The Empowerment Agenda by wuxiangyu

VIEWS: 12 PAGES: 62

									               Members’ Local Briefing Pack
 _______________________________________________________




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)
                    Members’ Local Briefing Pack
      _______________________________________________________

                                                  Contents
1                                 Introducing the Work
                     - Support for you in your work in Communities

1.1       Support for the Council‟s Local Committee based work                        4
1.2       Your local contacts                                                         5
1.3       Support from Member Services through your Senior Democratic
          Services Officer                                                            6
1.4       Support through area based management of services                           7
1.5       Support in working in communities and with community groups                 8
1.6       Support in working with other agencies and groups                           9
1.7       Support in work with Local Partnerships                                    10
1.8       Responding to Strategic Priorities                                         12

2                                    Working in Communities

2.1       Your community Leadership                                                  13
2.2       Engaging with communities                                                  15
2.3       Our Platform for Community Engagement: Neighbourhood Forums                16
2.4       Supporting Directorates and other Public Bodies consultation and
          engagement needs.                                                          17
2.5       Local Problem Identification and Solving                                   18
2.6       Knowing & Sharing our Stories – the good outcomes                          22
2.7       Developing local „intelligence‟                                            25
2.8       Emerging Community Concerns
          – local issue resolution and the potential for Community Call for Action   26
2.9       Advocacy & Influencing - through involvement with other partners           28

3                                   The local use of Resources                       29

3.1       Devolved resources                                                         30
3.2       Using budgets
          - to „give‟ grants, „invest‟ in developments and‟ „buy services            34
3.3       Community grants                                                           37
3.4       Cumbria Highways - including Highway Stewards                              40
3.5       Children‟s Services - Early Years Resources                                44
3.6       Children‟s services - Cumbria Youth Support Services                       49
3.7       Electoral Division Local Capital Scheme                                    51
3.8       Blending and braiding cash & kind resources                                56

4                        Taking decisions & Local Committee Day

4.1       Local Committees - Functions and Responsibilities                          57
4.2       Newly devolved responsibilities                                            57
4.3       „Its not always about spending money‟                                      58
4.4       Area Overview – including the Area Plan                                    59
4.5       Tracking Performance                                                       61




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                       page 2
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

Introduction
In recent years there has been a stronger commitment from all public services to work
more effectively in communities. Yet year on year, nationally and locally, residents
perceive their influence on community life as diminishing. They also perceive their
influence on and satisfaction with local councils as diminishing. Perceptions of
disempowerment and satisfaction with public services are often inextricably inter-
related.

A key role and priority of the County Council is to change that perception for the
better. As a councillor you have a critical role, in ensuring local services are
responsive to the needs of your constituents and that local people‟s voices are heard.

In Cumbria we believe we have many of the necessary elements in place to change
public perception and to give communities greater influence in their neighbourhood
and in local services here. Your role as a councillor is vital to increasing that influence.

Over the last few years government has outlined a new approach to improving public
services and produced a number of Government White Papers and Acts which
encourage public services to be more responsive to communities. There are new
responsibilities for local government including a „duty to involve‟ and „councillor call for
action‟ and a large amount of guidance has been published by government and
others.

Good practice in Cumbria has been recognised by Central Government and this
council has been identified as one of eighteen empowerment authorities, two of which
are located in the North West.

This pack outlines some of that good practice and the support available to you as a
councillor. This includes colleagues who can help you with your work in communities,
local resources to address local needs and structures and processes to increase
community influence. We hope that you find the pack useful, but if it is easier please
use your area support team as an initial point of contact.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                    page 3
                   Members’ Local Briefing Pack
     _______________________________________________________

 1       Support for you in your work in Communities

The Community Unit works with colleagues in the Council to provide a wide range of
local support, to councillors and the communities you serve. This section provides an
overview of some of this support including
        the Council‟s Local Committee based work
        working with you in your community
        your local contacts
        your support through the Member Services Unit
        your support through area based management of certain services
        support in working in communities with community groups and other agencies
        local partnerships
        How to influence and respond to „strategic‟ priorities

1.1      Support for the Council‟s Local Committee based work
Through the work of the Area Support Managers (ASMs), the Community Unit,
provides management support for the six Local Committees which make local
decisions about certain services and influence the delivery of others. Local
Committees have a wide range of executive powers to benefit localities including
decisions about budgets and service improvements. Your Area Support team is
available to ensure these arrangements run smoothly and that the business reflects
and responds to community needs.

There are currently Area Support teams supporting each local committee area. Each
includes an Area Support Manager (ASM), and a small support staff including
Neighbourhood Development Officer(s), Community Involvement worker(s) and
administrative support. These can be a key resource for you as a councillor.

ASMs champion all matters in respect of community and local committee business
and, work closely with democratic services colleagues in Member Services Unit and
Directorates.

Neighbourhood Development Officers lead on the various facets of community
engagement through the activities of each neighbourhood forum, drop-ins, surgeries,
and special events. They deliver on forum grants arrangements, do community
development activity, and assist you as a councillor in your local community
leadership roles, especially in identifying and helping to resolve emerging community
concerns. Area Support teams function as an important means by which you can
better understand and resolve issues in your locality, recognising the proper functions
of the political group offices; and the Member Services Unit.

ASMs also support Chairs of Local Committees offering support, advice,
troubleshooting and horizon-scanning. ASMs act as both loyal locality managers, and
corporate managers; bridging the potential centre/locality divide. ASMs are politically
sensitive, „sense‟ where conflict is likely to occur and intervene to reduce unnecessary
disturbance that would otherwise hinder the business of the Council. The maturity of
much of our local committee work is an endorsement to this approach.

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 4
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

1.2      Your local contacts
David Sheard (01228) 226746                          Area Support Manager
david.sheard@cumbriacc.gov.uk                         Responsible for overall management of the
                                                      Local Committee. County Council lead with
                                                      the Local Strategic Partnership and for
                                                      partnership working across the area.
Linda Graham(01228) 226362                           Senior Democratic Services Officer
linda.graham@cumbriacc.gov.uk                         Responsible for the administration of the
                                                      Local Committee including preparation of
                                                      Agendas, Minutes and public participation.
Debra Taylor (01228) 226575                          Accountant
debra.anne.taylor@cumbriacc.gov.uk                    Responsible for monitoring and review of the
                                                      Local Committee budget and for reporting
                                                      any variations from planned budgets.
Judith Gardner (01228) 226474                        Neighbourhood Development Officer for
Mob: 07825340461                                      Brampton & District; Longtown & Bewcastle
judith.gardner@cumbriacc.gov.uk                       Wetheral & Stanwix Rural; Dalston &
                                                      Cummersdale and St Aidans Neighbourhood
                                                      Forum areas.
Paul Carrigan                                         Neighbourhood Development Officer for
 (01228) 221054                                      Currock, Upperby, Denton Holme, Harraby
mob: 07973811295                                      Botcheby and Castle Neighbourhood Forum
paul.carrigan@cumbriacc.gov.uk                        areas.
Jane Humphries (01228) 226570                        Neighbourhood Development Officer (30
Mob: 07825340460                                      Hours) for Stanwix Urban, Belle Vue, Morton,
jane.humphries@cumbriacc.gov.uk                       Yewdale and Belah Neighbourhood Forum
                                                      areas.
Anne Hull  (01228) 226315                            Community Involvement Worker Harraby.
Mob: 07717782078
anne.hull@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Susan Smith  (01228) 226747                          Administrative team covering all area office,
Victoria Peacock  (01228) 226730                     forums, and grants administration.
Vacant  (01228) 226640
Richard Hayward  (01228) 227659                      Area Engineer for Carlisle
richard.hayward1@cumbriacc.gov.uk                     Responsible for advising on and monitoring
                                                      the delivery of all devolved highways activity,
                                                      including relationships with Capita Symonds
                                                      and Amey, our Cumbria Highways partners.
CCC Directorates‟ Locality Leads (where established)
Simon Kelly  (01228) 815321                          CCC Fire & Rescue Service
Simon.kelly@cumbriacc.gov.uk                          Locality Mgr – Carlisle
Phil Bennett (01228) 227060                          CCC Childrens Services
phil.bennett@cumbriacc.gov.uk                         Head of Local Services – Carlisle
Nick Thomas (01228) 607131                           CCC Adults and Cultural Services
nick.thomas@cumbriacc.gov.uk                          Head of Service Lead




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                               page 5
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

1.3      Support from Member Services through your Senior
         Democratic Services Officer
Member Services and Scrutiny is part of the Resources Directorate which provides
logistical and administrative support to the County Council‟s decision making and
scrutiny processes. Staff attend meetings involving councillors, oversee the
production and publication of papers which are sent to members for decision or
discussion, advise on practice and procedures, prepare minutes of meetings attended
by members, liaise with the representatives of the political groups and operate
systems to ensure that members at large are aware of what is going on.

Each Local Committee is looked after by a Senior Democratic Services Officer
(SDSO) who is responsible for the administration of the Committee and for ensuring
that it acts in accordance with the Council Constitution and legislation etc.

The SDSO works closely with all members of the committee but particularly so with
the Chair, Vice Chair and the Area Support Manager in producing a draft agenda
(which is based on a forward plan of items) for discussion at a pre agenda meeting.
SDSO‟s generally look after the sub groups associated with their particular local
committee but not exclusively so. Local Committees are in the process of reviewing
the type and number of sub groups with a view to adopting a more consistent
approach across all local committees.

Contact details appear below for each Local Committee SDSO:

 Allerdale Local Committee                        Claire Bradshaw
                                                  Tel: 01228 226364
                                                  E: claire.bradshaw@cumbriacc.gov.uk

 Barrow Local Committee                           Janine Hounslow
                                                  Tel: 01228 226906
                                                  E: janine.hounslow@cumbriacc.gov.uk

 Carlisle Local Committee                         Linda Graham
                                                  Tel: 01228 226362
                                                  E: linda.graham@cumbriacc.gov.uk


 Copeland Local Committee                         Jackie Currie
                                                  Tel: 01228 221030
                                                  E: jackie.currie@cumbriacc.gov.uk

 Eden Local Committee                             Susan Johnston
                                                  Tel: 01228 226363
                                                  E: susan.johnston@cumbriacc.gov.uk

 South Lakeland Local Committee                   Glynis Andrews
                                                  Tel: 01228 226361
                                                  E: glynis.andrews@cumbriacc.gov.uk




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                     page 6
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

1.4      Support through area based management of services

There are compelling opportunities and requirements for the Council to further develop
its approach to locality sensitive service planning and management. It is this type of
approach which contributes to Cumbria having a „Sense of Place‟. Clearly the
configuration of the six local committees and their linkage through the Area Support
Managers with the Community Unit‟s six Area Support teams, and on into the area
based arrangements for Cumbria Highways, was a key first step. More recently, and
especially building on the momentum provided by the findings of the independent
Democracy Commission, leading to Cumbria‟s unitary government prospectus,
Directorates‟ within CCC have been seeking to develop locality management
approaches which must be seen to have operational consistency. Set out below is an
exemplar for that approach.

Childrens Services – an example of the roll out of locality management

The Children‟s Services Directorate is led by Moira Swann, Corporate Director. Her
role is to lead and develop Children‟s Services in the county council and lead
partnership work in children‟s services across the county with other agencies. Moira
also works as a member of the corporate management team to further develop
Cumbria County Council.

Beneath Moira there are four Heads of Service with county and locality areas of
responsibility:
Carlisle       – John Swainston, Schools & Learning (Projects)
Furness        – Kevin Jones, Partnership & Prevention
East           – Michael Watmough, Commissioning & Management Support
West           – Helen Smith, Children & Family Care
Each Head of Service directly manages the Head of Local Services who is
responsible for:
  Management, integration and operational delivery of Children‟s Services Locality
     Teams - Locality Support; Safeguarding; Advice & Access; Children Looked
     After; Learning Difficulties & Disabilities; Educational Psychology & Behaviour
     Support; Specialist Advisory Teaching Service
  Locality planning
  Promoting Children‟s Services within the locality, Cumbria and North West region
  Establishing and maintaining relationships with Councillors

The Heads of Local Services are:
 Carlisle        Phil Bennett                         01228 227060
                                                      phil.bennett@cumbriacc.gov.uk
  Furness                   John Macilwraith          01229 407824
                                                      john.macilwraith@cumbriacc.gov.uk
  East                      Pat Norris                01539 773352
                                                      pat.norris@cumbriacc.gov.uk
  West                      Stephen Mason             01900 706350
                                                      stephen.mason@cumbriacc.gov.uk



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 7
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________


1.5 Support in working in communities and with community
groups
Neighbourhood Development Officers have a huge wealth of local knowledge, and
excellent working relationships with both other statutory and voluntary sector
organisations. This resource is important in supporting members in their work as
community leaders. The 62 Neighbourhood Forums areas that now cover the whole of
the County give all citizens an opportunity to meet their local county councillor, other
local political representatives, and key decision makers from other agencies in a non-
partisan, informal atmosphere, discussing matters of local concern. Typically over
10,000 people across the County attend Forums and other similar community events
each year. These meetings act as an important conduit and method of consultation
with local communities, particularly at times of local stress for example; in the
aftermath of Carlisle area floods; or when a wind farm is proposed; to consult on the
change to a public service, or to discuss increased numbers of lorries using a local
road.

Case Study In Barrow, the Area Support Team organised a “Have Your Say” bus.
Over 2 days, the bus visited all 12 divisions in Barrow. The bus gave an opportunity
for members of the public to ask questions, and raised issues of concern with staff and
Councillors. Everyone with a question was guaranteed to receive an individual
response. The timetable for the bus was published in the Evening Mail, and BBC
Radio Cumbria ran a live link from the bus. A range of partners including Barrow
Borough Council and the Police were represented on the bus. Learning from this pilot
will inform future community engagement roll out especially in deeply sparse rural
Cumbria.

The local capacity represented by the Community Unit (both ASMs and
Neighbourhood Development staff) has proved to be an extremely valuable and
flexible service that the council has used to good effect, for example, in speedily
developing and implementing the first series of locality working pilots, or, the „Together
we Can‟ pilots. Having a ready-made & flexible delivery mechanism in an instance
such as this is significant.

There is a strong political commitment from all major parties to reconnect public
authorities with their neighbourhoods, rural settlements and communities ...devolution
does not stop at the town hall. Collectively, there is a huge agenda for improvement
in locally delivered public services and their local governance & to reconnect them
with the priorities expressed within local neighbourhoods and communities. As a
councillor you have an essential role grounding the delivery of such services with the
needs of local people.

Your area support team is able to be responsive and proactive in seeking out new
opportunities. In the last few years the value of this work has been identified
nationally as good practice by the Department of Communities and Local Government,
Local Government Information Unit and the Improvement & Development Agency



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 8
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

Support for local projects

Area Support Teams can support in delivering county-wide projects on a local basis.
Examples include supporting important rural services such as Vital Villages and
Market Town Initiative, urban initiatives, and other regeneration projects such as the
South Cumbria Gateway. Forum grants add over £400,000 each year into supporting
the vibrancy of local community groups.

Case Studies
In South Workington the neighbourhood management programme has enabled a
small dedicated community empowerment team to work with budding community
activists to strengthen community capacity and self help groups to challenge public
services about the services they experience. Whilst there is more support work
required over a longer term, there is good evidence about the benefits of community
capacity building.

1.6 Support in working with other agencies and groups
Information is a currency in which organisations deal, and which, in a time when local
government is moving from being a provider to being an enabler, is becoming ever
more important. As partnership working becomes more important, the skills of those
who can effectively network, negotiate and represent the interests of the County
Council will become more valuable.

ASMs support the County Council‟s representation on the five Cumbria area Local
Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and their sub groups. Much officer work is carried out in
the various operational partnership networks, including: the Crime and Disorder
Reduction Partnerships, Sports Action Zone, Gypsy and Traveller operational joint
working, Surestart, and the variety of urban regeneration and rural market town
initiatives.

Although we all do business using phones and email, having locally based offices is
important both symbolically and operationally. For example, the Neighbourhood
Development offices at Alston and Cleator Moor have “flown the flag” in less well
served locations, and because teams are co-located with other services promote
cross-organisational dialogue and communication. The Unit experimented in Allerdale
with peripatetic working using modern I.T. links, and „piggy-backing‟ fire station
premises. In these and other ways, the Community Unit gives the County Council a
Locality Capacity; the ability to act quickly, appropriately and sensitively based on
sound local knowledge and good local connections. The next set of developments
could well include co-location with other councils/ agencies, as opportunity for „shared
services‟ arises, the objective being to further enhance our contact and feedback with
residents, in the most feasible cost effective manner.

Community Unit Programmes team: - with specialists covering rural/ parishes work;
strategic relationships with Third Sector bodies and other support, good work has
achieved visibility for the rural post offices closure debate, rural transport issues, and
parishes cluster planning arrangements

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                    page 9
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

Councillors often rely on ASMs to troubleshoot problems by using their knowledge and
contacts within the council, and elsewhere, to identify the best person to deal with
member‟s concerns. These facilitating, enabling & co-ordinating roles can be of benefit
in support of you, in you Community Leadership roles, and also enable the Council to
be valued as a committed local partner.


1.7 Support in work with Local Partnerships
Increasingly the County Council operates in partnership environments, recognising
that customer focused services cut across organizational boundaries. The term
partnership working is often taken to cover a wide span from trusting or gracious
partnerships through to some types of contractual working. In Local Committee areas,
it is with the following that members will have most frequent dealings.

Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs)

In their present form LSPs have been around for almost 10 years. Building on earlier
strategic partnership styles of working primarily focusing on area based regeneration
programmes, government recognised the benefits of public and other bodies working
together on common aims and objectives. In unitary local government areas they are
normally coterminous with principal councils‟ boundaries.

In „two tier‟ local government there will be county level strategic partnerships, (in
Cumbria – the CSP) making sense of the need to base sub-regional strategies, and to
co-ordinate actions across organisations to deliver the Local Area Agreement (LAA);
and at district council level the 5 LSPs (West Cumbria has one of the very few multi
district partnerships in the country embracing Allerdale BC/ Copeland BC and the
CCC – the West Cumbria Partnership).

The requirement to consult with stakeholders and communities to build, and monitor
the delivery of a Sustainable Communities Strategy is a formal requirement of a
County/ District/ or Unitary authority level LSP. This is a „vision‟ document usually with
a 10-20 year long term perspective.

The County Council has determined that the six local committees will provide political
representation and any budgetary support for LSP working; with officer support from a
link Corporate Director; the Area Support Manager; together with key staff from
relevant service directorates operating across the themed sub-groups.

Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs)

There are 4 CDRPs serving the County area, with West Cumbria & Carlisle & Eden
CDRPs each covering two district areas.

For each CDRP the Home Office requires that the five responsible authorities – the
police, police authorities, district & county council, fire and rescue authority and
Cumbria NHS– set out in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and subsequent legislation

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 10
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
are under a duty to formulate and implement a strategy to tackle crime and disorder in
their areas. The new statutory requirements included in this guidance describe the
processes these responsible authorities must have in place as they develop these
strategies. Government expects that other partners within the relevant LSP will
collaborate also within CDRP arrangements. There is a requirement for regular crime
audit and strategy building on key themes in order to minimise crime, fear of crime and
its effects upon individuals and communities.

Locality & Community Partnerships.

Across Cumbria there is evidence of a wide variety of local partnership arrangements,
each reflecting an original purpose. For instance there are legacy partner
arrangements flowing from: the recently ended Market Towns Initiative (MTI)
programme; older Single Regeneration budget (SRB) and other area based initiatives
(ABIs). There are emerging clusters of parishes co-operating to produce aspirational
plans for their local areas. Districts and County are collaborating through LSPs with
Parishes and Town Councils looking at opportunities for shared locality working
arrangements.

Local CCC members will be keen to work alongside their NDO and Area Support
Manager to find ways of integrating CCC into these emerging or reforming
arrangements.

Working with district councils:

In several areas of the County there is ongoing work to deliver „Local Links‟ often
based on local libraries. Ultimately there aims to be about 30, one in each of the key
service centres. These evidence good joint working between county and the six
districts.

Increasingly there are formal arrangements for district councillors and supporting staff
to share in the work of neighbourhood forums so that emerging community
concerns relating to district council services can be immediately addressed.

Already mentioned are the maturing joint discussions which will enable County and
the six districts to determine and delivery arrangements for responsive and „joined up‟
locality working – enabling local managers/ senior practitioners to regularly meet to
innovate and resolve in relation to local public service concerns.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 11
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

1.8 Responding to Strategic Priorities

Local Committees and individual councillors are well placed, as locality sensitive,
„lightening conductors‟ to test a variety of emerging Strategic Priorities of the
Administration. Another metaphor that is increasingly used is one of „deep diving‟ – to
be able to set up interactions between „the Strategic‟ & „the Community‟ levels of
policy and programme development; as part of any design process.

As a local councillor you should expect to be consulted about how an emerging policy
or delivery programme might impact on your area. When services are being reviewed
or new policies developed you will usually have an opportunity to feed back about
specific concerns, for example:
       „rural proofing‟ of services in remote rural communities, or
        anti-poverty sense checking in communities which have had a greater demand
        for some services.

Examples from the past of this kind of interaction to enable responsive feedback to the
„Strategic‟ level have included:
      The Civic Amenity site development programme
      Building Schools for the Future – local schools re-organisation
      Local Library Services – review of provision

Given the lead role that all Local Committees have in promoting and overseeing the
Council‟s community engagement function, there are likely to be more opportunities to
consolidate the positioning of Local Committees in this role, as more Service Reviews
take place over the next couple of years.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                               page 12
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

2        Working in communities

2.1 Your community Leadership
As a councillor you have a unique role in balancing different local needs, because you
have to answer to local people at the ballot box. Also because you represent a
localised electorate no-one is more visibly accountable to local people than you are.
This is why frontline (or ward) councillors are the real key to reconnecting a council to
its citizens and to the renewal of local democracy.

“When I first came to consider local government, I began to see how it was in essence
the first-line defence thrown up by the community against our common enemies –
poverty, sickness, ignorance, isolation, mental derangement and social
maladjustment.” [Winifred Holtby‟s views, written over 70 years ago],

These ageless words reflect how councillors champion the needs of local people and
the places where they live in tackling even the greatest challenges, echoing the vision
of the Local Government Association‟s (LGA) report – „People and Places‟.

As a political commentator recently remarked, “where dedicated, high calibre
councillors work well together, areas can be transformed”.

There is a consistent message drawn from research of such as the LGA and that is
that ward councillors often do not always have sufficient support to fulfil their ambitions
for their local area. Councillors interviewed talked of required qualities of time,
patience, motivation, of pragmatism, persistence, passion, stamina, and the ability to
challenge, to communicate and to listen. But councillors also expressed the need for
support to be more strategic; to understand people, relationships, organisational
behaviour and cultures; to develop listening and story telling skills; to manage
complexity and to work in partnership.

All this is the „stuff‟ of Community Leadership. One Councillor was heard to say before
the recent elections. „Well I‟ve been here for four years, I only just feel as though I‟m
getting the hang of it and I‟m facing the ballot box again.‟

Your role in giving communities influence
Effective community leadership is not only affirmed through the ballot box. Local
people also need to be confident that the people they elect to represent them are
doing just that. This 'advocacy' role can involve speaking out (and being seen to speak
out) for local people on major issues that impact on the community and acting on
behalf of specific groups or individuals.

Community leadership requires a number of different activities. Leadership means can
include informing, listening, assisting and influencing. We are committed to developing
effective partnerships to achieve this.



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 13
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
Responsibility for community leadership mainly rests with you as a local councillor.
Learning & Development options are available to you, within the council‟s learning and
development programmes, regionally through Cumbria and the NW Improvement &
Efficiency Partnership programmes(CIEP and RIEP); and nationally through such as
I&DeA, or the LGA.

Effective working arrangements within local communities are also essential to develop
and strengthen this role. Successful councillors are recognised as having:

        the ability to build effective partnerships with other local organisations and
         communities
        a commitment to community engagement and empowerment
        the ability to respond effectively to local priorities
        access to the necessary information at a local and strategic level
        a sound understanding of local governance arrangements
        an understanding of local communities and the groups and organisations within
         them
        access to key people within the County Council, in other agencies and within
         local communities

Your area support team, together with the Resources Directorate can support you in
providing the information you need in each of these areas.

Your role in building cohesive communities

You also have the role to play in building cohesive communities at local level. One
way of doing this is through community meetings. This briefing outlines the support we
currently offer you through neighbourhood forums. We can however offer you many
other ways to engage local communities.

You can feed local findings into the council's decision-making process, but also
address conflicts or misunderstandings between different groups within a local
community.

There are a number of differing views, when determining the role of community
leaders. There is often a need to rely on the views of community representatives
(including yourself), when there is neither the time, nor the resource, for broader
consultation. As a councillor naturally you will seek to work closely with other
community representatives who are themselves democratically elected, e.g. in parish
and town councils, and with those who are less formally elected such as activists in
residents and community associations. Your area support team can provide
information on a range of community groups in your and adjacent areas.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 14
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________


2.2      Engaging with communities

Cumbria has many hundreds of diverse communities, challenged by a variety of local
issues including rural isolation and urban disadvantage. We have many different
ways of engaging with individuals and groups and many different techniques which we
can deploy depending on the issue and situation. The „Local Matters‟ part of the
Communities section of the CCC website suggests just some of these options.

We have brought together examples of good practice, from across Cumbria and try to
combine the 'local' with the 'strategic', showing how partnership work and effective
engagement of local people can make a difference to the delivery of services and an
influence on decision-making. Through this process local people in local communities
should benefit from recognisable improvements to their quality of life.

In our Community Engagement Framework we produced a checklist for effective
community engagement and some advice on good practice. The examples in this
publication, form part of our learning process and are evidence of the good work which
has recently been undertaken in Cumbria.

The Council recognises that community engagement is essentially underpinned by
community development, which builds the capacity of residents. This allows them to
become fully informed and empowered to work in partnership and address issues that
affect them. The Council understands engagement as a two-way process, through
which local communities can effectively express aspirations and concerns to those
responsible for policies and services delivery.

In Cumbria we are very fortunate in having developed a network of community
engagement events the most visible of which is the neighbourhood forums.

Neighbourhood Forums are informal meetings for residents to get together with
neighbours and other local people to meet with local councillors and other public
services to find solutions to local issues.

Working with other agencies we have established a large network of over 60 forums to
enable people to meet informally with their elected representatives. Forums can vary
how they operate to suit their own particular area. Most hold regular meetings where
local people can suggest issues for discussion. The local county councillor often
chairs these informal meetings and ensures that issues of concern are resolved. This
might include 'referral' to an agency or part of the council. All issues raised are logged.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 15
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

2.3 Our Platform for Community Engagement:
Neighbourhood Forums

Many engagement activities are based around Neighbourhood Forums. These were
developed by the Council from 1992 onwards and 62 Forums now cover the whole
county. As public meetings they have been useful as a means of engaging local
people and allowing them to have an input into shaping services and policies.
Forum meetings vary in style and content from area to area. The agenda is always
open for local people and Councillors to put items on. Examples of issues which have
been raised at Forums are: economic regeneration projects; youth provision, highways
issues including verges and local improvements. Forums usually meet around five
times per year, occasionally with additional special one-off meetings addressing
particular issues of concern, e.g. a new proposal for a traffic scheme. County
Councillors often chair the meetings, but in some Forums another local person has
taken on this role. The chair ensures that vital matters are reported back to the
Council, parish, district or other relevant agencies so that the necessary actions can
be taken.

What are Neighbourhood Forums for?
      to help local councillors to voice community needs and wishes
      to provide opportunities for people to work together and get things done
       locally
      to are informal meetings where we can exchange information and discuss
       matters in person
      to provide an opportunity for small grants to be fairly distributed to community
       groups
      to help the County Council to target services more effectively

Meetings are well attended; invitations and regular newsletters are sent to all
attendees. Over the years the forums have built on the community spirit of the area
and have helped to increase the feeling of community and active citizenship.

For further information about Neighbourhood Forums including meeting dates and
issues for discussion, please look at our web site:
www.cumbria.gov.uk/neighbourhoodforums

Offering Practical Support for Communities: A typical Neighbourhood Forum

The Solway Coast Neighbourhood Forum has a good local attendance and is a
good example of how a Forum can represent local people. The meeting in
December attracted 41 people, including 11 young people. They discussed the
Allerdale Borough Council Strategic Plan and were able to make comments to the
Director of Finance on priorities and themes as well as voicing specific concerns
such as poor public transport to Lakes College, fear of crime and childcare
problems for mothers returning to work. There was also information from the
Solway Coast AONB and advice on applying for funding from their grant budgets.
Parish councillors gave accounts of local activities in Holme Low, Silloth, Allonby



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                               page 16
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
and Holme St. Cuthbert and young people from Silloth Community College talked
about a school visit to Mexico.

Discussion ranged from strategic themes of affordable housing and heritage
protection to more local concerns of street lighting, seats in bus-shelters, village
Christmas trees and youth clubs – all part of the important fabric of community life.
Christine and Peter Johnstone were at the meeting representing the West Cumbria
Older Persons‟ Forum and commented that they were impressed by the mix of age
groups. „It may be that, with the area being so rural in its makeup, it engenders a
closer working relationship and understanding of other peoples‟ worries, concerns
and difficulties and allows for ideas, and in some cases possible solutions to be
arrived at… we were made welcome and able to talk to other members present
and hopefully will attend other Forums so that we can take Older Persons‟ issues
up with the authorities that can make a difference.!‟

The meeting finished with an allocation of grant funding from the Neighbourhood
Forum budget to six local groups. All the grants were under £300 but show how
small amounts of funding can help a variety of community ventures from a vintage
car rally to toys for a toddlers group. The annual community grants budget is
£5,000. Allocations tend to be fairly small but applicants receive advice on other
possible funding sources, organisation and help with contacts and information.
Sometimes this assistance is more valuable to a community group than the funding
itself.

2.4 Supporting Directorates and other Public Bodies
    consultation and engagement needs.
Occasionally there needs to be town-wide or single issue public meetings about other
directorates‟ service changes e.g. School re-organisation; public transport, or large
scale regeneration proposals. The area teams are experienced in working with other
Directorates of CCC. For instance this year we are assisting the Supporting People
team to engage with district level stakeholders in order to conduct the locality based
needs assessment exercise. Increasingly, District Councils and other public bodies
are aware of the opportunities offered through locality sensitive consultation/
engagement arrangements for such as Council Plan and budget consultation to
achieve effective local consultation/ view-taking.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 17
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

2.5 Local Problem Identification and Solving
How do you find out what people want and understand some of the options to meet
these desires? As already indicated we have some tools of the trade which nationally
are felt to represent good practice. They might be useful when you are thinking about
how to resolve local problems in your community.

Examples of some techniques which the Council has promoted are included below.



Resident Parking Problems… Grange Traffic Issues
Area with problems with parking in part of Grange over Sands was identified by
local councillors and colleagues from Cumbria Highways. In total 16 households
were affected on a residential road; this problem being exacerbated by patients
visiting the doctors‟ surgery at the end of the road. Each of the houses has its own
driveway. However, commuters use the road for parking; some cars are even
parked so that residents leaving their drives are left with little or no room to
manoeuvre their vehicles. Further problems arise when residents have friends
or family visiting, leaving no space for them to park, causing difficulties
for one household due to an issue of disability.

To determine the extent of the problem and to arrive at an agreeable solution,
survey work was undertaken. This exercise targeted households and leaflets were
also affixed to the windscreens of parked cars. By taking this two-pronged
approach it was hoped that the issue would also be brought to the attention of
those non residents using the road for parking.

In an initial letter, the context of the situation was set out. Explanations were
given for the action and that Cumbria County Council was looking to make the best
use of the highway and will act, where there is sufficient evidence, to show that
there is inappropriate parking. It further explained the implications of implementing
residents' parking schemes, whereby the problem is simply displaced to an
alternative area.

Feedback was correlated and a resultant community meeting took place to
pinpoint areas of concern, offer ideas and discuss options. An opportunity for
people to give their views was given, if they were unable to attend, by completing a
reply slip and dropping it in at Grange Town Council offices. At the meeting
preferences for solutions were discussed. Cumbria Highways were instructed to
draw up plans for the preferred options to solve the parking problems. The new
plans were brought back to residents at a further meeting. It was at this meeting
that it became clear that there was much division of opinion between residents as
to the scale of the perceived parking problem. It appeared that those residents
living at the opposite end to the doctors‟ surgery were not experiencing any
adverse situations. Options consisted of the installation of parking bays or parking
restrictions, with exemptions for disabled badge holders. As a result of there being
no majority decision on which options to adopt, an on-site meeting was scheduled
to alleviate individual concerns. As a result, revised plans, fully influenced by
evidence from local residents, have been drawn up. These are being taken back to
Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 18
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
the community in an attempt to reach a majority decision regarding an appropriate
and mutually agreeable way forward to resolve the parking problems for the
residents in question.



Be Active ~ Promoting Healthy Living

Have you ever put on a major event and hardly anyone turned up? Yes, of
course you have. All that time, effort and money to book the venue,
organise the stalls etc etc… And only 10 people and a dog turn up… How
frustrating. Barrow Sports Council, with an acute awareness of the increasingly
sedentary lifestyles of young people, wanted to raise awareness of local sporting
opportunities for young people. Clubs had highlighted the difficulty of recruiting
junior members. And if you don‟t have junior members, you end up with a
dwindling number of older members. And in some cases, the club just dies. The
Sports Council thought about arranging a Sports Fair for clubs to promote
themselves and active living for all. Let them all have stalls and run taster
sessions. That seemed like a good idea.

But would young people attend? If you are interested in sport you would probably
seek out an appropriate club or facility. And if you aren‟t interested in sport, would
you go to a Sports Fair? Well, no. What about people who might be vaguely
interested but wouldn‟t make the effort to go out and find opportunities? And what
about minority sports like sailing? Would people even think there was an
opportunity to go sailing? Barrow Sports Council came up with a solution – bus
people in. Force them to come! All the local secondary schools were contacted
and it was agreed to target Year 8 pupils. The County Council‟s Local Committee
for Barrow agreed to fund the event and coaches were hired for the day to bus in
all the Year 8 pupils on a rota. During the day, over 1,000 local children got an
opportunity to meet people from local clubs and facilities, take part in taster
sessions and join clubs. What if the children didn‟t join anything but thought about
it later? They were all given pens advertising Barrow Sports Council‟s website:
www.barrowsportscouncil.org.uk which lists local clubs, leagues and facilities.
It was hard work but it was fun and the clubs who turned up got to promote
themselves to over 1,000 young people. A successful active recruitment
drive to encourage young people into active lifestyles.

„Date an Agency‟

Residents across Barrow in Furness were given the chance to 'speed date' public
bodies, thanks to a new initiative from Cumbria County Council's Local Committee
for Barrow. The „Date an Agency‟ events have allowed residents to speak face-
to-face with representatives for Cumbria County Council highways, Barrow
Borough Council environmental health and housing, Cumbria NHS, the police and
the fire and rescue service.

Based on the principle of speed dating, the Date an Agency initiative offered
people a ten-minute slot with each of these organisations where they can raise

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 19
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
their relevant issues and concerns. All issues are allocated to the relevant
departments for investigation. Residents receive feedback from the agencies
regarding their issue in due course.

The event provided another meaningful opportunity for residents to become
involved in shaping local services, improving their lives and those of their
communities. The initiative was approached in a committed and active
way, so that local people would be empowered, gaining the knowledge of how to
have a voice in the local decision-making processes.

Participatory Appraisals

Over the past three years the Neighbourhood Development staff have used
Participatory Appraisal (PA) as a method of consulting local communities in two
large-scale projects and numerous small-scale, single issue meetings. We
received training in using and understanding PA techniques through the Open
College Network. The training was also made available to community volunteers,
councillors and other community development workers in the area.

What is PA?
Participatory - taking part in something, Appraisal - considering something, is a
way of finding out about local issues from the people who live and work in a
particular area. The consultation process uses a variety of techniques aimed at
engaging people in the initial stages and also in the follow-up community planning
and actions. The method originated in Asia and Africa but is now becoming widely
used as a tool for community involvement in the UK. PA‟s starting point is that
local people are the experts in their own lives and circumstances and that
changes taking place will have the best chance of success if they stem from this
local knowledge. PA is committed to involving those generally excluded from the
consultation and decision-making processes. It‟s user-friendly, non-leading and
non-threatening. Oh yes, and it‟s also a lot of fun!

We have held PAs in many communities as a way of understanding community
concerns and how communities can play a part in resolving these.



So … resident Engagement doesn‟t happen only though forum meetings !

Forum meetings are the tip of the iceberg in a neighbourhood forum area. In a growing
number of forum areas, NDOs and their local members are organising „drop-ins‟ and
surgeries to reach out to smaller numbers of folk for example during the day or on a
Saturday.

In conjunction with other services such as CCC Fire & Rescue; the Police, and Social
Housing providers, house to house surveys such as „Streetsafe‟ or „Firesafe‟ or
„estate/ward walks‟ reach out to residents to get a range of responses not otherwise
available.


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                              page 20
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
Emerging Community concerns, build up wherever groups of residents feel
animated that they are not being listened to, and where they perceive that there will be
an impact in their lives. As we must view them as the „local experts‟ there are also a
variety of other ways in which community voices can be listened to. Many councillors
find that attending parish/ town councils is very useful. The growing number of „Local
Links‟ shared service centres with district councils will be places where people can
register their concerns.

Annual Countywide surveys such as the PLACE survey or the QUALITY of LIFE
survey also provide important intelligence into what folk think are top priorities for
things that need fixing or improving; such as, places to meet and things for young
people to do in evenings and during the holidays; or, the need for more affordable
housing.

More information about engagement tools are available on the Council‟s website

www.cumbria.gov.uk/communityinformation/




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 21
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

2.6 Knowing & Sharing our Stories – the good outcomes

Residents bring concerns both positive and worrying. Neighbourhood forums are one
potential starting point for a new project where ideas are discussed, community views
canvassed and other interested parties found. Support is offered in officer time and
grant aid to community projects.

External validation of CCC‟s service delivery is increasingly measured through annual
residents‟ surveys tracking the increase/ decrease in their perception of being satisfied
or not, for example, with their ability to influence decisions about services in their local
area; or about satisfaction with their local area.

„Telling our stories‟ about successful outcomes, be it about community groups
supported, new projects funded, parish halls redecorated, or highway schemes
completed, is key to residents connecting what they see „on the ground‟ – with helpful
CCC activity.

                                            “YOU said… we DID”

… Is a compelling chorus to help us drive forward and bring home to residents that
CCC and other public service partners ARE RESPONSIVE to views and priorities put
forward by residents.

Examples of a response approach to community needs is illustrated in the boxes
below
  You Said…. We Did…..
  Dalston – St Michael’s Primary School were looking at how they travelled to school
  and how they could develop Better Ways to School travel plan. One issue identified
  was the lack of secure cycle storage at the school for pupils who were progressing
  through cycle proficiency training. Through the Neighbourhood Forum a grant was
  given to assist the provision of a cycle garage. Officers from Cumbria Highways were
  involved in assisting a wider review of travel to school. The Community Unit
  investigated and supported possible funding opportunities and progressed the grant
  application through the Neighbourhood Forum. This work supported the Council Plan
  themes of Happier – investing in schools for the future; Safer – providing support to
  cycle initiative and Greener – reducing carbon footprints of local people.
  Currock and Upperby – York Fields is an area of land owned by the County and
  City Councils. Being an ex landfill site development and use is limited but the
  community have found this is a useful asset for walking and using as a public open
  space. Through the Neighbourhood Forum residents said the area should be better
  maintained to enable people to enjoy this space. We took this to the Carlisle Local
  Committee who agreed and provided funding with the City Council to regularly
  maintain the area.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                   page 22
                    Members’ Local Briefing Pack
      _______________________________________________________


Case Studies – Better than Counting
      Carlisle – Harraby: Together We Can
A report from the Community Involvement Worker
What was your objective in              For the local authorities and their partners to get closer to the needs of
doing this project?                     their communities
                                        To engage, involve and consult the community in the design and delivery
                                        of services
                                        To improve effectiveness and therefore satisfaction with local services
                                        To bring the neighbourhood planning closer to the corporate and
                                        community planning of local providers and partnerships
                                        For local councillors to develop their role as community leaders
                                        To develop, with the local community, a neighbourhood action plan or
                                        community charter.
How does it fit in with the             To meet the Local Committee objectives under the “Strong and
broader aims of the unit and            Prosperous Communities” agenda in the aim of encouraging community
the county council?                     empowerment and providing better and more timely information on the
                                        quality of local services.
Who have you aimed it at?               Residents in the Harraby and Botcherby wards of Carlisle within the
                                        Harraby estate. From London Road, Beverley Rise, Forest Hill to Eastern
                                        Way and including the Harraby estate of approximately 3,200 households.
What did you want to achieve? To bridge the gap between the community and the service providers to
                                        increase the numbers of local residents who felt they could influence the
                                        way decisions are made affecting them.
                                        To improve the area as a place to live and work.
What did you do?                        September 2008 a Neighbourhood Forum drop in session took place
                                        where resident‟s views were gathered of what they liked and disliked
                                        about living in Harraby. A list was collated and a you said/we did
                                        spreadsheet was created and has been updated.
                                        People were asked whether they would be interested in being more
                                        involved and a stakeholders and residents group was set up which meets
                                        monthly. Terms of reference for the group were developed and have been
                                        reviewed as the group developed
                                        The residents agreed to produce a DVD which was distributed in the area
                                        in April. A newsletter for the project is also being developed.
                                        A development day was arranged for February where the aims and
                                        objectives of the group, the production of the DVD and newsletter and
                                        future actions were all developed.
                                        A gala day was held on 14 June 2009.
                                        £50,000 was secured from the City Council Play Areas Improvements
                                        budget to improve play areas in Harraby and £20,000 of highway lighting
                                        work was secured.
How well did it work?                   Initially residents were hesitant to get involved as similar projects had
                                        been promised and had broken down. A core group of residents now
                                        meet on a monthly basis and sub groups (communication,
                                        DVD/newsletter, gala and training and development) meet weekly. The
                                        development day helped the group to bond and build trust in each other
                                        which should make them more cohesive.
What lessons did you learn?             With a bit of effort you can get past the usual suspects and engage with
                                        members of the community who would not normally support a project of
                                        this type. Building trust between residents and officers take time removing
                                        in takes minutes. Residents still get involved to champion their own
                                        causes.
How sustainable are any                 Project is ongoing. Individual aspects are checked for sustainability. The
changes?                                overall aim of a community plan will have sustainability checks embedded.
Were there any effects that you Dynamics of the group.
hadn‟t planned for?                     Lack of commitment of certain partners
What next?                              Maintain levels of commitment from residents and officers alike.
                                        Plan for exit of pilot status – what levels of commitment will be maintained
                                        Achieving production of a community plan.
   Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                                       page 23
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

2.7 Developing local „intelligence‟
Councillors, as community leaders, can build and shape their expert and tacit
awareness of local concerns. This notion of having a „finger on the pulse‟ of the
communities served can come from the collection and assimilation of two kinds of
data:

Qualitative information or data, is the stuff of door-step; post office queue; and snug in
the pub conversations. It is drawn from „drop-ins, surgeries, forum and parish council
meetings; as well as from those irate phone calls at 9:30 at night !

Quantitative information or data is to be drawn from the Council‟s large scale Quality
of Life or Place surveys; from other specialised research and from council services
performance reports.

Area Support Managers, Community Unit staff, and other service specific staff of the
Council are on hand to assist members make sense of the often large flows of
information that can seem to overwhelm elected members, as they seek to answer the
all important question, „so what does that mean for the area that I represent.‟?

Especially during the periods in the year when Councillors are asked to become
involved with local needs assessments of various services, performance or service
reviews, or in the development of a local committee area plan; Councillors have
significant opportunities to provide a „critical friend‟ challenge in service development
or service improvement discussions. Being able to advocate the views of the „real
experts‟ - the resident consumers of council services, moderated by the Councillors
own „local intelligence‟ is a key role as „community leader‟.

The Cumbria Intelligence Observatory.

The developing role of the Cumbria Intelligence Observatory is ensuring that we base
our interventions on good quality shared intelligence. The role of the Observatory
project is to support all partners in Cumbria to make best use of the information
available to inform strategy development and policy interventions. We have initially
tried to focus support on the Cumbria Strategic Partnership where there is a clear
need for support from the Observatory project. This engagement will develop over
time as the outputs and benefits of the Observatory project become more widely
known. The lists of completed and planned tasks below demonstrate a switch from
reactive working to proactive, commissioned, tasks in an effort to ensure that the
outputs of any projects are not only interesting but also useful and acted upon:

        Cumbria Observatory website now online to act as host to all Observatory
         outputs and central hub for queries and commissioned projects
        Interactive Area Profiling tool developed to help identify key issues facing
         different localities in the county.
        Involvement in a national pilot to explore the disagregation of National Indicator
         data to local levels
        Production of a suite of analysis documents reporting Cumbria‟s performance
         against a set of prioritised National Indicators

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                   page 24
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

2.8 Emerging Community Concerns – local issue resolution
and the potential for Community Call for Action
As part of their community engagement work councillors regularly identify local
community concerns. Some are local service defects which are normally resolved
through the normal processes for example - the Highways Hotline. Other concerns
can be more complex and involve a number of services both inside and outside the
Council. This briefing outlines the way in which these issues are managed at a
community level. Undertaking this work at a community level ensures that the Council
and its partners involve local people in resolving issues which affect them. Where
successful this can support community perceptions about their influence, in turn
supporting positive outcomes on a range of perception indicators within the LAA

At present most people don‟t feel that they can influence what happens in their
neighbourhood. To help remedy this problem the Government has introduced
guidance to allow Councillors to get a response and action on issues of importance to
them or the people they represent more effectively than is currently the case. This
system is called Councillor Call for Action (CCfA). Councillors have the responsibility
to make a difference, hold the staff or administration to account and get feedback to
people, how, when and if, issues of local concern can be resolved. The guidance
below is intended to help staff and members with the new CCfA duty in the context of
existing practice.

In Cumbria, we have many of the necessary building blocks already in place:

•        The local events and communications networks through which
         issues can be raised
•        A way of logging and referring community issues
•        Effective local working to support councillors.
•        An agreed countywide Scrutiny process

Your Area Support Team will be working with colleagues in Scrutiny and other
Directorates to ensure issues referred as councillor calls for action are resolved, and
local people informed.

Raising local issues

Through the existing network of community events including Neighbourhood
Forums and regular meetings held with other partners (e.g. CALC) and other
groups (e.g. community planning groups) we are fortunate in being able to
identify a wide range of concerns.

There are also an emerging number of informal „drop-ins‟ and surgeries with local
Councillors supported by their NDO. NDOs are developing contact with the emerging
„Local Links‟ network, in order to be quickly appraised of any „early rising‟ community
concerns.

Service defects - Often concerns raised are referred to the relevant service
as a service defect (for example, highways issues may be referred to the

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 25
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
Highways Hotline or Highways Steward – these might include defects such
as a pothole or a broken streetlight).

Complaints - Sometimes – where a service is seen as unsatisfactory or a
defect unsatisfactorily dealt with – individuals raise a complaint. The council
has a complaints process: http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/complaints/default.asp.
Councillor Call for Action sits alongside the current Complaints system and the new
petitions guidance.

But in a number of cases, „issues‟ are raised. These are usually more complex for
example about resident parking, or youth disorder, where the causes and effects
associated with the issue can often be complex. These issues are currently identified
and logged by the Community Unit. Clear guidelines are in place to ensure consistent
identification on „issues‟.
Logging and referring community issues
The Community Unit has been using a process of Community Issue Resolution for the
past couple of years. We have made minor adaptations and ensure that these
procedures can also support and feed into Scrutiny‟s work on the Councillor Call for
Action duty.

When issues are raised at a public meeting or through 1-2-1 discussions they
are logged by the Area Support Team. The progress of resolving these issues is then
monitored by these staff and will be reported to the relevant Local Committee on a
quarterly basis. An issue logged in this way provides a record and ongoing monitoring
process of its progress to resolution.

Often issues are resolved by drawing them to the attention of the appropriate
colleague in a Council department, a district, police or parish. On occasion we work
with staff from a range of agencies to resolve the problem. Occasionally it is felt that
there is no local scope to resolve the issues. In these cases the issues can be
escalated as a councillor call for action.

Scrutiny staff in the County and Districts are working together to ensure
issues that get escalated in this way are effectively dealt with.

Councillor Calls for Action

Escalation could arise in a number of ways:
   - from the lack of resolution of an issue that has been through the usual
      referral process
   - because of the repeated occurrence of an issue that is being actioned
      through the usual system but not being solved
   - because the elected representative feels the issue needs a coordinated
      response that may not come about without the Call for Action

Once any of these conditions have been met the issue can, with the councillor‟s
agreement, be recorded as a Councillor Call for Action. It will be usual for the
Neighbourhood Development Officer (NDO) to support the councillor in coming to this
conclusion. At this stage the information on the Community Issue Resolution

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 26
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
Database will be forwarded to Scrutiny on the form agreed by the Joint Scrutiny
Officer Group, and the initial complainant and other interested parties informed.

The Councillor Call for Action raises the stakes for local government staff in order to
promote an increasingly effective and efficient response. It also reinforces Councillor‟s
role as community leader who can effect action, hold the administration to account
and feedback to people the how, when and if, issues of local concern can be resolved.

As local issues are raised through the Community Unit we need to keep all parties
informed and involved in their resolution. If an issue becomes a Councillor Call for
action immediate notification to Scrutiny will be made to engage in the effective and
efficient resolution and feedback process.

There have been a few instances of challenges being used as politically motivated or
„vexatious‟ issues, where this type of process has been trialed in early adopter local
authorities. We can immediately provide more detailed advice in such cases.
If you wish further information about this issue please speak direct to your
Area Support Manager or Neighbourhood Development Officer. More in depth training
for local committee members will be organised after the Council Elections.


2.9 Advocacy & Influencing - through involvement with
other partners
Most CCC elected Councillors are associated with other bodies, either because of
prior commitment; be it Borough or Parish Council, voluntary bodies and charities etc;
or, by CCC‟s nomination to an „outside body‟.

There are clear rules which enable Councillors to register an „interest‟ when involved
in discussions and decisions. Councillors can always get helpful advice from Member
Services and their Area Support Manager on these matters. The main point is that
elected members are often one of the few people in a room who can see the wider
perspectives on communities; of service changes and developments, decisions to
commit grants, and from other council activities. Equally, elected Councillors can often
assist in developing teamwork approaches and shared solutions by blending
resources of „‟cash and kind‟ across organisational boundaries to „make a difference‟.
Brokerage of this kind is also a key element of community leadership.


Representation on other CCC groups and also 'outside' bodies

County Council, Cabinet, Local Committees and a number of other bodies appoint
representatives to various „outside bodies‟. County Council appoints to a variety of
bodies both nationally based and more regional including the Police Authority and the
National Parks Authorities, Cabinet appoints to various strategic bodies and
partnerships such as the Cumbria Strategic Partnership and regional groups such as
4NW – Regional Leaders Forum, Local Committees tend to appoint to more locally
based groups such as LSPs ; CDRPs; District wide Community Organisations etc.



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 27
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

3        The local use of resources

The Council has devolved a number of budgets to the Council‟s Local Committees.
This arrangement is intended to involve more local control and influence over
decisions. But devolution brings with it risks of losing scale efficiencies and
consistent services implicit in county level decision making. Earlier this year (2009)
Cabinet agreed an approach intended to balance these tensions:

         Services should be seen as candidates for local decision making where
                    local public accountability is important, evidenced through
                     sustained community consultation (eg highways
                     improvements)
                    there can be varied local preferences (eg libraries, community
                     support through supporting people, youth work, children
                     centres)
                    there is a spatial dimension to delivery (eg public transport,
                     access to youth services and children‟s centres)
                    there are clear local synergies (eg overview of neighbourhood
                     management, cleaner/greener issues, safer and stronger
                     work)


         Services should not be considered as candidates for local decision making
         where
                    there can be shown to be diseconomies of scale and more
                     local decision making would significantly increase service
                     costs
                    a risk to effective delivery through local decision making (eg
                     child protection issues)
                    there is a need for clear strategic political leadership

In the 2009/10 budget [below] the different devolved budgets were outlined. The
Council made clear its intention to increase the scale of local member and
community influence on decisions about budgets and services.

The remainder of this section details how devolved budgets operate locally. Your
Area Support Team and colleagues in Directorates are able to respond to any
detailed questions concerning the process used to identify spending priorities.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 28
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

3.1 Devolved resources
Over time a number of budgets have been agreed by Council through which
communities and community groups are supported. All these budgets are
controlled by local committees within a legal and financial frameworks agreed by
Council.

                                                                          £
          Appointment of Governors                                      848
          Children's Activities 6-12                                 51,390
          Debt Management Advice                                     21,294
          Divisional Grant Panels (Social Care)                      11,037
          Early Years                                                92,225
          Forum Grants                                               92,463
          General Provision                                          97,044
          Highways Maintenance - basic allocation                 3,397,329
          Highways Maintenance - detrunked roads                     46,009
          Highways Stewards                                         170,000
          Integrated Youth Support                                  384,171
          Money Advice - CAB                                         53,890
          Neighbourhood Development-Area Support Teams              115,128
          Nursery Schools                                                 0
          Rents to Voluntary Organisations                           14,666
          School Crossing Patrols                                    68,991
          Youth Service Grants                                       13,676
          TOTAL REVENUE ALLOCATION                                4,630,161

          Capital Allocation:
          Additional Non-Principal Capital                          430,875
          Minor Structural Repairs                                  239,000
          Other Non-Principal Capitalised Maintenance             1,703,000
          Ring Fenced Road Lighting Column Replacement              263,000
          Better Ways to Schools                                     28,350
          Highways Annual Package of Measures                       190,000

          Local Member Sponsored Capital Schemes                    204,000

          TOTAL CAPITAL ALLOCATION                                3,058,225

          TOTAL LOCAL COMMITTEE ALLOCATION                        7,688,386




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 29
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
For ease of management the revenue budgets are currently managed in four blocks
as outlined below

                                                                        £
          Community Support and Community Grants                      378,317
          Early Years and Childrens Activities                        541,462
          General Budget                                               97,044
          Highways maintenance                                      3,613,338
          TOTAL REVENUE ALLOCATION                                  4,630,161

Local Committees represent an important part of the County‟s decision making
structure, and have significant resources delegated to them from the Cabinet. Given
the scale of these budgets the Local Committee has a significant role in ensuring
both effective and efficient use of resources. This is done through periodic reporting
as part of area plans and service monitoring. Through this local Councillors have a
challenge role to ensure that resources (whether managed locally or centrally) are
being delivered in an efficient, effective and locally responsive manner.

County Council limitations on local flexibility

It is important that Local Committees operate within a clear framework for
accountability and performance and deliver value for money on behalf of the County.

The budgets that Local Committees manage are obviously delegated to deliver
specific executive functions, and outcomes set out in the Council Plan and Cumbria
Sustainable Community Strategy. As such budgets have been delegated for a
specific purpose. For some budgets there is clearly a high level of discretion as to
how outcomes are delivered, whilst for others the Local Committee are either
operating within County policies such as the Local Transport Plan, or the role of the
Local Committee is to monitor pre-determined contractual arrangements such as in
the case of integrated youth support and money advice.

There is a duty on the Council to pursue value for money. This applies equally
where services are provided under Local Committee or Cabinet oversight. In
making decisions Local Committee Councillors need to consider that they are
achieving the outcomes that they are responsible for in the most economic and
efficient way.

Standing orders set out the principle that the Local Committees can make decisions
in respect of revenue virements, but that these must be reported to the Corporate
Director – Resources. If they are outwith the guidelines set out in this report they
would also need to be referred to Cabinet for approval.

The budget areas where Local Committees do have greatest discretion relate to:
           General budget
           Neighbourhood development/community engagement, after taking
            accounting of area support team commitments
           Neighbourhood Forum Grants


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                               page 30
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

                 Rent support to community groups (formerly known as „leases for
                  voluntary organisations‟)
                 Social Care grants
                 Appointment of Governors

There are also restrictions on the flexibilities between capital budgets. The
responsibility for preparing a plan or strategy for the control of the Authority‟s
borrowing or capital expenditure must be referred to Council under the provisions of
the Local Government Act 2000. Therefore in respect of the capital programme,
virement of an amount from one scheme programme to another is subject to the
approval of Council.

Legal limitations on local committees

In discharging functions, all decisions must be:

           in accordance with any relevant strategy or plan agreed by the Council;
           in accordance with any policy, strategy, plan or criteria agreed by the
            Executive;
           within approved budget;
           where appropriate taken after consideration of advice by the Monitoring
            Officer or Section 151 Officer (the person responsible for ensuring
            arrangements for the proper conduct of the Council‟s financial affairs and
            monitoring their adequacy and effectiveness in practice);
           in the case of a key decision it is included in the Council Forward Plan at
            the earliest possible stage; and
           carried out with the agreement of any other affected Local Committee.

Under the scheme of delegation the Cabinet may require a matter in relation to an
executive function due to be considered by a Local Committee to be determined by
itself, in which case the delegation of that matter to the Local Committee shall cease
to apply.

Your Area Support Manager is the first point of call for advice and support on these
issues. Heads of Legal Services and Finance and their staff can provide detailed
technical advice.

Community influence in the use of resources

The County Council supports approaches which help community members to
influence and where relevant determine budget decisions. This approach to
involving residents is often called participatory budgeting (PB). This directly involves
local people in making decisions on the spending and priorities for a defined public
budget. PB processes can be defined by geographical area (whether that‟s
neighbourhood or larger) or by theme. This means engaging residents and
community groups representative of all parts of the community to discuss and vote
on spending priorities, make spending proposals, and vote on them, as well giving
local people a role in the scrutiny and monitoring of the process and results to inform
subsequent PB decisions on an annual or repeatable basis."

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                   page 31
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

Participation ranges from giving members of the public a vote on local budgets to a
range of forms on consultation and engagement. Each type of participation is
different and will have different effects, but there are three main ways that
participation offers benefits:
     It can improve the democratic process, widening participation and re-
        invigorating the role of local authorities, local councillors and civil society, and
        increasing trust in public institutions;
     it can improve the effectiveness of public spending by improving the way
        money is invested, how service provision is monitored, and by increasing the
        knowledge available to the local authority and public bodies when undertaking
        service planning; and
     it strengthens the community and voluntary sector by investing in services
        essential to poorer communities, so enabling their development, by increasing
        the number of people taking part in local democratic processes, and it builds
        social capital by creating forums for local groups to meet, negotiate and take
        decisions together.

This approach is not a panacea for the problems of local democracy and poor public
services. It is not a replacement for traditional representative democracy or other
forms of local partnership, community development and participation. It should
always operate with and alongside other processes. But PB does focus on public
budgets, community development and on direct democracy, creating authority wide
and multi agency processes around an annual cycle of participation. Community
involvement can reconnect citizens with their local authorities through its core focus
on the three inter-related issues of transparent local taxation, broad democratic
engagement and effective public expenditure.

Most people involved in influencing budget decisions agree that one of their most
important benefits is the deepening of the exercise of democracy, through the
dialogue of public authorities with their citizens. Another benefit is that Participatory
Budgets make the Council more accountable to its citizens and contribute to the
modernisation of public service management. Citizens can go from being simple
observers to protagonists in public administration, that is to say, full, active, critical
and demanding participants. In this area above all, involvement gives citizens better
opportunities for access to works and services like basic sanitation, street paving,
transportation improvements, and health and educational centres. By participating
actively in the PB process, the citizens define their priorities, and in doing so have
the chance to improve their quality of life, in a relatively short timeframe.
Participation also stimulates processes of administrative change and feeds into the
strategic planning process of the Council.

Participatory budgeting, from the Council‟s perspective:

        improves the transparency of public administration and efficiency in public
         expenditures;
        encourages citizen participation in decision-making and in the allocation and
         oversight the use of public funds;
        demands increased accountability of public leaders and managers;
        enables collective prioritisation and co-management of resources;
Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                     page 32
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
        generates increased trust between the government and the population;
        creates a democratic culture within the community; and
        strengthens the social fabric.

Councillors are constantly responding to competing pressures and agendas. You will
be balancing party allegiances, electoral opinion and a wide range of statutory
regulation and monitoring. It is not surprising you may feel that participatory
budgeting might only complicate your work and reduce your role as an elected
representative. Experience can show the benefit in your role. We can organise
briefings for you to discuss opportunities to use different types of PB locally. It is an
important principle within PB that elected councillors or statutory accountable bodies
retain their democratic powers and you need to factor in an opportunity for them to
formally approve decisions taken by community participants to fully legitimise the
process.

Your Area Support Manager can provide you with further information about PB.




3.2 Using budgets to „give‟ grants, „invest‟ in
developments and „buy services‟
Third (voluntary and community) sector organisations are at the heart of community
life. They play a vital role alongside public services in supporting local people. The
Council explicitly recognises the significant contribution of the sector, and the
difference this makes to individuals and families across Cumbria.


Giving, investing and buying!

There are a variety of ways in which community groups are supported. This is either
through professional support from your area support team, other council staff or
support from outside organisation or through direct financial support. Often the
request is for financial support. Over the years the Council has developed support
arrangements for different budgets and a rationale for determining the best type of
support. This rationale is included in the Council‟s „third sector strategy‟ but there
are three main ways in which the council financially supports groups: by giving,
investing and buying.

Giving usually occurs with the smaller more local budgets, such as neighbourhood
forum grants, where a small sum will make a big difference to a local community
group and allow it to undertake a community service. Sometimes this is called
„building community capacity‟ but the end result is a small group better able to
support itself and community members. Giving should not occur year on year to the
same group for the same purpose. This would simply be a subsidy, would
encourage dependency, and would be unlikely to promote long term sustainability in
the community group. There are a number of rules limiting the scale of giving.



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 33
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

Investing usually involves supporting a project through which a community group
will be better able to provide a new service or respond in a better way to a new local
challenge. The intention of the investing is that the organisation can in the medium
term undertake an additional activity or be more sustainable in the delivery of
existing services. Investing also occurs where a group is „in trouble‟ and needs short
term support. Here there must be a clear „exit‟ strategy to manage expectations, so
that groups are aware of the likelihood that funding will cease after a period of
support.

Buying occurs where there is a clear relationship between the financial inputs and
the outputs. The Council‟s procurement strategy outlines the approach to open
competition for services. In the long term this approach is often welcomed by
community groups


Looking at these different categories, support through local committee budgets
roughly breaks down into the following categories

 Buying                                     Investing                             Giving

 Cumbria Youth Support                      Early Years grants (to support        Neighbourhood
 Services contract monitoring -             development of facilities for young   Forum grants to
 oversight of services provided or          children, including childcare)        local community
 procured in relation to Cumbria                                                  groups – grants being
 Youth Support Services,                                                          agreed after
 including: assessing local needs                                                 community
 for services across their area;                                                  involvement
 noting the contract management
 procedures for delivering these
 services, and monitoring the
 value of current services in local
 communities

 Money Advice contract                      6-12 grants to support the            Social care grants –
 monitoring - oversight of                  development of provision for          support to groups to
 services procured with CAB in              children – especially though          purchase equipment
 relation to the a money advice             community groups providing            through which they
 contract, including: assessing             afterschool support, holiday          develop their capacity
 local needs for services across            playschemes and other types of        or capabilities
 their area; noting the contract            play/ social activity
 management procedures for
 delivering these services, and
 monitoring the value of current
 services in local communities
 School Crossing patrols (cost              DRAMA/Credit Union
 of designated patrols)                     Development To identify and
                                            support local options which
                                            develop debt management advice
                                            particularly through credit unions,
                                            across the area.

 Governor services (costs of                13-18 age group youth grants to
 managing governor                          support the development of non-
 appointments)                              accredited youth provision



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                                 page 34
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
 Neighbourhood development                  Sandgate Pool (South Lakeland)
 (staffing and operational costs of         – subsidy of the running costs of
 area support teams)                        this pool

 Most highways budgets buy                  Limited period rent subsidy to
 services from the Council‟s                selected community groups,
 contractors including Capita and           usually using Council premises.
 Amey                                       Subsidy is usually tapered over a
                                            number of years during which
                                            groups become financially
                                            sustainable
 Highways Stewards operation
 To provide oversight of relevant
 services provided or procured by
 the Council in relation to the
 Highways Steward Contract,
 including: assessing local needs
 for services across their area;
 noting the contract management
 procedures for delivering these
 services, and monitoring the
 value of current services in local
 communities

 In terms of Capital budgets most           Local capital schemes budget
 highways budgets buy services              seeks to invest in a particular
 from the Council‟s contractors             scheme to respond to a community
 including Capita and Amey                  concern
 although improvement schemes
 by definition should represent an
 investment in infrastructure
 which meets community needs

Although at the margins the distinction between these three categories can be
blurred it is helpful when making awards to community groups for councillors to be
clear about the purpose of the budget and how this relates to the Council‟s overall
objectives

There is no fixed relationship between giving, investing and buying. Within the
Council policy framework it is for local committees to set the balance between giving
and investing. It can often be much easier to identify the impact of buying, and more
difficult to identify medium term benefits of giving.

Overall given the scale of the Council‟s resources available, councillors should
expect to receive regular reports on the outputs and outcomes of specific awards
and of the overall benefit, through which the use of resources can be justified. This
should occur at least annually

Funding covering more than one year should not be in the form of a „grant‟ but be
seen as an investment which requires some sort of contract and a commitment to
regular reporting

Your area support team will be able to advise more on these matters.



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 35
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

3.3 Community grants
This section outlines the processes currently in place including:

                                                         Money Advice Contract with
        Neighbourhood Forum Grants
                                                          Citizens Advice Bureaux
                                                         DRAMA Debt Management
        Rent support to community groups
                                                          Advice
        Social Care grants                              School Crossing Patrols

Neighbourhood Forum grants
Each Neighbourhood Forum has a set amount of grant money allocated by local
committee and available to voluntary community groups. Each area can have its
own funding priorities, depending on identified local needs and wants. Mostly, grant
requests are heard at the public meetings with the applicant being asked to give a
brief presentation about the project, and the people at the meeting being invited to
comment, ask questions and finally to indicate whether they are supportive of the
grant. The County Councillors take this input into consideration when making the
final grant recommendations.

Before being considered by the forum, applications are reviewed by your
Neighbourhood Development Officer (NDO) who can also help identify other local
funding sources. The NDO acts as the link with the local organisation and the
Forum.

Area Support staff can offer help and advice to community groups and may know of
additional funding available in your area.

Rent support to community groups (formerly known as
„leases to voluntary organisations‟)

The Council is a major property owner and has a long history of sharing and co-
locating accommodation with third sector organisations. We also lease our surplus
premises to community groups and where possible provide subsidised rents.
Through local committee and neighbourhood forum grants we have supported many
group‟s building and development plans. The recent national Quirk Review
suggested that Councils and community groups can make a more effective use of
these resources. Quirk recommended that Councils and other public bodies take a
more corporate approach to their overall asset portfolio and their relationships with
the community sector. The Council‟s Third Sector Strategy and Asset Management
Plan provide the overall framework for this support.
Subsidised rental of surplus premises is one of a number of ways (including
managing the use of surplus premises, discounted purchase of surplus premises
through the well being policy and financial support to community groups planning
new provision.


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                    page 36
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
The current rental support arrangements are longstanding and are currently subject
to a review. The current arrangements involve properties surplus to Council use
being offered (through consultation with neighbourhood forums) to third sector
organisations prior to sale; and the allocation of a local committee budget (in
2009/10 £88000) to support subsidised use of Council premises.

The management of these arrangements involve local third sector organisations,
Capita, the Property Unit and Community Unit. Briefly the Community Unit supports
third sector organisation to become sustainable and manages the reporting to local
committees and councillors. The Property Unit manage arrangements relating to the
physical fabric of the building.

For premises in community use the following support process will be provided.

Advice to supported third sector organisations
Annually the Council (through its Community Unit) will
  1. evaluate the impact of existing revenue support
  2. ensure that support is actively managed with an expectation that revenue
      support will diminish over time.
  3. recommend to local committees the best form of future support to ensure
      premises are economically sustainable within a seven year period..

Communication with supported third sector organisations
  4. contact third sector organisations reporting any agreed financial support and
     the expectation for reduced future funding.
  5. report on the scale and impact of support to Local Committees

Development of supported third sector organisations
  6. individual third sector organisations will be offered a meeting to discuss and
      prepare a brief plan for their future use of the building and its funding. This
      should include the utilisation of premises and an understanding of the
      proportion of remises used daily and income secured (eg letting/sub-letting).
      Such a plan should be a prerequisite for future funding.
  7. Where required, the County Council will provide early support and guidance
      to all groups seeking to develop a robust and sustainable business cases for
      community buildings. This support will be provided through the third sector
      infrastructure forum and the third Sector programme manager.

Wider support to third sector organisations
   8. Where required, the County Council will provide early support and guidance
      to all groups seeking to develop a robust and sustainable business cases for
      community buildings. This support will be provided through the third sector
      infrastructure forum and the third Sector programme manager.
Property management
Each year Capita on behalf of the Council will
    9. Undertake an inspection of premises and identify any concerns over condition
    10. Assess the capital value of each asset and the deferred receipts to the
        Council


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                               page 37
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
Your Area Support team can provide further information about support for
community groups.


Money advice – currently contracted to Cumbria Citizens
Advice Bureaux(CAB)
The Council commissions services from many third sector organisations. One such
service is „money and debt advice‟ which is currently delivered for the Council
through the Cumbria CAB network. The contract for this work was awarded after
open tender using EU rules. It amounts to c.£317,000 per annum for each of three
years and commenced in September 2007. The contract holder has to deliver a
money/debt advice service to CLS (Community Legal Services) Quality Mark in both
generalist and specialist casework to a minimum of 1200 clients countywide each
year. As part of the contract each client also receives a financial assessment, which
includes an income maximisation statement and a benefits check. The Council‟s
Community Unit monitors the contract on a quarterly basis. In the first year of the
contract the number of cases delivered countywide was 1813, exceeding the
required minimum by 613, equating to a performance of 151%.

For further information on this service please contact: Georgina Ternent  01768
812365  georgina.ternent@cumbriacc.gov.uk


Debt Rescue and money advice (DRAMA)
In 2009/10, recognising the additional needs for debt and financial management
advice, the Council agreed to a budget growth bid of £150,000, the bulk to be
managed by local committees to support local financial inclusion activity, including
the development of credit unions as part of DRAMA (Debt Rescue and Money
Advice). A delivery plan for credit union development has been developed and will
be presented to local committees early in 2009/10. For 2009/10, Cabinet‟s view in
agreeing the budget devolution was that this budget should not be vired and that the
budget should focus on investing through the third sector in the development of
credit union network across Cumbria.

Your Area Support Manager will be able to advise more on this.


Social Care grants

Social Care grants, are intended to support local organisations which provide care
and support to vulnerable or disadvantaged people living in the area. There is
considerable flexibility in the use of such awards. Most grants are usually made to
community groups and are on a small scale. Most are therefore regarded in the
„giving‟ category. Awards often align with other forms of Council support.

For further information on this service please contact your Area Support team.


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                               page 38
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

3.4 Cumbria Highways
Highways maintenance is a Statutory County Council function where Councillors can
expect a lot of Stakeholder and resident interest in the range of activity. The Council
maintains highways through Revenue budgets which are devolved to Local
Committees (except those for Public Footpaths & Bridleways, Winter Gritting and
Bridges & Structures).

Improvements are carried out through the Transport Capital Programme. Highways
Capital budgets are centrally controlled, County Council determining the Transport
Capital Programme in February each year. The following activities are devolved:
     NPRN Maintenance – [non principal road network (ie not „A‟ roads)];
     APM (Annual Package of Measures) - minor works for provision of measures
      associated with Cycling & Walking, Public Transport Infrastructure, Local Safety
      initiatives and Local Traffic initiatives.

Highway Faults are to be reported via the Highways Hotline
Tel:0845 6096609 or by Email contact@cumbriahighways.co.uk.
Highway Works are generally undertaken by Cumbria Highways a partnership
between the County Council, Amey Infrastructure Services (contractor services) and
CAPITA-Symonds (professional consultant and financial services).

Exceptions to this are:
    the M6 motorway and A66,A69, A590 & A595 (Sellafield to Bridgefoot) trunk
       roads which are the responsibility of the Highways Agency;
    the A7,A594/595/596, A689(M6 to A69) and A6071 (A69 to M6) roads in north
       Cumbria which are shortly to be maintained by Connect CNDR;
    and, in Carlisle District, the Urban (30 mph & less, speed restricted)
       Unclassified (not „A‟, „B‟ or „C‟) Roads, Public Footpaths & Bridleways which
       are maintained by Carlisle City Highways.

The Highways Hotline assigns reported faults to these organisations as appropriate so
there is no need to worry about „who maintains what‟ when reporting faults.

"The Rough Guide"- to Cumbria Highways. All Councillors (and Parish /Town
Councils) are provided with a copy of this booklet, which gives more detailed
information on Highways. There is also more information on the County Council
Website under “Transport & Roads”

Local Committees and their Councillors are each served by Area Engineers (contact
details in Section 1.2). New members are particularly encouraged to make contact
with their Area Engineer for early orientation. As a County Councillor you will be
provided with a summary performance report in respect of highway work and issues in
your local area on a monthly basis. Staff in the Cumbria Highways Service will be able
to explain the procedure for tracking enquiries you or your residents have made in
order to check progress of individual items.

Other key County staff are:


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                              page 39
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
Andrew Moss - Head of Highways & Transport; John Robinson - Network Manager;
Jim Smith – Senior Area Engineer; Geoff Holden CNDR(Carlisle Northern
Development Route) Project Manager; Liz Hillier - Capital Programme Manager; Doug
Coyle Traffic Manager ; Rob Lawley - Revenue Programme Manager .and Malcolm
Sutherland Bridges & Structures Manager

For rural Electoral Divisions it is useful for Councillors to get to know their Highways
Steward(s), these are Cumbria Highways employees who do minor highways works,
oversee cyclic maintenance operations and provide a link to Parish Councils. Parish
Councils covered by this service have recently received their programme of activity to
31st December 2009. To get more details and a larger scale map of the boundaries
and the Highway Steward(s) covering your Division contact: Rob Lawley, Revenue
Programme Manager Tel 01228 227654 e-mail: rob.lawley@cumbriacc.gov.uk

A sample map of the Carlisle area covered by each Highways Steward is shown
below, together with a List of Responsibilities giving more detail about Highways
operations and who to contact over typical issues.




Carlisle Highways Stewards
Area 7 – Stephen Winter              Dalston & Wetheral   Mob: 07747 627 490
Area 8 – Paul Francis                Brampton South       Mob: 07710 710 822
Area 9 – Martin Stothart             Longtown             Mob: 07725 445 499
Area 10 – Arthur Scorer              Brampton North       Mob: 07967 050 304
Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 40
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________


Highway Stewards and other Local Highway Contacts
Below is a list of different highway related issues and who is responsible and/or who to
contact for dealing with the matter.

The Hotline service provides full 24/7 access to allow reporting of highway issues
0845 609 6609. Minor non urgent repairs should be forwarded to the relevant Highway
Steward to be picked up on routine programmed Parish visits. In the urban area of
Carlisle equivalent minor non urgent repairs are dealt with by the Highway Response
Teams.

Particular to the Carlisle District area, Carlisle City Council have opted to carry out the
highway maintenance work on all the urban unclassified roads throughout the district
area. An urban unclassified road is defined as any road having a speed limit of
30mph or 40mph. The work undertaken by the City Council is managed by the Area
Engineer and reactive issues are logged by the Highway Hotline and passed to the
City Council‟s Technical Services team for action.

Highway Steward:-
  Non urgent and small scale highway                    Minor repairs to road signs
    maintenance
  Cutting of grips to clear water from                  Locating gullies
    highway
  Filling of small pot holes                            Clearing vegetation from footpaths
  Cutting back overhanging vegetation                   Clearing blocked gulley
  Cleaning of road signs                                Clearing culvert / drainage outfalls

Highway Hotline 0845 609 6609 (REMEMBER this is a 24/7 service)
  Emergency and dangerous defects     Damage to Bus Shelters
  Highway damage as a result of road  Collapsed ironwork
    traffic accidents
  Faults to Traffic Lights            Missing covers – gullies, stop taps,
                                          manholes
  Faults on Street Lights             Pedestrian guardrail damage
  Dangerous Potholes requiring        Diesel / general spillages
    immediate action
  Gritting of Icy Roads (Salting)     Spilt loads – materials, containers,
                                          vehicle parts
  Re-filling salt bins and heaps      Damaged cattle grids – loose /
                                          missing rails
  Grass Cutting and Roadside Verges   Damage to highway structure
                                          (bridges and retaining wall)
  Property flooding as a result of    Fallen trees
    Highway drainage
  Removal of obstructions from        Dangerous Kerbs / Flags
    highway


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                      page 41
                    Members’ Local Briefing Pack
      _______________________________________________________
Cumbria Highways Engineer or Inspector
  Request for New bus shelter                           Request for new parking
                                                          restrictions
      Highways and Street Works Permits                 Request for changes to speed
                                                          restrictions
      Request for new Traffic Calming                   Highway improvements – eg.
                                                          surfacing, drainage, footways etc.


Distict Council
  Public open spaces – parks and                         Fly Tipping
     cemetaries
  Abandoned Vehicles                                     Street Cleansing and litter picking
  Car Park maintenance                                   Animal Carcases on the highway
  Litter bins/park benches                               Land drainage issues

Public Rights of Way –
   David Gibson, 01228 606558 countryside.access@cumbriacc.gov.uk




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                      page 42
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

3.5 Children‟s Services - Early Years Resources

Supporting Children and Families Team

The Supporting Children and Families Team (formerly known as Cumbria Sure Start)
offer advice and support on a range of areas, to improve outcomes for Children,
Young People, and their families, in line with the „Every Child Matters‟ agenda. Our
remit covers:

        Early Years and Childcare
        Children‟s Centres and Extended Services in Schools
        DCSF Capital and Revenue Funding Strategies for the above
        Family Support, including Parenting Support and Preventative Strategy
        Access, Inclusion and Information services for children and their families

Each area of this work supports and complements the other, so that children and their
families can access the services they need, for as long as they need them. Services
are available from conception if parents attend ante-natal care in Children‟s Centres;
and once born, children may attend childcare or require other services that will
continue during their transition into school and throughout their school life.

Early Years and Childcare Team

The role of the Early Years and Childcare Team is to provide support, advice and
guidance under the statutory duty of the Childcare Act 2006, working with all Private,
Voluntary and Independent childcare providers and with schools developing childcare.

Their remit includes:
    Ensuring and maintaining Sufficiency of Childcare across the County, for
       parents to access work or training
    Raising the quality of early years and childcare provision
    Ensuring compliance with statutory regulations ( OfSTED)
    Improving the outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
    Qualified Teacher input in Children‟s Centre footprints
    Supporting the inclusion of all children in early years and childcare
    Supporting settings in writing competent funding applications to a variety of
       funding bodies including the Local Committee Early Years fund. This includes
       an appraisal of applications against the set criteria and conditions.

Working with Local Committee

Currently the Early Years and Childcare Team present periodic update reports and
requests for grant funding from the Local Committee Early Years Budget. The
information for latter is checked to ensure that it is in line with the Bidding Criteria and
will fulfil the conditions of financial assistance (see below)



Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                   page 43
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
New procedures

A formal annual report could be introduced in 2009. This would report on the impact
the Local Committee Early Years funding has made and outline future priorities, as
well as the general position of early years and childcare sector, and other areas of the
Supporting Children and Families Team‟s work in the area. This could be further
enhanced by informally discussing issues on a regular basis at a working group for
children and young people.

Interface between Supporting Children & Families and the Community Unit regarding
the 6-12 age range grants budget

Currently the Community Unit consults with the Early Years and Childcare team on
grants from groups within the early years age range, as specialist knowledge is
needed when assessing the bids against the criteria, especially where issues such as
Childcare Sufficiency are called into question. A proposal will be put forward that this
process is extended to the 6-12 funding, given that our teams are not only supporting
childcare providers, but also Children‟s Centres and schools, who will be working
alongside groups requesting funding.

There needs to be a mechanism to ensure there is no duplication of services (or
funding) and awards complement other provision available in the area.

Where applications are from childcare providers especially out of school groups
further considerations will need to be taken into account, such as-
     Safeguarding
     OfSTED registration,
     Policy and procedures
     Relevant accounting procedures
     Management of childcare provision in relation to outcomes for children
     Ensuring relevant update of Childcare Tax Credit

In addition, Children and Families Information Service provides information on
Childcare provision and other types of children‟s activities, for families calling in to
their service, and in regular newsletters, they could offer further promotion for some of
the activities funded

Bidding Criteria And Guidelines For Early Years Applications

Funding is aimed at provision catering for children within the Early Years Foundation
Stage. All applications must be consistent with the aims and objectives of the County
Council Corporate Plan, Cumbria Children and Young People‟s Plan.
In addition, applications for grants over £3,000 must show how they are working
towards the Integrated Children‟s Services Agenda. If requesting sustainability
funding, applicants should demonstrate, how the project will achieve sustainability, or
cover a gap in provision for a certain period of time.

Funding is available for specific projects that support the inclusion and outcomes for
all children linked to their attainment.

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 44
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

Applicants must prove they are:
- OfSTED registered Private, Voluntary or Independent childcare providers ie
   Childminders, Day Nurseries, Pre-schools and Out of School providers.
- Committed to working in partnership with all other agencies and relevant Children‟s
   services staff.
- Committed to promoting and practising equal opportunities and inclusion.

Provisos: Funding will not normally support:
    New childcare places, as this is subject to the Local Authority‟s Childcare
      Sufficiency duty.
    Provision managed by school governors – except where this is essential to the
      Childcare Sufficiency in the area.
    Provision for which a school is funded through its school budget.
    Retrospective applications.
    Loan re-payments
    Redundancies or debt
    Individual Training fees.
    Grants to individuals (except in exceptional circumstances or as outlined above
      ie Childminders)
    Funding for provision of children 6 yrs and over

It is expected that Provision will apply only once in any financial year
Where grant is not claimed, or fully spent, within 12 months of the award being made,
the grant offer will lapse.

Guidelines
When completing the Application form applicants are asked to ensure that the
following points are either addressed on the grant application form or in a covering
letter.

1. Finances
   You must demonstrate that you can handle any money you are given. Audited
   accounts are not essential but your income versus expenditure for the past year
   must be corroborated, so evidence may be in the form of bank statements etc.
   You should show your projected costs for the project and any projected income; do
   not worry if you have contingency funds. Although the committee will not fund a
   profit it is financially prudent to have funds in hand. Explain why you have
   surpluses and highlight any earmarked funds.

2. Sustainability
This includes maintenance, insurance and renewal budgets. If you will need
continuation funding for your project then you need to show where this will come from.
This additional funding does not necessarily need to be secured, but you should be
able to demonstrate that you can reasonably expect to receive funding from those
sources. It is not sufficient to say „from fundraising‟ – details need to be more specific.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 45
                   Members’ Local Briefing Pack
     _______________________________________________________
3. Management
There needs to be a clear management structure for the project in addition to a
recognised legal structure. Copies of a constitution must be included in the
application. Leases and other agreements needed to be copied, signed and enclosed
with the application.

All applications must be discussed with a Children‟s Services Officer. Remember to
allow plenty of time for the application to be considered. Your Children‟s Services
Officer can provide you with dates of local committee meetings and will specify a
return date for applications.


Early Years - General Conditions for the offer of financial assistance

1.     You are required to maintain a bank account in the name of the group. All
       withdrawals from the account must require a minimum of two signatures, and in
       the case of an organisation employing staff; at least one signature must be a
       member of the management committee. In all cases, the Treasurer of the
       organisation must be one of the cheque signatories.

2.     Assistance towards the capital cost of new and additional facilities; or
       sustainability will only be made where membership to the organisation, where
       appropriate, is available to the public in general and is directly linked to the
       targets outlined in the Cumbria Children and Young People‟s Plan.

3.     Grants, or any part of the grant, must be only spent on the proposal for which it
       was given. If for any reason there is a need to vary the way in which the grant is
       spent, written permission to do so must be obtained. Grants will not be made
       retrospectively except in exceptional circumstances

4.     When a commitment is made to offer assistance on a £ for £ basis (match
       funding) you should produce financial evidence to show how the funds have
       been secured.

5.     You must ensure that you fulfil any obligations stated on your constitution and
       comply with licensing laws or other regulations.

6.     County Council support should be acknowledged on all printed publicity and in
       information given to the press and media.

7.     You should actively promote and practise equal opportunities in all areas of your
       work in accordance with relevant legislation.

8.     In the event of your organisation ceasing to operate or failing to undertake or
       complete the activity for which the grant was offered within 12 months, the
       County Council reserves the right to reduce the grant or seek recovery.

9.     In the case of a grant being awarded to buy equipment (100%) such equipment
       shall belong to Cumbria County Council and a sticker to this effect shall be
       attached to such equipment. In the event of the organisation ceasing to exist, the
Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 46
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
       Treasurer of the organisation shall notify the relevant Early Years Senior
       Childcare Officer immediately on such occurrence.

10. Access should be given to financial records and information for the purpose of
    monitoring the use of the grant and compliance with the conditions. A copy of
    audited accounts should be included with the application or up to date copies of
    bank statements.

11. Your accounts should be independently audited at the end of the financial year
    (this need not be done by professional audit). Your auditors must not hold any
    other office in the organisation.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                           page 47
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

3.6 Children‟s services - Cumbria Youth Support Services
(CYSS)
“Youth work helps young people learn about themselves, others and society through
activities that combine enjoyment, challenge, learning and achievement. It is a
developmental process that starts in places and at times when young people
themselves are ready to engage, learn and make use of it. The relationship between
youth worker and young person is central to this process.”
                                                 (CYSS Service Specification 2009-12)

From 01 April 2009, accountability for CYSS commissioned youth work services for
13-19 year olds was devolved to Local Committees. Commissioned services have
been procured for 2009-2012 and approved by Cabinet. There is no grant funding
attached to this service.

CYSS is responsible for delivering on the corporate objectives for youth work, and
commissioning services that take account of young people‟s needs, responsiveness
and the priorities in the Children and Young People‟s Plan. The development of this
commissioning approach provides Local Committees with a model for greater locality
involvement in procurement to complement the Councillor involvement that already
takes place through the Supporting People Commissioning Body.

Local Committees have developed local arrangements with CYSS, whereby Elected
Councillors act as „youth champions‟ for young people and youth work services, either
through Children and Young People‟s sub-groups or named Councillors working with
CYSS Locality Officers. CYSS report on the progress and performance of
commissioned youth work contracts on an annual or bi-annual basis dependant on
each Local Committee‟s requirements.

CYSS commissioning aims to reach 25% of the local youth population to participate in
a variety of structured youth work activities. Our 3 year contracts are working towards
a higher percentage of activities occurring during evenings, weekends and holidays,
with an emphasis on Friday and Saturday. We will still continue to offer activities in the
daytime Monday to Friday, linked to work with schools, colleges, specialist services
and those young people who may need additional targeted support. Each
commissioned contract holder has a detailed Delivery Plan that can be reshaped to
meet the needs of young people.

CYSS also make regular contributions to the local strategic developments of other
children and young people‟s services e.g. Extended Services and Children‟s Centre‟s,
sports, arts and culture, libraries, faith groups, leisure services, voluntary and
community services. During 2009-10, our local strategic target with partners is to
encourage over 75% of the local youth population to participate in all activities on offer
in the locality.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 48
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________



CYSS Key Contacts

CYSS Function or Area                  Contact           Details

Management of Service                  Chris Reeve       Commissioning Manager
                                                         01768 812050
                                                         chris.reeve@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Planning and                           Mike Conefrey     Strategic Manager
Commissioning                                            01768 812050
                                                         mike.conefrey@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Young People‟s Learning                Beverly Morgan    Strategic Manager
and Engagement                                           01768 812050
                                                         beverly.morgan@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Quality Assurance and                  Heather Dakin     Strategic Manager
Workforce Development                                    01539 773488
                                                         heather.dakin@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Allerdale                              Vacant            Interim Locality Officer
                                                         01946 506232
                                                         paul.mcloughlin@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Carlisle                               Joanne King       Locality Officer
                                                         01228 226939
                                                         joanne.king@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Copeland                               Paul McLoughlin   Locality Officer
                                                         01946 506232
                                                         paul.mcloughlin@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Eden                                   Kath Calvert      Locality Officer
                                                         01768 242071
                                                         kath.calvert@cumbriacc.gov.uk
Furness                                Graham Bassett    Locality Officer
(Barrow Borough,                                         01229 404105
Ulverston and Broughton)                                 graham.bassett@cumbriacc.gov.uk
South Lakes                            Lynn Robinson     Locality Officer
                                                         01539 773487
                                                         lynn.robinson@cumbriacc.gov.uk




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 49
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________


3.7        Electoral Division Local Capital Scheme
This new budget is intended to provide a capital sum to support a local project or
programme of works which provides long term benefit to communities in each
electoral division, either as part of the Council‟s service development (eg highways
improvements) or through a project managed by an outside body. The scheme is
intended to help resolve major local problems already identified through local
community engagement and to underpin Council Plan themes. It is proposed that
County Councillors can – through the Area Support Team - propose one or more
local schemes for each division within an overall programme of activity. These
proposals will be submitted to local committee for approval.

This amounts to £12,000 per electoral division to support local projects or
programmes of works which met local needs and support the Council‟s corporate
objectives. To be of real value the scheme is also likely to help resolve major local
problems recognised within the Council Plan, Cumbria Local Area Agreement
outcomes, and Cumbria Sustainable Community Strategy.

The budget allows each County Councillor to
              propose a project or programme of works
              support projects inside and outside of their electoral division;
              combine their allocations with other County Councillors to support
               larger scale projects; and
              ideally commit to projects before the end September 2009
               (recognising the impact of local elections) to ensure funding is spent
               during the current financial year. In 2010 the proposed deadline for
               projects is the end of June)

Meeting central government / external audit requirement - Rules for capital
expenditure

The accounting regulations which the Council must follow are rather prescriptive
when it comes to capital expenditure. To be classified as capital, expenditure must
reflect the acquisition or improvement of an asset which delivers benefits to the
council for a period greater than one year. (Expenditure on assets which deliver
benefits for less than a year is deemed to be revenue and must be charged as such
in the Council‟s accounts.)

As a secondary test, the capital expenditure must qualify in accordance with the
Council‟s de-minimis policies. “De-minimis” is the limit below which items that are
capital are deemed to be not material in terms of the scale of the authority‟s overall
operations - and which are therefore charged to revenue. Cumbria CC has a de-
minimis level of £12,000. Providing each ward member with a capital „pot‟ of
£12,000 presents an obvious dilemma since, at first sight, they would need to spend
the whole sum on one item of a capital nature in order to meet both tests. Any
spend on items costing below £12,000 would be classified as revenue – and would
therefore produce budgetary difficulties as we would have no revenue provision for
these items (one of the prescriptive regulations mentioned above is that, whilst the

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                               page 50
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
council can use revenue funds to support capital expenditure it can, under no
circumstances use capital funding to support revenue expenditure).

There is one proviso to the otherwise golden rule around de-minimis limits and this is
the „annual programmes of work‟ approach. An example of this might be, for
instance, access arrangements in schools - where an authority provides an annual
sum in the capital programme to meet the cost of access work across all of its
schools. Each individual job may only cost – for example £600, but the overall
programme expenditure totals £60,000. So whilst the individual job is below the de-
minimis level of £12,000, the overall annual programme expenditure exceeds it and
all of the individual jobs making up the £60,000 are properly classified as capital.

In completing their year end quality checks, external audit will generate a simple list
of all individual items charged to capital, compare that to the council‟s de-minimis
limit and challenge any item which is below that level. If staff are unable to justify
these items by reference to an approved annual programme, then the items will be
classed as revenue. Depending upon the scale of the issue, this may have a double
impact - in terms of the accounts being criticised and the council, late in the day,
being required to fund a revenue charge – which will impact on balances – hence
the reference above to „budgetary difficulties‟.

County Councillors can support £12,000 allocation on one item of a capital nature
and that will satisfy the regulations. Alternatively, if individual ward members on
each local committee were willing to „pool‟ their capital allowance, that would provide
a total capital sum ranging from £108,000 for the Eden Local Committee to £216,000
for the South Lakeland Local Committee.

If individual members on each local committee were to propose a range of capital
investment measures within their locale up to their £12,000 limit and all member
proposals were amalgamated, then a number of annual programmes of work could
be constructed for each local committee, as exemplified below:

                                        £‟000
          Theme 1                     100,000         Small highway improvements
          Theme 2                      50,000         Support for youth centres
          Theme 3                      35,000                       Etc
          Theme 4                      31,000                       Etc

          Total                       216,000

An individual county councillor‟s support for £4,000 spend on Theme 1 work in
his/her ward and the remaining £8,000 on Theme 4 would, under this regime, count
as capital. This somewhat complicated approach would require some initial detailed
consideration by members to arrive at an agreed allocation of their local budget,
technical validation of the proposals by staff and monitoring of expenditure
throughout the year to ensure that the accounting conventions were being met – but
it would enable us to avoid any year-end budgetary embarrassments.

Assessing schemes

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                page 51
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

As the scheme is new, all county councillors are likely to have a number of questions
about what can be achieved through this budget. The provides some frequently
answered questions which attempt to answer the most common questions. Your
area support team will be able to provide you with further support to allow
programmes to be brought forward. In summary projects should:
              be able to be seen to contribute towards Council Plan priorities
              demonstrate outcomes within 2009/10
              Meet central government / external audit requirements

Frequently Answered Questions About Local Capital Schemes

Q. What criteria must projects comply with?
A. the criteria are fairly open, but projects must
     be capital in nature – the accepted definition of capital being “expenditure
       which provides benefits for a period in excess of one year.”
     help to deliver solutions for critical issues that have identified locally by the
       community
     make a contribution to solving problems the Council and partners have
       identified in their key strategies
     demonstrate outcomes within 2009/10.

Q. Who makes the decision on these projects?
A. You as a county councillor can propose one or more local schemes which can be
„called off‟ against the LCS budget. These proposals will be checked to ensure they
comply with the criteria and included in a local committee report for the next cycle of
meetings. If the report is approved, either a cheque will be raised for the community
group or external agency or an instruction or order issued if the work is to be
progressed internally or through existing contractors such as Capita or Amey

Q. Is there a lot of form filling?
A. No. there is a form on the internet which requires a few details about the project.
The form is similar to the neighbourhood forum application form and like that
requires an estimate of the costs. County Council staff or other partners will be able
to help you get these estimates which should include the costs of managing and
delivering the project not just the cost of materials.

Q. How do I put forward a project proposal for the LCS scheme?
A. Please make contact with your neighbourhood development officer (NDO) or
Area Support Manager who will help progress your idea.

Q. What is the deadline for County Councillors to submit their LCS
applications?
A. To ensure the work is done within the financial year, the deadline for receiving
applications is end September 2009.

Q. Can other county council funding be used alongside this fund?
A. In most cases we‟d expect that other budgets would be available to support a
local initiative. This may be raised by the community, other partners such as police,

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                       page 52
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

districts or health, or from another local part of the council‟s services such as youth
work, children‟s centres or highways or from other community grants.

Q. How do I decide what schemes to sponsor?
A. Your NDO can provide you with a list of the key community concerns in your area,
local issues which have been identified through neighbourhood forums and other
community event, or through partners such as parish councils.

Q. Do you have a shopping list of costs?
A. We do know some indicative costs of some work such as dropped kerbs (£500-
700); a pedestrian refuge (£9000), bus stop poles (£300); zebra crossing (from
£11,000), but these costs can vary depending on the situation. As all of these costs
are below the £12,000 limit they would need to be part of an agreed programme (as
per the guidance in Appendix 2). For non highways schemes community groups
will often have had access to a quantity surveyor who can estimate building costs or
tradesmen who can estimate heating or similar costs
Q. Do I need to speak to anyone else about an idea I already have?
A. You do need to have some evidence that your project meets and is seen to meet
community needs. To progress there must be evidence of a local need and how the
project can resolve or mitigate this. Government might call this approach
„participatory budgeting‟ but essentially we want you to be able to show the
community that we recognised and responded to local needs. That means we need
some good evidence. Your NDO can help you compile this evidence.

Q Can I use this budget to support a local community group.
A. The budget can be used to provide capital grant support towards improvement of
a building such as a community centre or sports facility but cannot be used to pay for
running costs. There are alternative revenue budgets available – for example
neighbourhood forum budgets – which may be able to help where short term
revenue support is needed.

Q Is this just about highways improvements?
A. It is perfectly possible that the LCS budget is used to support highways
improvements in your community, but it‟s worth being aware of the other local
needs, and about existing programmes of works likely to be progressed through
highways area plans.

Q. What restrictions are there on a capital budget like this?
A. The purpose of capital budgets is to support long-term investment in projects
requiring – from a community perspective - relatively large sums to acquire, develop,
improve, and/or maintain a capital asset (such as land, a community building or
road). The assumption is that at the end of the project there will be a fixed asset of
greater value which will secure community benefit in the long term.

Q What sort of projects could councillors support through this budget.
A. Examples of possible projects which would respond to both local needs and
strategic priorities include
     a local bus shelter – a project which promotes access to services and
       facilities by public transport, walking and cycling (NI 175)

Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 53
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

        support for small scale affordable housing scheme - which contributes to
         targets for Number of affordable homes delivered (gross) (NI 155)
        a project which supports recycling (eg a recycling bank) which helps reduce
         residual household waste per household (NI 191)
        an environmental project which will - Improve street and environmental
         cleanliness (levels of litter, detritus, graffiti and fly posting) (NI 195)
        support for a small scale highways improvement such as traffic calming which
         would improve road safety – this could reduce number of people killed or
         seriously injured in road traffic accidents(NI 47)
        supporting purchase of a heating system for a community centre which would
         secure its long term use as a community hub and offer a resource to
         community groups. Such as scheme could be seen to directly support a
         „thriving third sector‟(NI7) Young people‟s participation in positive activities
         (NI110), a venue where people could be helped to stop smoking (NI123)

Your area support team should be able to help you tie in a local project to strategic
priorities.

Q. Do I need to find other funds to match the contribution the Council is
making.
A. No, but its always good to be able to pool budgets to secure greater benefit
locally so it‟s worth being aware of all the local community plans and people involved
in developing these. Again your neighbourhood development officer can help you
with this task.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 54
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

3.8 Blending and braiding cash & kind resources

Devolved decision making allows funds and resources to be used in more flexible,
coordinated, and sustainable ways. This can involve the blending and braiding of
funds and resources to encourage cross-agency collaboration and, in turn, to improve
the outcomes for all.

Often no single agency or groups can pay for and provide the array of community
services needed to effectively meet the often complex needs in communities. When
collectively pooled, however, these resources can produce positive outcomes, well
beyond the scope of what any single agency or service can hope to mobilise on its
own.

The great advantage of local decision making is that it supports intelligent coordination
of services and budgets to meet community needs. This can mean at the local
committee level:

           supporting the needs of children, young adults and the community at large
            may all be met through investment in a single community facility;
           obviating the need for a school crossing patrol through investment in a
            pedestrian crossing

Clearly there are more opportunities when external funding is also considered.
There has been an increased recognition in the Council that blending and braiding
resources from different funding streams is a practical strategy. However, this often
has to happen at the local level with local initiatives melding resources and services.
This is where local facilitators such as your area support team or service specific
locality teams. They can play a critical role in bringing together traditionally separate
programs and services with separate funding streams. When we convene these
different parties, they can identify mutually beneficial ways to blend and/or braid
resources.

“Blended funding'' is used to describe mechanisms that pool ££s from multiple sources
and make them in some ways indistinguishable. Blending may require the changing or
relaxing of regulations guiding relevant government, county, district or parish funding
streams by policy makers at the regional, county or local level to permit program
flexibility, and change the way services are structured and delivered.

Blended funding has certain advantages and appeal because it offers significant
flexibility for county and local agencies, and reduces work required for reporting and
accountability measures. However, blending funds is often more politically difficult
because agencies forfeit control of their funds and their ability to track funds to a
single service-delivery point. Often agencies are reluctant to contribute to a blended
fund, or will contribute only small amounts to pay for activities that cannot be billed to
a specific funding source. Nevertheless, under carefully constructed circumstances,
blending funding can simultaneously allow significant flexibility, greater resource
impact, and better outcomes.


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                   page 55
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________

4        Taking Decisions & Local Committee Day

4.1 Local Committees - Functions and Responsibilities
In comprising part of The Executive, Local Committees are delegated their powers
from it and exercise both non-executive and executive functions. Detailed regulations
have been made setting out those functions that cannot be an executive responsibility
(Local Authorities (Functions and Responsibilities) England Regulations 2000) (eg.
Determination of the council‟s policy framework, regulatory matters etc). The detailed
powers of Local Committees are as laid out in the Constitution Part 3 (Responsibility
for Functions) pages 3-19 to 3-23.

http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/elibrary/Content/Internet/536/647/378341044.pdf

More information on the role and functions of Local Committees can be found

http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/council-democracy/councillors-democracy-
elections/local_committees/yoursay.asp

Executive decisions whether taken by Cabinet, Local Committees or by an Officer
acting under delegated authority may be „called-in‟ by any three or more members of a
Scrutiny committee. This is where Scrutiny members believe they have evidence
which suggests that the executive decision was not taken in accordance with the
principles set out in Article 16 (Decision Making) of the Constitution. If a valid call-In is
received the decision cannot be implemented at least until the relevant scrutiny panel
has considered the matter and if the matter is referred back to the decision maker not
until the recommendations of the panel have been considered. The detail of the call-in
process with the associated deadlines etc can be found in Part 4E of the constitution
(pages 4E 12 -14) or can be viewed here:

http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/elibrary/Content/Internet/536/647/37834101114.pdf

At the Annual General Meeting on 18 June the Council will begin to operate under the
„Strong Leader Model‟. This option was agreed by the County Council In September
2008 in preference to the other option allowed under the legislation of the „Elected
Mayor‟ model. The link to the report considered by Council at that time is attached
below:

http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/CouncilMeetings/Content/Public/2969/396931181.pdf

4.2 Newly devolved responsibilities
Cabinet has recently in May 2009 reviewed Local Committee Terms of Reference
following the original piece of work undertaken by the Constitution Review Group and
scrutiny will also be considering the proposed changes shortly. The link to the report
and its appendices are attached below:




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                    page 56
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/CouncilMeetings/Content/Public/2941/3994012147.pdf

http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/CouncilMeetings/Content/Public/2941/3994012216.pdf

http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/CouncilMeetings/Content/Public/2941/3994012248.pdf



4.3 „Its not always about spending money‟

Local Committees are certainly not „just highways committees‟. They constitute local
arms of the Council‟s Executive functions covering an increasingly wide range of
devolved functions, budgets and responsibilities. As indicated elsewhere within this
briefing, Local Committees are an important context from which to develop partnership
working with district councils and other public service & third sector agencies. They
are also places where CCC Councillors can collectively exercise their „community
leadership‟ role in relation to other centrally managed Council services, and to be
places where local communities and individuals can bring their concerns


Public Participation – Local Committee arrangements


The County Council is committed to providing opportunities for the people of Cumbria
to have a say in the Council's work and is keen to encourage the public to attend
meetings, listen to debates and give residents the opportunity to make their views
known on issues they feel strongly about. The public participation scheme provides
guidelines for public involvement in council meetings be they meetings of the County
Council, Cabinet, Local Committees and Development Control & Regulation
Committee. The pages listed below give a full briefing on how the system operates
and on what the public can expect when speaking at a public meeting.
http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/council-democracy/councillors-democracy-
elections/decisions/participation/default.asp


Consultations or briefings on Directorates‟ Service Reviews; Council/Cabinet
policy formation or review.

Over the last couple of years there has developed increasing opportunities for
centrally managed services to bring locally sensitive briefings to local Councillors.
These might include Service plans, specific strategies, information sessions with
requests for Councillor feedback etc. This is especially important when it is also
necessary for those services to consult with Councillors, in their localities, in respect of
proposals to vary or change the delivery of services. There is a requirement on senior
managers that Councillors be informed at very early stages of potential changes to
council Services affecting their local areas.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                   page 57
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
Scope for elected Councillor Learning & Development sessions at the end of LC
formal proceedings

Councillors have opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge as County
Councillors by participating in the corporate learning and development programme,
and also through regional and at times national programmes. There are also
occasions when it is possible, either by Local Committee members‟ request, or by
directorates‟ initiative that learning & development sessions can be organised to take
place for an agreed period immediately following the end of local committee business.
Local Committees are Public Meetings, often with media interest, and with heavy
agendas. Such formal occasions are not the best environment for practical learning/
development with the necessary questioning and discussion.


4.4 Area Overview

Locality/ Area Plans:

There are four main „drivers‟ for the emergence of area planning arrangements within
the County Council.

Firstly, the County Council must demonstrate that it has a coherent approach to
having a „sense of place‟ i.e. that in higher level strategies such as the sub-regional
Economic, the Cumbrian Sustainable Community Strategy, and the Cumbria
Agreement (LAA) with government, there is clarity of understanding and analysis
about the hierarchy, needs and interdependence of Cumbrian localities. The County
Council‟s six local committees are a central focus for this, especially as the council
has chosen more recently to add more responsibilities and budgets to the already
significant and long standing devolved arrangements.

Secondly, there is therefore, within each directorate, a necessity to make Directorate
Service Plans, locality sensitive to their local identification of needs.

Thirdly, the views of Cumbrian communities as local experts must be heard, valued,
and understood. Community based action planning is not new to Cumbria, whether
rural (through Market towns initiative, or parish plans or their clustering processes); or
urban (through SRB, coalfields, or European programmes and the like).

Lastly there is the opportunity on improving service efficiency and effectiveness by
„joining up‟ individual services in ways which make more sense in local communities.

The Area Plan provides a framework through which to identify the priorities and
aspirations for each of the six the local areas, which in turn are able to inform the
distribution of budgets and allocation of resources. They provide a snapshot of the
area and the issues which are of concern to local residents and partners. The
priorities are identified through various channels including the local communities, key
partners, the Council and of course the councillors‟ community leadership role.


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                  page 58
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
The plan has a very specific physical area dimension which also identifies distinct
natural communities below the district level. It is envisaged that the Area Plan will
provide the local dimension of the Council Plan, and with partners, evidence the joint
working necessary to make local impact on such as LAA outcomes. By dividing it into
sub-sections, which cover the major strategic issues for the area (eg crime reduction,
environmental improvement, employment),it allows the County Council to easily
identify and co-ordinate activity across the county.

In addition to resource allocation, the plan provides a focus for local co-ordination and
action with partner organisations, which includes services and functions either
delegated to Local Committee, and managed through area teams, or dealt with at
corporate level. Actions which highlight Local Committee‟s influencing role are also
included within the plan.

During the year the plan acts as a performance monitoring tool to ensure that intended
outcomes are met and actions are re-adjusted as necessary. At the end of each
financial year Local Committee spends time refreshing the Area Plan to reflect the
changing needs and expectations of the community for the forthcoming year.

Consideration of other „overview‟ functions, including Emergency Planning
arrangements

The CCC constitution sets out that Local Committees shall:
 (a) consider, in co-operation with the other tiers of local government, the social,
     economic and environmental development of the area concerned, including
     contributing to Neighbourhood Renewal Strategies, Community Strategies and
     District Council Corporate Strategies as appropriate;
(b)  consider reports on Emergency Plans so far as they affect their area;
(c)  consider all relevant Inspections Reports, including follow-up reports for
     services provided in their area; and
     make recommendations to the Council, Executive or Overview and Scrutiny
     Committee thereon as appropriate.

These are referred to as „non-executive‟ functions; and together with other service
specific responsibilities, and with local performance tracking of CCC services; they
can provide elected Councillors in Local Committee with a variety of opportunities to
take a strategic perspective. This type of overview becomes an important context from
which to provide input into the Locality/ Area Plan arrangements referred to above.

Contributing to the LSP Sustainable Communities Strategy for the Local
Committee area.

Already mentioned in chapter 1, the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) is a
required partnership document, an aspirational level document setting out a long term
vision and road map to achieve a stated set of objectives typically including:
Economic; Healthy; Safer; Stronger; Lifelong learning; Environmental and other „well-
being‟ categories. Nested under the cumbrian sub-regional SCS and economic
strategy type documents, the (five) district level LSP strategy documents need to be
energised by the activities of the relevant LSP‟s key partners. CCC has determined
that Local Committees and their Councillors shall act as the locus around which wider
Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 59
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
CCC officer and member involvement is fixed. This positioning enables local
Committees of CCC to realistically be able to take an appropriate overview, to both
enable local devolved decision making and to advise the Executive in relation to non-
devolved activity of CCC.


4.5 Tracking Performance

The Council has made significant progress in its approach and execution of
performance management in the last five years, as evidenced through Audit
Commission corporate assessments. The Council continues to further embed its
performance management framework as evidenced by the „golden thread‟ running
through the Sustainable Cumbria our sub-regional Community Strategy, the Cumbria
Agreement, our LAA, to our Council Plan and down into our Service Plans.
Whether resources and tasks are corporately delivered, or devolved for delivery as a
result of Local Committee decisions, there must be a key role of Local Committees to
track performance not only of the services commissioned through local committees,
but also to sensitively track performance of the variety of CCC services delivered to
their areas.
It is this locality sensitive focus that contributes to Cumbria having a „Sense of Place‟
and an performance understanding that leads to differentiating services according to
levels and extent of local need.


Local Committees have traditionally had a good track record of monitoring
performance for those services and functions delegated to them. Their role in
listening and responding to the community has made this activity an essential element
of their work. Local Committees are able to scrutinise performance and to ask the
sometimes difficult questions. It is their ability to understand the needs of the area,
and the communities they are representing, which enables them to „sense‟ check that
services are being delivered appropriately.

Until more recently, corporately managed services have received performance
monitoring attention from local committees on a more ad hoc basis, as and when
directorates offered or have been requested to report.

In the last year, however, there has been a shift towards more programmed reporting
with particular piloting around the work of the „Safer & Stronger‟ agenda and more
robust highways performance tracking including road safety. Childrens Services have
also made a commitment to present Educational attainment performance tracking
reports and other school related reports twice a year.

Recently Cabinet has taken devolution decisions enabling performance tracking of
such as the Money Advice contract with CABx, and also in respect of the IYSS
framework delivery contract with youthwork providers in each LC area. As briefing on
these new devolution arrangements sits elsewhere in this pack, it is worth focussing
on the following:


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 60
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
„Stronger Communities‟

The stronger aspect of Local Committee‟s work centres around community
engagement and the work undertaken to support Councillors‟ community leadership
role. There is a requirement to improve community aspirations and demonstrate that
residents can make a difference to their area. The „Duty to Involve‟ legislation, which
came into force in April 2009, places a responsibility on public service providers to
inform, involve, consult and devolve, which are the 4 building blocks of effective
community engagement. The Community Unit monitors and manages its performance
based on indicators which are reflective of these 4 elements. These include:
     Minimum requirement of community forum events per year
     Increase the numbers of people attending these events
     Encourage greater involvement of partner agencies

Through the attainment of these performance indicators we aim to increase public
involvement and participation in local decision making. To achieve these goals there is
a requirement to be responsive, pro-active and creative in the way that we engage
with the community. Therefore, in addition to receiving quantitative information Local
Committee also receives more qualitative information in the form of case studies or
narrative. These provide Councillors with a flavour of the detailed work which is being
undertaken in the community.

Issues raised by the community are monitored during the year in order to track
emerging trends and to ensure appropriate action is taken. Again, this activity forms
part of „Duty to Involve‟, allowing the community to instigate action. Issues which do
not receive a satisfactory response can be escalated through the Councillor Call for
Action process, as described earlier. The monitoring of these issues over a 12 month
period allows Local Committee to gain an understanding of the major issues
experienced by the community. These contribute to Councillors future planning
activity and help to inform Local Committee‟s priorities for the following year.

We are continually striving to improve the format and content of Neighbourhood
Forum events and to increase residents‟ ability to influence local decision making.
Residents are asked to provide feedback on their experience, the venue and the
content of the event. The results of these are collated and monitored to provide the
unit with information to identify areas for improvement or development.

The neighbourhood grants, which are administered by the Community Unit on Local
Committee‟s behalf, are also subject to monitoring. In addition to the due diligence
undertaken when administering the grants, there is also a monitoring process to look
at where the grants have been distributed over a set period and to ensure they are
supporting a broad cross section of community groups. These grants often act as a
catalyst for additional match funding to be drawn in and, at the end of a 12 month
period, we are able to determine the percentage increase to Councillors‟ initial
investment.

In addition to the stronger agenda detailed above, the quarterly performance
monitoring report has recently started to include limited information on crime statistics


Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 61
                  Members’ Local Briefing Pack
    _______________________________________________________
and anti-social behaviour. These are broken down by wards and can be compared to
other parts of the county.

Highways

Cumbria Highways have also recently developed quarterly reporting to Local
Committees on road safety. Councillors‟ views were sought on the preferred format of
the monitoring report which are now being implemented to create a report which is
clear, concise and relevant. This performance information is now assisting Councillors
in their decision making role and enabling them to target their budgets where it will
have most impact.

It is envisaged that the Area Plan, which contains very specific priorities for each area,
will provide the focus for targeted performance monitoring. This will allow Local
Committees to monitor the broader cross-cutting issues for their area and ensure that
services are linking together to meet the expectations of the community.




Cumbria County Council - Community Unit (June 2009)                                 page 62

								
To top