that he would relay the feedback to officers.


RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.


Climate Action and Biodiversity Portfolio Holder Report pdf icon PDF 288 KB

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


The Climate Action and Biodiversity Portfolio Holder presented the report, informing Members that an update was also provided at the Council meeting on Tuesday 1st November. She thanked the Climate Change and Biodiversity Specialist for writing the report.


She highlighted the issue of Ash Dieback which was currently an issue across the County.


She concluded by inviting Members to read through the report to get an insight into the large volume of work going on across the district.


Members praised the work of Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), but expressed a desire for their work to stretch more into the Furness region. The Portfolio Holder echoed the praise, informing Members that the CAfS Cold to Cosy scheme had recently won a community fund award. However, she noted the comments around the availability of the schemes and informed Members that the rurality of the area was an issue for delivering such schemes, often increasing the delivery costs. She concluded by noting that the schemes were also very dependent on Government funding.


Members queried why the Council’s bid for the Low Carbon Skills Fund had been unsuccessful. The Climate Change and Biodiversity Specialist noted that the fund was very oversubscribed, in demand and operated on a first come first served and value for money basis. Despite submitting the bid very shortly after it opened the Council was still unsuccessful, however he added that he would expect it to be looked at again next year.


RESOLVED – That the contents of the report be noted.


Poverty Alleviation and Financial Resilience Update pdf icon PDF 425 KB

To receive an update on Poverty Alleviation and Financial Resilience from the Health, Wellbeing and Poverty Alleviation Portfolio Holder (to follow).


The Strategy Specialist presented the report, firstly reminding Members of the ‘triple-impact’ faced by households in the district, these being increased taxes, interest rates and inflation. He added that lower income households were the most affected.


He linked the update and the work around the topic to the Council Plan priority for a “Fairer South Lakeland”.


He confirmed that a Poverty Alleviation Fund was being led by Cllr Pye, and had already supported a number of projects including the Warm Space project in Staveley, support for Ukrainian refugees in Arnside, Kendal and Sedbergh, support for carers under 18 and Women’s Community Matters.


In addition, he noted that the Council had established an Emergency Fund for partner agencies to help those with an immediate and severe need for assistance. Age UK and Inspira had already been granted funds to support their clients.


The Strategy Specialist highlighted the importance of charities and 3rd sector groups working on the ground and confirmed that Citizen’s Advice, Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service, and Action with Communities had been granted funding for two years to help them deliver targeted services for those tackling poverty.


He continued, informing Members that officers were in the process of implementing the Sustainable Warmth Scheme across the district. He noted that grants of up to £25,000 were available for a range of energy efficiency improvements.


He noted that the Council had been a driving force in establishing and funding the Poverty Truth Commission which was now being led by Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service. He added that the Commission was currently recruiting for local community commissioners and aimed to deliver local solutions to local issues around poverty.


He informed Members that the South Lakeland Building Financial Resilience Partnership, a group of 20+ organisations setup and coordinated by the Council, had met on Wednesday to discuss various issues. The key points were listed in the report.


In relation to food, the Strategy Specialist was pleased to confirm that 24 groups across the district were offering support with food, in the form of clubs, community cupboards, fridges and pantries. And in relation to warmth, he noted that a website was being developed to list warm spots across the district.


He concluded by noting that both the Health, Wellbeing and Poverty Allevation Portfolio Holder and officers were continuing to explore options and monitor the situation. He added that South Lakeland News included a wealth of information and that the Customer Services team were equipped to provide information on offers and advice available.


Members highlighted a report from a County Council Task and Finish group regarding implementation of up to £4.5m in funding up to the end of March 2022. Members also mentioned that a number of food schemes appeared to be operating across various supermarkets.


In relation to South Lakeland News, some Members noted that they did not receive a copy and asked whether the inconsistency could be looked into. Members also queried whether the newsletter included information specific to certain communities. The Strategy  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S/36


Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee Update

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


Cllr Wilson referred to a note he had handed to the Chair earlier in the meeting.


It was noted that the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee met on the 3rd October 2022 and received updates on the Lancashire and South Cumbria Pathology Service, and on the North Cumbria Integrated Care Digital Strategy. The Committee also provided feedback on shortlisted proposals for the Lancashire and South Cumbria New Hospitals Programme.


It was also noted that the Cumbria and Lancashire Joint Health Scrutiny Committee also met on 27th September 2022, and considered a progress report on the improvement plans of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.


Cllr Wilson directed Members to the minutes available on the Cumbria County Council website, and encouraged Members to stay up to date.


RESOLVED – That the verbal update be noted.


Work Programme 2022/23 and Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 122 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 briefly presented the report, highlighting that an additional meeting had been added for 3rd February 2023 with a few agenda items already listed. He noted Members concerns around Planning services and overall service transition and confirmed that an update would be looked at.


The Chair asked whether another update could be provided on Poverty Alleviation, including confirmation that communications had commenced with the Westmorland and Furness Council Portfolio Holder. Members added to the request, asking for an invitation to be extended to the Portfolio Holder to attend the February meeting.


Members also requested an update on Financial Reserves and ring-fenced funding, noting a need to be aware of what was being ring-fenced as part of the transition to Westmorland and Furness Council.


The Chair reminded Members of the offer from Mr Ratcliffe regarding Windermere Lake, and asked for the invitation to be extended to Members of the Lake Administration Committee.




(1)     The updated 2022/23 Work Programme be agreed, subject to points 3, 4 and 5 below;

(2)     The Forward Plan published 10 October 2022 be received;

(3)     An item regarding Planning Services and the transition to Westmorland and Furness Council be added to the February agenda;

(4)     An item regarding Poverty Alleviation be added to the February agenda; and

(5)     An item regarding Financial Reserves and ring-fenced funding be added to the February agenda.