Copies of the tourism data which had been missing from page 145 of Appendix 2 to the report had been circulated to Members and published on the Council’s Website on 2 November 2020.
The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder presented an update report on progress with the current Council Plan for Quarter 2 of 2020/21. Monitoring the success of the Council Plan demonstrated improvements and ensured that Council services addressed the needs of residents in an open and transparent way. The Council was committed to delivering high quality, cost-effective services that met the needs of residents and improved quality of life. The performance management process helped the Council to demonstrate how well it was doing.
The measures listed within the report showed very good performance, demonstrating that South Lakeland was a very desirable place to live, work and explore. However, in line with the national trend and the influence of Covid-19, the number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation was increasing.
The report also included the Council’s Strategic Risk Register at Appendix 1. Following a review of the Strategic Risks for Quarter 4 2019/20, it could be seen that 65% of risks were now above tolerance. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder expressed strong concern at this significant change which was due to the pressures brought about by Covid-19 which had completely changed the outlook for the Council and its residents and, in particular, the most vulnerable. He pointed out that the report demonstrated that these were difficult times for the Council and its residents. This was not likely to change soon and, until a vaccine for Covid-19 arrived, there would be risks to address and manage.
The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder drew attention to a new and dedicated Appendix 2 which had been produced in light of the current situation regarding Covid-19 and which provided sight of business and economic health for the District.
The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder referred to Risk 6 – Medium Term Financial Planning – delivery of a balanced budget. He drew attention to the latest round of Government funding to councils for Covid-19 which, he said, was highly disadvantageous to South Lakeland. This funding for Covid-19 was based on the levels of deprivation in a district in 2019 and, as a consequence, he said, took no recognition of the specific pressures faced by South Lakeland. The district had experienced above average cases and deaths within the vulnerable and older population, there had been a huge impact on the hospitality business, the area had had amongst the highest rates of furlough in the country and had been hit hard in terms of poverty, with massive increases in Universal Credit. He hoped that Members would continue to campaign to urge Government to recognise South Lakeland’s specific needs in relation to Covid-19 and to work to try to get proper support from Government without which there was a major financial risk both this year and in the long term. The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder referred to a gloomy set of figures and stressed the need not to underestimate the challenges faced by residents and businesses, the most significant fact being that there were circa 46,000 residents who had been put into furlough. This was the highest figure in the UK which reflected the importance of the visitor economy, which had been so badly impacted, to the district. He praised officers’ performance which was demonstrated within the statistics in the report and referred to the positive figures provided around work on business grants, small business relief, discretionary business grants and assistance for the self-employed. He thanked officers for their work, however, recognising the seriousness of the situation and the impact on the economy of South Lakeland.
The Leader asked the meeting if the motion was agreed. There was no dissent.
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; and
(3) the detailed Business and Economy Statistics within Appendix 2 to the report.
Reasons for Decision
The report is directly linked to the Council Plan commitment to ensure that the Council is equipped to provide the best, most cost effective services. Details regarding performance monitoring are published in line with the Council’s latest Performance Management Framework.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
None – the purpose of the report is to receive a performance update. The Council must note successes, monitor progress and take action where appropriate.