Agenda and minutes
Venue: This meeting will be a virtual meeting and therefore will not take place in a physical location
Contact: Rose Blaney Tel: 07385362773
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) member Councillor James Date, as well as Councillors Fred Gleaves and Douglas Wilson.
Declarations of Interests in Agenda Items:
To receive declarations by Members and/ or co-optees 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 are advised however, 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 interests.
Members are reminded that they may not, by law, participate or vote in any discussion in a meeting on a matter in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest
Members are advised that they should leave the room during consideration of any items of business in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.
There were no declarations of interests made.
[Councillors Eileen Weir and Michael McVeigh joined the meeting]
Executive Report as agreed on 6 November 2020.
Councillor Sam Meteer asked for clarification as to the purpose of the meeting following the submission of the proposal. The Chair answered that the purpose of the meeting was to allow members to ask questions of the proposal and gather information.
The Chief Executive gave the OSC and other members in attendance a presentation, which followed on from the member briefing which had taken place before the meeting in a closed forum, and highlighted key pieces of information regarding Copeland Borough Council’s (CBC) position in relation to Local Government Reorganisation and Devolution. The presentation aimed to outline the steps that the Council had taken up to this point and will take over the next stage of the process, as well as answer any questions that members had.
Multiple members began by thanking the Chief Executive for her presentation and noted that any criticisms that they had were not directed at the Chief Executive or any officer.
There was a consistent thread by multiple councillors throughout the meeting, which highlighted their personal opinion and belief that there had not been enough consultation with members before the Council’s Executive made their decision to agree to the position CBC are proposing and that the process for determining this decision is not inclusive. The timescale for the proposals was also commented on and considered rushed and sub-optimal. This sentiment was acknowledged by the Chief Executive who understood their position and their passion.
The Chair asked for further information regarding public support. The Chief Executive commented that at this point there had been no public consultation as, should CBC have asked the public which model they would prefer, they would be unable to answer, just as Local Government are currently unable to answer. Cumbria need to give the public and the communities as much information to read and understand before consultation can begin. There has been some business/stakeholder support for the two unitary model, but just enough to be able to put the question of implementing a two unitary system in place. The public consultation process will begin in the spring, following which the Government will make their decision.
Councillor Hawkins asked for clarity on CBC’s proposed savings, especially when compared to Cumbria County Council’s (CCC). Councillor Hawkins also asked for some clarification on the Mayoral Model that had been mentioned and whether or not there has to be a Mayoral Model in place as part of the business case. The Chief Executive noted that CBC’s proposed figures were not a best case scenario but rather a stretch case scenario as, while savings is a factor, sustainability and good service delivery is key. CBC are focused on efficiency rather than cuts. The Chief Executive clarified that, for all models put forward, there is no proposal to have a mayor over the local government model of unitarisation. The process of adding a mayor comes as part of a second process which would involve a combined authority and devolved powers within that authority. The decision to ... view the full minutes text for item OSC133