To monitor progress against the measures of success as detailed within the Council Plan
At the start of the meeting, Members had been provided with additional documents relating to outstanding data for this report.
The Leader of the Council introduced the Council Plan Performance Monitoring report for Quarter Three 2019/2020. He began by thanking the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Officers for their valuable work and moved on to state that the report was positive overall. The Leader referred to a number of areas that required further work including homelessness, drug use and helping the vulnerable in society.
The Leader commended the Council on the strong results in areas such as housing which were on track to deliver 500 affordable homes for rent since 2014, an increase in new business start-ups, new job creation in the District, bringing back into use more empty homes and the increase in median household salary. The Leader recognised that more work needed to be done on reducing the number of empty homes. The Leader also highlighted the reduction of grey bin waste and called for an increased focus on recycling and sorting waste. He highlighted that the report had shown an increasing number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation. Concluding his speech, Councillor Archibald emphasised the positives he had mentioned and thanked Officers and Portfolio Holders for their hard work.
Members were presented with the Council’s Strategic Risk Register which contained the current likelihood and impact scores for each risk. The Leader informed Members that the Council had been overly cautious with some of the risks on the Risk Register. He continued by emphasising that he was not concerned about the risks and level of risks, however, that they needed to be reviewed and monitored quarterly. The Leader highlighted that the risks assessing the impact of Welfare Reforms, the roll out of Universal Credit in the area, showed a direct correlation between rent arrears and the roll out. The Leader was particularly concerned with the mental stress the roll out had had on people and the increased use of food banks. Members were informed that the Council continued to monitor the risks on the Strategic Risk Register.
Members discussed the possibility of having recycling bins within communities and villages in the District. The Leader informed Members that this idea had been piloted in Kendal and Windermere and that there had been an issue with people not complying with the different categories of waste. The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources informed Members that the query on the provision of On Street recycling bins would be referred to Officers and that Members would be updated of the outcome of that pilot scheme.
Members enquired about the possibility of working with partner organisations to reduce the level of obesity in children in the District, particularly in Ulverston. It was said that the recent Health and Wellbeing workshop attended by Members had highlighted that there had been an increase in obesity amongst children aged ten. Members were keen to work with families for children to be provided with a balanced diet and to encourage activities. The Leader agreed that more work was needed on the issue of obesity and poverty across the district. The Leader informed Members that it was a national disgrace that things were not moving forward on poverty and encouraged Members to continue to work with the Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder who had various initiatives on tackling issues like this. The Leader informed Members that the Council had worked with its partners on self-harming and addiction and welcomed suggestions on addressing this matter of obesity.
Members requested clarification on what was required for food waste recycling processing and what work had been done by the Council to avoid transporting waste which could be composted locally as it could be more environmentally beneficial. Members requested clarification on what happened after the green waste was taken from the Council’s site. The Leader explained to Members that the Council considered the cost of transporting waste from locations as not being viable and work had been done to review the process before the Government suggested that they would have a guidance on the subject. The Council’s process was therefore placed on hold to avoid duplicity. The Director of Strategy, Innovation and Resources informed Members that a briefing would be provided to Members to give insight into what happens after the green waste was processed by the contractors who received the Council’s green waste collections.
Members expressed their wish to see more robust compliance with Council’s Local Plan to ensure the requisite percentage of Affordable Housing on new developments was maintained. The Leader expressed that he was of the same opinion and would like to avoid differing from the Council Plan. He advised that this matter had been raised with the District Council Network Board (DCN). Members were informed that this was a problem being encountered nationally when considering viability of developments, profit margins and costs of development. Members sought an update from the Leader on the outcome of his lobbying with the DCN. The Leader and the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) referred Members to the previously circulated letter from the Leader to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Members raised concerns on the lack of support for the local community care system and that more had not been done to increase the numbers of available NHS dentist in the District. Presently, there were only two NHS dentists who had over 6,400 patients on their lists. Members were reassured that the Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group and University Hospital of Morecambe NHS Trust had been invited to this meeting and a further invite would be sent out for their attendance at the next meeting. Members were informed by Councillor Mark Wilson, who sat on the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee as a County Councillor that he would ensure that this issue was picked up at the next Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee meeting.
RESOLVED – That the following be noted:-
1) the Summary of Performance as detailed in the report; and
2) the detailed risks information contained within Appendix 1 to the report.