Agenda and draft minutes

Westmorland and Furness Joint Committee - Monday, 11 April 2022 10.00 a.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal

Contact: Inge Booth & Adam Moffatt 

No. Item



To receive apologies for absence, if any.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mary Robinson and Debra Wicks.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 348 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Committee held on 29 March 2022.

Additional documents:


With regard to Minute No.W&F/10 and an undertaking by the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services and Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Cumbria County Council to provide written clarification, a written statement on Fire Governance from John Beard, Chief Fire Officer, had been circulated to Members prior to the meeting.


In response to a query, the Technical Lead Legal and Democratic Work Stream and Monitoring Officer (South Lakeland District Council) informed Members that the Programme Director had at Minute No.W&F/10 undertaken to bring an update on issues around development of the Implementation Plan back to the May meeting of the Joint Committee.  She explained that the Monitoring Officers were currently working on the Forward Plan which would include clarity around governance and decision-making and that these details would be included within that report.


In response to a further request for information under Minute No./W&F/10, the Section 151 Officer and Programme Finance Lead (Cumbria County Council) indicated her intention to share with Members the monthly monitoring report on Local Government Reorganisation Programme expenditure this week.


RESOLVED – That the Chairman be authorised to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Westmorland and Furness Joint Committee held on 29 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.


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.


Members' Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To recommend a Members’ Code of Conduct for adoption by the Shadow Authority at its inaugural meeting.

Additional documents:


The Head of Legal and Governance – Monitoring Officer (Barrow Borough Council) presented a report informing Members that the Joint Committee was required to formulate proposals for the Code of Conduct to be adopted by the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness and to present those proposals to the first meeting of that Shadow Authority.  The report recommended an appropriate Code of Conduct; arrangements for dealing with Code of Conduct matters; and guidance, to fulfil this obligation.  The report further sought authority for the Monitoring Officer to start recruitment of the Independent Person(s).


Attention was drawn to the fact that the local authorities across Cumbria had adopted, subject to minor local variations, a consistent Code of Conduct, arrangements and guidance.  This Code had only recently been updated across the authorities (or was in the process of being updated) following the publication of a model template by the Local Government Association (LGA) which had been designed to incorporate the best practice recommendations made by the Committee on Standards in Public Life which had been published in 2019.


The recommended Code was based on the LGA Model Code of Conduct and collaborative work undertaken by the Cumbrian Monitoring Officers.


The Head of Legal and Governance – Monitoring Officer (Barrow Borough Council) referred to a number of minor grammatical errors within Appendix 2 to the report which would be corrected prior to presentation of the document to the Shadow Authority meeting.


It was queried as to whether there was to be any Member oversight of the recruitment process for the appointment of the Independent Person(s) and the Head of Legal and Governance – Monitoring Officer (Barrow Borough Council) explained that this would be a full Shadow Authority appointment, with the recruitment process being started by the Monitoring Officers, however, suggested that this matter could be taken back to the Constitution Group.


Officers were thanked for their work on the Code of Conduct.




(1)        the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness be recommended to adopt from the date of its first meeting the Code of Conduct, the Arrangements for Dealing with Standards Matters and the Code of Conduct Guidance and Register of Interests Form, as set out in the report; and


(2)        the Monitoring Officers be authorised to initiate a recruitment process to enable the Shadow Authority Westmorland and Furness to appoint an Independent Person(s) at the earliest opportunity.


Civic and Ceremonial pdf icon PDF 315 KB

To consider proposals for the smooth transition of all matters Civic and Ceremonial.


The Head of Legal and Governance – Monitoring Officer (Barrow Borough Council) presented a detailed report informing Members about the work currently being undertaken in respect of civic and ceremonial matters and updates on the timetable for the Consequential Order to implement the establishment of Charter Trustees to preserve the Civic and Ceremonial Rights of the existing councils.  She explained to Members that there were many matters relating to Civic and Ceremonial affairs arising from the closure of the sovereign councils, some of which were dealt with in the Structural Changes Order and others which would require further attention, including, in some cases, further legislative provision known as “mopping up” or Consequential Orders.  During the summer, civil servants would be working with officers to agree what should be in the Order.


Attention was drawn to paragraph 3.3.1 of the report and to the fact that there should only be one High Sherriff.  The Head of Legal and Governance – Monitoring Officer (Barrow Borough Council), in response to a query, explained that, details around Charter Trustees were currently being worked up, but that these would be representatives of the relevant areas.


RESOLVED – That the work being undertaken and timings provided by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in respect of the Consequential Order be noted.


Constitution and Schemes of Delegation pdf icon PDF 368 KB

To consider and recommend a Constitution and schemes of delegation to be adopted by the Shadow Authority at its inaugural meeting.

Additional documents:


The Technical Lead Legal and Democratic Work Stream and Monitoring Officer (South Lakeland District Council) presented a report recommending a Constitution for adoption by the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council at its first meeting on 17 May 2022.  The report drew attention to the fact that the Shadow Authority Constitution was a different document to the Unitary Council Constitution which would be required post vesting day, with the latter document having to cover all functions and services delivered by the new councils.  The Monitoring Officer Constitution Workstream had reviewed several examples of previous shadow authority constitutions with a view to identifying best practice.  The proposed Shadow Authority Constitution was attached as Appendix 1 to the report and was intended to be a living document and that could be easily amended to cater for and changes as the Shadow Authority became established.


The Executive was to be the Leader plus between two and nine appointed persons.  The Shadow Authority would have three committees and the Constitution provided that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would have twelve Members, whilst the Senior Appointments Committee and the Standards Committee would each have seven Members.  The Overview and Scrutiny Workstream preference was for one Scrutiny Panel which then utilised task and finish groups.  The Chair of the Shadow Authority included the remit of attending such civic events as were appropriate.  Any such events would continue to be organised by the relevant existing authorities.


If Members of the Shadow Authority wished their Constitution to have different provisions then the recommended course of actions was for them to approve the proposed Constitution and instruct officers to report to the next meeting of the Shadow Authority appropriate revisions to the said Constitution.


The views of the Joint Committee were sought, as well as delegated authority for the Monitoring Officers to make such further amendments to the document as may be felt to be beneficial, following consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair, any such changes to be reported to the May meeting of the Joint Committee.


In presenting the report, the Technical Lead Legal and Democratic Work Stream and Monitoring Officer (South Lakeland District Council) drew Members’ attention to the fact that this was not a static document and that it could be amended throughout the year.  She referred to Section 24 of the Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and said that a detailed report would be brought to the Shadow Authority Executive on how the consents would work and that it was likely that there would be a need for a delegation to Section151 Officers and Members about general consents so as not to stifle business as usual for sovereign councils.  She further informed Members that, since the draft had been sent out, additional information had been received about responsibility for Implementation Plan decision-making which would be the responsibility of the Shadow Authority Executive.  Article 15 would therefore be amended and this would be removed from the Budget and Policy Framework list.  In addition, feedback  ...  view the full minutes text for item W&F/24