Decisions

Use the below search options at the bottom of the page to find information regarding recent decisions that have been taken by the council’s decision making bodies.

Only decisions taken after 5th March 2012 will be included in this search

Alternatively you can visit the officer decisions page for information on officer delegated decisions that have been taken by council officers.

Decisions published

20/05/2020 - Leisure Partnering Agreement ref: 4306    For Determination

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 20/05/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/05/2020

Effective from: 02/06/2020

Wards affected: (All Wards);


20/05/2020 - 2019/20 Final Accounts - Carry Forwards and Re-Profiling Requests ref: 4309    For Determination

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 20/05/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/05/2020

Effective from: 02/06/2020

Decision:

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented a report detailing revenue carry forward requests totalling £0.6m into 2020/21.  These were made up of a number of requests as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report and, as some of them were above £100,000, they would need to be approved by Council on 30 June 2020 as part of the outturn report.  The largest areas related to:-

 

           £293,000 on the Customer Connect Programme

           £81,000 on Economic Development projects; and

           £85,000 on feasibility and design work on Ulverston Leisure Centre.

 

The approval of the carry forwards would enable the work that had been planned in 2019/20 to be delivered in 2020/21.  Carry forward amounts had been reviewed against the draft service expenditure to ensure that at corporate, directorate and service levels there was sufficient budget to support the requests.  This position could change as the Statement of Accounts and year end position were finalised.  Any corrections required would be reported back to Cabinet and Council within the outturn report in June 2020.

 

Although the carry forward of budgets was an important flexibility within the financial procedure rules, the services identified needed to be delivered as part of meeting the Council Plan.  To support this, spend of the carry forward amounts would be reported on as part of the quarterly budget monitoring, throughout 2020/21.

 

The underlying reasons for carrying budget forward would be reviewed with managers.  Where improvements could be made to the method of profiling budgets, these would be fed in to the 202/22 budget process.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder turned to re-profiling of the Capital Programme, advising that variations on spending on the Capital Programme usually reflected changes in the progress of individual schemes.  As these schemes spanned a number of years, any variation needed to be reflected in an update to the profiled spending in the Capital Programme.

 

Appendix 2 to the report showed those Capital Schemes in the 2019/20 Capital Programme where expenditure varied to the approved Capital Programme.  To enable these schemes to continue and be completed, it was necessary to vary the Capital Programme in 2020/21 to reflect the variations in phasing of expenditure.  The total for re-profiling was £3.2m.  The Cabinet had delegated powers to approve these changes in accordance with Para 8.2 of the Financial Procedure Rules.

 

Although some of the underspend related to third parties, it was pointed out that there was still a significant amount directly in the control of the Council.  Processes would continue to be reviewed to minimise any future yearly underspends.

 

Thanks were expressed to officers and to the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder for their work and for the informative report.

 

A vote was taken on the proposals during which all Cabinet Members confirmed that they had, without interruption, heard the full presentation and discussion on the item.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        Council be recommended to approve the revenue carry forwards as set out at Appendix 1 to the report; and

 

(2)        the re-profiling of expenditure and associated budgets for the capital schemes from 2019/20 into 2020/21 as set out at Appendix 2 to the report be approved.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

Approval of the carry forwards and re-profiling will allow the services identified within the appendices to the report to be delivered.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

There are no alternative options presented.  Members could decide to not approve some or all of the proposed carry forwards or re-profiling.  This would result in the specific scheme not being delivered but would, on the other hand, increase unallocated reserve balances that could be used for other purposes.

Wards affected: (All Wards);


20/05/2020 - Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report Quarter 4 2019/20 ref: 4310    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 20/05/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/05/2020

Effective from: 02/06/2020

Decision:

Summary

 

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder presented the fourth quarter Council Plan Performance Monitoring Report 2019/20 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.  However, in line with the national trend and the influence of Covid-10, the number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation was increasing.  South Lakeland District Council’s vision and strategy was to improve prosperity, ensuring a positive benefit for the community.  Detailed information for each measure was provided within the report.

 

The Leader felt that the report demonstrated a successful trajectory overall, and thanked both councillors and officers for their work in the delivery of the Council Plan.  He, however, raised the need to re-boost the measures, drawing attention to those areas which were not moving in the right direction, for example food banks, alcohol addiction and homelessness.

 

The report also included the latest Strategic Risk Register.  Out of a total number of 17 risks, two of which were new, 11 were currently above the Council’s tolerance but were, however, being managed effectively.  The Leader stressed the fact that some of the risks had increased significantly as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.  He suggested that the risks should be the subject of a discussion involving all Members of the Council, open for the public to hear, so that all could be aware of what the Council was facing.  He informed Members that he would, therefore, bring this matter up with Group Leaders later in the afternoon.

 

The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder took the opportunity to refer to the summary of performance on homelessness and the detrimental impact of COVID-19 on this target.  He wished to point out that, although the numbers were in excess of the target, officers were doing an excellent job in ensuring that those who were homeless in the current conditions were receiving support and also that the Council had additional capacity to deliver on this target in the short term.

 

Members supported the need for a discussion by all councillors on risks.  A suggestion was raised for the need to highlight the successes in relation to housing, for example the number of empty homes brought back into use.  Further raised was the need now to publish details in relation to the Local Development Plan.  The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder pointed out that people’s attention had been elsewhere, however, agreed to take the suggestions on board; ensuring the future for delivery of housing was crucial.  The Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder responded to a request for information on food banks, saying that there had been an increase in demand, over and above the norm, but that the food banks were coping, with plenty of volunteers and donations from the public who had responded wonderfully.  The Leader added that South Lakeland District Council would ensure that nobody went hungry, pointing out that the Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder was in constant contact with the relevant organisations.

 

A vote was taken on the proposals during which all Cabinet Members confirmed that they had, without interruption, heard the full presentation and discussion on the item.

 

Decision

 

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.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The report links directly 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 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.

Wards affected: (All Wards);


20/05/2020 - Interim Council Tax Discretionary Relief Policy and Temporary Council Tax: Covid-19 Hardship Fund 2020/21 ref: 4308    For Determination

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 20/05/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/05/2020

Effective from: 20/05/2020

Decision:

Summary

 

The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) explained the reasons for the matter being treated as a general exception exempt from call-in.

 

The proposal met the definition of a key decision in the Council’s Constitution as it affected two or more wards and would potentially incur expenditure above £100,000.  Due to the matter having just arisen, it had not been possible for the proposal to be included in a Forward Plan at least 28 clear days before the decision was to be made.  In accordance with paragraph 15 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules in Part 4 of the Constitution, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s had been informed that the taking of the decision was urgent and could not reasonably be deferred because of the need for a policy to follow the latest Government advice and some specific requests from residents as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which required addressing.

 

In addition, the Constitution stated that the call-in procedure should not apply where a decision being taken by the Cabinet was urgent and any delay likely to be caused by the call-in process would, for example, seriously prejudice the Council’s or the public’s interests.  In accordance with paragraph 16(j) of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules within Part 4 of the Constitution, the Chairman of the Council had been consulted and had agreed that the decision proposed was reasonable in all the circumstances and for it to be treated as a matter of urgency and that the call-in process should be waived.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the report.  As part of the measures of assistance in relation to Covid-19, the Government had announced additional support to all those in receipt of Council Tax support.  In order to speed up the changes to Council Tax bills, the Government would provide s.31 grant to be distributed through Council’s existing hardship funds.  As in a number of other districts, South Lakeland District Council did not have an existing hardship policy so, in order to apply the additional discount, there was a need to agree a new policy.

 

South Lakeland District Council’s share of the Council Tax hardship fund was £487,092 based on 2,255 working age caseloads at Quarter 3 2019/20.  The Government expected that the majority of this fund would be used to provide Council Tax relief alongside existing local Council Tax support schemes.  In addition, it was expected that the Council might also want to use some of this funding to deliver increased financial assistance having considered local circumstances.

 

The Government’s strong expectation was that billing authorities would provide all recipients of working age local Council Tax support (LCTS) during the financial year 2020/21 with a further reduction in their annual Council Tax bill of at least £150, using their discretionary powers to reduce the liability of Council Tax payers outside of their formal LCTS scheme design.  South Lakeland District Council’s Emergency Non-Executive Decision 007 Council Tax Covid-19 Hardship Fund had approved payments of up to £300 to recipients of the Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme, as set out in Appendix 2 to the report.  Software had now been received to enable the Council to award this funding and to issue revised bills with the reduction applied.

 

Having allocated grant to reduce the Council Tax bill of working age LCTS recipients, billing authorities were being requested to establish their own local approach to using any remaining grant to assist those in need.  Billing authorities were expected to want to revisit their broader approach at intervals during the financial year, in order to ensure expenditure for 2020/21 remained within their allocation.  The Government stated that, in determining any broader approach to delivering support, local authorities were best placed to reflect on the financial needs of their most vulnerable residents.  In doing so, they might wish to consider using their remaining grant allocation as part of wider local support mechanisms.  These might include, but were not restricted to

 

(a)        Council Tax relief using existing discretionary discount/hardship policies (adapted where necessary in order to capture those most likely to be affected by Covid-19);

(b)        additional support outside the Council Tax system through Local Welfare or similar schemes;

(c)        a higher level of Council Tax reduction for those working age LCTS recipients whose annual liability exceeded £150.

 

Local authorities were expected to use their discretionary powers under s.13A(1)(c) Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

 

South Lakeland District Council’s existing discretionary Council Tax Policy, the South Lakeland District Council Tax Reduction Scheme Exceptional Hardship Policy had been approved in November 2015 and was now out of date.  A replacement Interim Discretionary Council Tax Relief Policy was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  This discretionary policy reflected those either approved or being considered elsewhere in Cumbria and gave delegation to officers to award support.

 

This policy supported, but was not part of, the Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme which formed part of the Council’s Budget and Policy Framework and was subject to public consultation and consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  Due to the urgent need to give support as soon as possible, it was not practical to carry out the usual consultation period of “ideally be not less than eight weeks but no longer than 12 weeks.”  It was considered there were good reasons to implement the interim policy and to carry out a consultation process for four weeks and to report all feedback to the next scheduled Cabinet meeting and Council meeting on 30 June 2020.  At that meeting, the Council would be asked to approve the final policy.  A report would be prepared for Council to consider on 30 June 2020 which would summarise all comments made by consultees and recommend approval of a final policy which reflected any comments received.

 

Having reviewed the current Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) caseload within South Lakeland, there were 2,410 claims, of which 1,976 received the full 100% support.  In total, the current scheme reduced the Council Tax payable by these 2,410 claimants by £2.745m from £3.013m to £0.267m for 2020/21.  Modelling suggested that the approved payments of up to £300 per claim would cost £113,000 based on current claims and would, therefore, be affordable.  However, it was unknown yet how many additional claims for CTRS would be received for 2020/21, all of whom would be eligible for the additional mandatory relief of up to £300.  Therefore, the amount of remaining funding to be allocated under the new discretionary policy would not be clear until March 2021.  It was not practical to withhold consideration and award of relief under the discretionary policy until March 2021, but officers would be mindful to awards made when considering applications.

 

Members welcomed the proposals, thanking officers and the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder for their work in this current, difficult situation and stressing the need to care for the most vulnerable residents in South Lakeland, also commending the Council’s own current local Council Tax Reduction Scheme.  Concern was raised with regard to the future and the potential increase in unemployment within the area given the impact of COVID-19 on the leisure industry.  Also raised was the importance of communication of the Policy and Fund.  The Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder undertook to take this matter on board and to provide an update at the next fortnightly councillor briefing session.

 

A vote was taken on the proposals during which all Cabinet Members confirmed that they had, without interruption, heard the full presentation and discussion on the item.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the Chief Executive be recommended to approve the draft interim policy attached at Appendix 1 to the report as an Emergency Non-Executive Decision;

 

(2)        officers be authorised to commence consultation on the Interim Policy under the Councils’ Budget and Policy framework for approval by Council on 30 June 2020;

 

(3)        the Councils Section 151 Officer be authorised, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources, to immediately process claims under the Interim Policy;

 

(4)        the Council’s Section 151 Officer be requested to explore the opportunity to consider a further welfare scheme in the event that there are monies available from the temporary Coivd-19 funding available; and

 

(5)        Appendix 2 to the report, which was introduced as a temporary scheme with the Government’s funding relating to the impact of Covid-19, be endorsed.

 

Reasons for Decisions

 

The decision assists in the delivery of the Council Plan as the scheme contributes towards working across boundaries to deliver sustainable communities, creating balanced communities and reducing inequalities so no one is left behind.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The scheme could be amended to increase, or reduce, discretion in making awards.  This would vary the assistance to be awarded.  The proposed scheme gives a balance between awarding additional relief and the cost of relief awarded.

Wards affected: (All Wards);


20/05/2020 - Finance Update - Impact of COVID-19 ref: 4307    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 20/05/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/05/2020

Effective from: 02/06/2020

Decision:

Note – Shadow Cabinet Member Councillor John Holmes declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in part of this item of business by virtue of the fact that he was one of South Lakeland District Council’s nominated Directors on the Board of South Lakes Housing.  He remained in the meeting during the introduction to the report and was then disconnected from the meeting whilst Cabinet firstly reached a decision on Recommendation No.(3) in relation to receiving of Right to Buy receipts.  Councillor Holmes was then re-connected to the meeting for the remainder of the item and the meeting.

 

Summary

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder presented the report, stating that, even before the announcement of lockdown on 23 March 2020, the Council had started incurring additional expenditure and seeing reductions in income.  The report presented the latest forecast of the impact of Covid-19 on the budget forecast for 2020/21 and other emerging pressures, such as the pay award or any potential reductions in approved expenditure through delays to projects and possible reduced activity.  The situation was summarised as at the start of May 2020, but it had to be noted that the situation was moving very quickly, with new Government announcements daily.  The report recognised the exceptional seriousness of the financial issues arising from the Covid19 and informed of the monitoring and management of the situation.

 

The Council’s finances remained strong in the short term.  The report attempted to take a prudent view of what the impact was likely to be, however, the full picture would only emerge in the next few months, and the position would change.  It was clear that, over the period of the current Medium Term Financial Strategy, the Council would need to take action to bring the longer term forecast back into line and South Lakeland retained the ability to manage its financial response in a controlled way over the medium term.

 

The first quarter monitoring report would be key in setting out a more complete picture of the impact of Covid-19 and, more importantly, a strategy for bringing the budget back in line over the medium term through the updated Medium Term Financial Plan.

 

The report provided details in relation to Covid-19 Expenditure, Income (excluding Council Tax and National Non-Domestic Rates), the Capital Programme, Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates, Government Funding, Reserves, Treasury Management, a summary of budget amendments required, 2019/20 Year-End, the longer-term outlook and next steps.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder drew particular attention to the Council’s statutory duty to deliver a balanced budget, including the use of reserves.  He referred to Section 3.7 of the report which highlighted that, due to the prudent way that the Council had managed its finances, the level of non-earmarked reserves was around £6.1m.  Consequently, the Council was currently in a position where it could bear the current impact of around £2m from the Covid crisis.  The Section 151 Officer had stated that it was unlikely that the Council would need to issue a Section 114 Notice based on the Council’s expenditure to date, the current rate of income loss, the level of reserves, and the Government funding to date.  This reassurance is very welcome.

 

However, the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder explained that this did not mean that the financial challenge for the Council from Covid-19 was over.  Firstly, the Council could not continue to lose income and incur additional costs at the rate of £500,000 to £600,000 per annum for a prolonged period without additional Government funding.  Secondly, although the currently had reserves, they were both limited and would need to be rebuilt in future years.  Thirdly, the current crisis had very significant implications for future years.  There would be a direct impact on next year’s budget from shortfalls in tax collection this year; the base for non-domestic rates was likely to be severely eroded; and the Council would face calls for greater expenditure to protect community organisations and to help rebuild the economy.  On top of that were the uncertainties on Government funding.  The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder indicated that he would cover these issues in the first version of the new Medium Term Financial Plan due to be presented to Cabinet in July 2020.

 

The Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder thanked officers involved in the work, and in particular the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) and her team, who were closely monitoring the unprecedented financial situation, whilst overseeing huge flows of cash in grants and changes to Non-Domestic Rates, all of this occurring at financial year-end.

 

Councillor John Holmes having at this stage been disconnected from the meeting as outlined above, Members considered Recommendation No.3 and endorsement of the decision to receive the Right to Buy receipts by 20 June 2020.  The Deputy Leader and Housing and Innovation Portfolio Holder pointed out that this was an example of the Council supporting its housing provider, South Lakes Housing, in its important work throughout the District.

 

A vote was taken with regard to the proposal outlined at Recommendation No.3 during which Cabinet Members, with the exception of the Customer and Commercial Services and People Portfolio, confirmed that they had, without interruption, heard the full presentation and discussion on the item.  The Customer and Commercial Services and People Portfolio was not able to be heard, however, the Leader wished to proceed on the basis that the meeting was still quorate.

 

Councillor John Holmes was re-connected to the meeting and confirmed that he was able to see (where practicable) and hear all Members participating in the meeting.

 

A number of questions were raised by Members.  In response, the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder indicated that, although there had been savings on meetings as a result of the COVID-19 situation, for example, through not having to provide refreshments or paying for room hire, this was not significant in the context of the overall loss being faced as a result of the crisis.  With regard to moving forward with the new Leisure Centre in Ulverston, he explained that work had had to be re-prioritised as a result of the current crisis.  There was, however, no intention to move away from this project.  The Chief Executive undertook for Members to be provided with a written response as regards costs in relation to the support of virtual meetings.

 

Members commended the work being carried out around the Council’s finances in these unprecedented times.

 

A vote was taken on the proposals at Recommendations Nos.1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 during which all Cabinet Members, including the Customer and Commercial Services and People Portfolio Holder whose audio problem had by this stage been resolved, confirmed that they had, without interruption, heard the full presentation and discussion on the item.

 

Decision

 

RESOLVED – That

 

(1)        the contents of this report be noted;

 

(2)        the Chief Executive be recommended to approve the budget amendments set out in section 3.9 of the report as an Emergency Non-Executive Decision;

 

(3)        the decision to receive the Right to Buy receipts by 30 June 2020 be endorsed;

 

(4)        the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) be delegated authority to approve variation of income payment terms and any associated contractual variations, in consultation with the Legal Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) and the Finance and Resources Portfolio Holder, outlined in Tables 1 and 2 of the report and any in the future where the request is both below and over the key decision threshold but within the approved budget for the contract;

 

(5)        the Finance Lead Specialist (Section 151 Officer) be delegated authority for the increasing of the expenditure budget for the recently announced discretionary grant scheme for small businesses by the amount of grant allocated and for which details are awaited; and

 

(6)        reserves be protected by not allowing carry forwards of underspend into this financial year except in exceptional circumstances.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The report sets out proposals that provide resources to implement the Council Plan alongside responding to the pandemic.  Budget monitoring forms part of the corporate governance arrangements that support all Council priorities.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The report presents proposals for a response to the potential budget pressures arising from the pandemic.  The proposals together meet the Council’s statutory duty to set a balanced budget for 2020/21 and to monitor the budget during the year. . An alternative option would be to reject some of the proposals; this would then require further work to ensure the budget can be balanced.

Wards affected: (All Wards);


20/05/2020 - COVID-19 Emergency Update ref: 4305    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Made at meeting: 20/05/2020 - Cabinet

Decision published: 22/05/2020

Effective from:

Decision:

The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder addressed Members with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.  He stressed the fact that this was a major crisis demanding a great deal of attention.  He thanked officers for their excellent response to the many new challenges, for example dealing with Government funding, housing the homeless and facilitating virtual meetings.  The Leader asked the Chief Executive to pass on gratitude to the Council’s employees.  He further extended thanks to councillors for their work, for example, within their communities and supporting the vulnerable.  In addition, he thanked the other group leaders for their collaboration, support and collegiality.  The Leader also wished, most importantly to express thanks to the National Health Service (NHS) and care workers for their fantastic work.

 

The Leader highlighted the Council’s role which was to support and implement Government policy, protecting the health of residents and visitors and offering assistance to businesses.  Collaboration was critical, and the Leader referred to the hard work being carried out together with authorities Cumbria-wide and beyond, district leaders, parishes and the third sector.  He drew particular attention to the Shielding Programme and expressed appreciation for the work being carried out in this regard by Cumbria County Council, the Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder and officers.  The Leader referred to businesses which were suffering and to the Government grant being administered by the Council, stressing the need for those who had not already applied to take up the opportunity.

 

The Leader referred to the Government’s request for town centres to re-open and to the work required before June in order to prepare public spaces to facilitate social distancing.  The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder would be leading on this project, as well as on an initiative to help local businesses rebound.

 

The Leader summarised, highlighting the vital role of local government and thanking his Cabinet colleagues for their critical role.  He pointed out that there was still a lot of work to be carried out and decisions to be taken.  This would not be easy but the Leader stressed that together, we would get through.

 

The Leader then invited the Chief Executive to provide an update on the use of Kendal Leisure Centre as a Temporary Recovery Centre.  The Chief Executive explained that the Centre had been identified as a recovery centre for the provision of additional medical capacity in response to the COVID-9 emergency, capable of accommodating between 60 and 70 patients.  At the request of the NHS and Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, the Leisure Centre continued at this time to be a recovery centre.  The Council was, however, in discussion with the NHS on the implications of the recent Government Announcement regarding steps of adjustments to current measures and the potential of re-opening leisure facilities from 4 July.

 

RESOLVED – That the verbal update be noted.