Agenda and draft minutes

Westmorland and Furness Joint Committee - Tuesday, 10 May 2022 10.00 a.m.

Venue: District Council Chamber, South Lakeland House, Kendal

Contact: Inge Booth & Adam Moffatt 

Items
No. Item

W&F/25

Apologies

To receive apologies for absence, if any.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Les Hall (Barrow Borough Council) and Debra Wicks (Eden District Council).

W&F/26

Minutes DOTX 36 KB

To authorise the Chairman to sign, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Committee held on 11 April 2022.

Minutes:

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 11 April 2022.

W&F/27

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.

Minutes:

The Technical Lead Legal and Democratic Work Stream and Monitoring Officer (South Lakeland District Council) noted that following the election of Members to the Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority, a number of Joint Committee Members would have an other registerable interest recorded for transparency. The following Joint Committee Members had an other registerable interest recorded and would reserve their positions relating to all items on the agenda being considered by the Shadow Authority:-

 

Cllr Patricia Bell;

Cllr Derek Brook;

Cllr Jonathan Brook;

Cllr Anne Burns;

Cllr Les Hall;

Cllr Andrew Jarvis;

Cllr Mary Robinson;

Cllr Virginia Taylor;

Cllr Ann Thomson; and

Cllr Peter Thornton.

 

The Technical Lead Legal and Democratic Work Stream added that due to a conflict of interest, the Chief Executive (Barrow Borough Council), Technical Lead Legal and Democratic Work Stream and the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) (South Lakeland District Council) would leave the room before discussion on Agenda Item No. 7 (Interim Statutory Officer Recruitment) began.

W&F/28

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.

Minutes:

There were no excluded items on the Agenda.

W&F/29

Members' Allowances - Independent Remuneration Panel Recommendations pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To consider the report of the Independent Remuneration Panel for recommendation to the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Note - The following Joint Committee Members had an other registerable interest recorded and would reserve their positions relating to Agenda Item No. 5 (Members’ Allowances – Independent Remuneration Panel Recommendations):-

Cllr Patricia Bell;

Cllr Derek Brook;

Cllr Jonathan Brook;

Cllr Anne Burns;

Cllr Les Hall;

Cllr Andrew Jarvis;

Cllr Mary Robinson;

Cllr Virginia Taylor;

Cllr Ann Thomson; and

Cllr Peter Thornton.

 

The report from the Members’ Allowances Working Group, was produced by an experienced Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), representing all seven Cumbrian councils, which had held a scheduled series of meetings to consider a Member Allowance Scheme for the new Westmorland and Furness Council.

 

The IRP was confident that its approach of one Member Allowance Scheme was appropriate and a good starting position for both new Shadow Authorities of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness.  The IRP was also aware that the Shadow Authorities would be appointing their own IRPs to review the allowances for 2023-24 in readiness for the two new unitary councils at vesting day, 1 April 2023.  The IRP had decided and agreed that North Northamptonshire Council was of a comparable size in terms of Member ratio to constituents and their Member Allowance Scheme had, therefore, been used as a guide.  The Member Allowance Scheme at Appendix 1 to the report had also been proposed to the Cumberland Joint Committee.  At its meeting on 14 April 2022, the Cumberland Joint Committee had resolved to note the proposed scheme.

 

The Panel had considered the prospective work and duties of the Shadow Authority in the period to 31 March 2023, in particular the non-delivery of council services, the lack of case work and the limited number of committees and panels which would be formed which, in turn, would reduce the number of meetings to be attended by Members.  The IRP had also been cognisant of the fact that, during the “Shadow” year, the newly-elected Members of the Authority would still have County and District Councillors to respond to ward and constituent matters arising between 5 May 2022 and 31 March 2023.  It further reasoned that, during this time, the Members’ Basic and Special Responsibility Allowances should be paid at 50% of that which they would propose for the Westmorland and Furness Council post vesting day, at which point full responsibilities from sovereign councils would be transferred.

 

Members’ attention was drawn to the fact that it was very likely that the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness would establish its own IRP to work on a bespoke allowances scheme for post vesting day and it was, therefore suggested that the Shadow Authority be recommended to delegate to the Interim Monitoring Officer authority to undertake the preparation of a recruitment pack and advertisement for an Independent Remuneration Panel to consider allowances for the new Council from vesting day.  A report would then be brought to a future Shadow Authority meeting in order for appointments to be made to the Panel.

 

Members discussed the report in detail noting that the IRP  ...  view the full minutes text for item W&F/29

W&F/30

Implementation Plan pdf icon PDF 388 KB

To receive an update on the Implementation Plan, further to Minute No. W&F/10.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

At its meeting on 29 March 2022, the Joint Committee had received a report on the Implementation Plan and Programme Governance and had adopted the Plan pending the establishment of the two Shadow Authorities in May (Minute No.W&F/10 (2021/22) refers).  The Joint Committee had at that meeting indicated a wish for further clarification and information on a number of matters, including in relation to the responsibility and process for agreeing blueprints, the options for the Fire and Rescue Service, and spend in relation to the LGR Implementation Reserve.  Officers had since provided further information on these matters.  The LGR Programme Manager now presented an update.

 

Progress had continued to be made in delivering the LGR Programme and the Implementation Plan attached at Appendix 1 to the report had subsequently been updated to reflect the progress made and in light of comments made by the Joint Committees.  The report provided details on progress made on the Implementation Plan since it had last been considered by the Joint Committee.

 

In terms of the development of draft Blueprints, the advice was now that these would be an Executive function of the Shadow Authorities, and it was anticipated that, when established, Members of Shadow Authorities would want to have the benefit of and give early consideration to the work carried out to date.  Members would be able to discuss and steer this through a range of informal and more formal mechanisms to enable further development over the spring/summer and beyond as part of the Strategic Planning process.

 

For each Shadow Authority, the draft Blueprint would pull together at a high level, the work carried out on baselining and options appraisal to date, information relating to budget disaggregation/aggregation, provide a baseline statement as to what services, staff and budget each Authority was likely to have on Vesting Day.  In a number of service areas, transitional arrangements might be required/recommended pending any preferred option being deliverable.  The focus of draft Blueprints would be on making the transition to the new Authorities a safe, legal, and smooth one, whilst paving the way for further transformation, and longer-term options development/consideration should Authorities so wish.  The development of draft Blueprints was further described in the updated Implementation Plan attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Members sought confirmation that the task and finish groups and scrutiny would run independently of each other and queried how this would be resourced. The LGR Programme Manager confirmed that this was the case and added that the Leader and Executive Members would be considering the task and finish groups and that work had begun to assess the resource needs for the task and finish groups and supporting scrutiny.

 

A question was raised regarding how differences between the programme and Members’ ambitions would be resolved and how decisions would be made if the Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Councils had differing solutions. The LGR Programme Manager responded, that officers had given consideration to how Members would be supported in that process.  ...  view the full minutes text for item W&F/30

W&F/31

Interim Statutory Officer Recruitment pdf icon PDF 261 KB

To consider the outcome of the recruitment process for the selection of the posts of Interim Head of Paid Service, Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151 Officer) and Interim Monitoring Officer and to recommend the proposed appointments to the Shadow Authority.

Minutes:

Note – due to potential conflicts of interest, the Chief Executive and Senior Responsible Officer (Barrow Borough Council), Technical Lead Legal and Democratic Work Stream and Monitoring Officer (South Lakeland District Council) and Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer)(South Lakeland District Council) left the Chamber for the remainder of the meeting.

 

Further to Minutes Nos.W&F/13, W&F/15 and W&F/17 (2021/22), the LGR Technical Lead, OD&HR Work Stream reported that following the meeting, the Interim Statutory roles had been advertised, with expressions of interest invited from the agreed field of selection.  Three applications had been received for the Head of Paid Service role, two for the Monitoring Officer role and one for the Chief Finance Officer role.  Interviews had taken place between the 6 and 8 April.

 

The Panel had agreed that the following candidates should be recommended to the Joint Committee:-

 

           Interim Head of Paid Service – Sam Plum, Chief Executive Barrow Borough Council;

           Interim Monitoring Officer – Linda Fisher, South Lakeland District Council; and

           Interim Chief Finance Officer - Helen Smith, South Lakeland District Council.

 

The Chair of the Westmorland and Furness Joint Committee informed Members that due to the Cumberland Joint Committee considering the same item at the meeting scheduled for 12 May 2022, recommendations 2 and 3 to the report should be disregarded. The remaining recommendation was proposed and seconded and it was

 

RESOLVED – That the officers named below be recommended to the Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority for appointment:-

 

           Interim Head of Paid Service – Sam Plum, Chief Executive Barrow Borough Council;

           Interim Monitoring Officer – Linda Fisher, South Lakeland District Council; and

           Interim Chief Finance Officer - Helen Smith, South Lakeland District Council.

W&F/32

Announcement from the Joint Committee

Minutes:

Members expressed their thanks to officers at South Lakeland District Council for their time and hard work in facilitating the Westmorland and Furness Joint Committee meetings.