To monitor progress against the measures of success as detailed within the current Council Plan and to consider any recommendations to be made to Cabinet.
The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder presented the fourth quarter Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report 2018/19 which set out the Council Plan Priorities and Measures of Success. The measures listed, details of which were set out within the report, were showing very good performance and demonstrated that South Lakeland was a very desirable place to live, work and explore.
The report also included the latest Strategic Risk Register. Out of a total number of 15 risks, six were currently above the Council’s tolerance but were, however, being managed effectively.
In presenting the report, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder thanked the Chairman and Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for their service during 2018/19, stressing the importance of the Committee’s input into the activities of the Council. He further wished to put on record thanks to the Chief Executive and officers for the achievements reached throughout the year, highlighting in particular work in relation to the provision of affordable housing, addressing Climate Change poverty, improvements to playgrounds, the provision of “Changing Places” toilets and promoting growth in the economy of South Lakeland.
Reference was made to and thanks expressed for the production and publication of a poster by the Council aiming to assist in the reduction of air pollution through turning off idling vehicle engines and it was suggested that more should be done to encourage people in this regard. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder reminded Members that suggestions from Members were welcomed. Members’ attention was also drawn to the fact that “Clean Air Day” was on 20 June 2019.
In response to a query regarding the area of economy and a request for details of where new jobs had been created, the Chief Executive explained that the Economic Development Team monitored job opportunities and tried to help businesses in order to support economic growth. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder undertook to arrange for Overview and Scrutiny Committee Members to be provided with written details.
Concern was raised with regard to housing and those businesses without staff accommodation experiencing staffing shortages due to a lack of accommodation within the area. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder explained that he was aware of the difficulties in the hospitality sector, however, drew attention to the implications caused by the current political uncertainties and the devaluation of sterling which were not helping. Also, of particular concern were the difficulties faced by young people wishing to embark on self-build but unable to obtain mortgages due to restrictions relating to defined parts of national parks. The Deputy Leader and Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder informed Members that he had met with mortgage providers in this regard and undertook to arrange further meetings in order to establish what the barriers were.
The need was raised for additional employment sites within the area, particularly around Junction 36. The Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder explained that the Council was currently looking at the next Local Plan and suggested that this issue could be addressed within this process. He added that representations would be welcomed.
The Chief Executive stressed that the new Council Plan approved in February 2019 was very much based around the provision of housing and job opportunities within South Lakeland both now and into the future, also highlighting the importance of the Council’s work with its Morecambe Bay partners.
In response to a query raised in relation to Risk No.15 on the Strategic Risk Register relating to the Customer Connect and the nature of work with Eden District Council that may potentially impact on the Programme, the Chief Executive explained that this risk related to partnership arrangements with Eden District Council and the potential for the two organisations to move forward in two different directions. The risk was, however, being managed through the Customer Connect Programme Board and the Chief Executive added that the Programme was currently on track to achieve its targets. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder added that the Customer Connect Project was complex in nature, however, was being well-managed and on track to deliver £1.5m per year. He thanked the Deputy Leader and Housing, People and Innovation Portfolio Holder and officers for their work on the project. The Chief Executive confirmed that arrangements were being made for an additional Member briefing session on the project.
Reference was made to Strategic Risk No.19 and an enquiry was made as to whether the Council encouraged its staff to take the flu vaccine as part of contingency plans for business continuity in the event of a flu pandemic. The Performance and Risk Officer explained that any new virus would be an unknown quantity, with effective anti-virals taking time to produce. He pointed out, however, that the NHS actively encouraged people to take up the regular flu vaccination. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder suggested that the matter be looked into and the Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder undertook to take this on board. The Director of Customer and Commercial Services drew attention to the fact that the Authority had recently been awarded bronze for “Better Health at Work” and informed the Committee that flu vaccination had been a topic discussed within the Health and Safety Forum. He reported that there were plans to move forward to support and encourage officers throughout the Authority to take up the flu vaccine.
A query was raised regarding business start-ups and as to how many were still functioning after a twelve-month period. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder understood that there was a high level of survival and the Chief Executive, informing Members that the figures were available, undertook to provide a written response.
RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-
(1) the Summary of Performance as detailed within the report; and
(2) the detailed risks information contained within Appendix 1 to the report.