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Press releases

A new parish council is to be created for Barrow on April 1, 2023, after the move received formal backing from the Shadow authority for Westmorland and Furness Council.

A review of community governance arrangements in Barrow was launched earlier this year in response to the creation of two new councils in Cumbria; Westmorland and Furness Council and Cumberland Council. The two new councils will replace all six district councils across the county as well as Cumbria County Council from 1 April, 2023.

Members of the Shadow Westmorland and Furness Council voted to support the creation of the new parish council for the unparished areas of the borough at their latest meeting. They also agreed to a contribution of £100,000 towards the cost of the first election in May 2023.

A Re-Organisation Order has now been made to enable the new parish to come into existence. The year of election will be 2023 and every four years after.

A copy of the order - a legal document - is available to view at Barrow Town Hall during opening hours and via Barrow Borough Council's website: Barrow BC - Community Governance Review

Councillor Derek Brook, Barrow Borough Council's Lead Member for Community, said: "This is an historic moment for the unparished communities in Barrow.

"Town and parish councils can take on a range of powers and responsibilities and provide a voice on many local issues.

"It was wonderful to see support for the proposals arrive during the consultation process from residents, from Barrow Borough Council members as well as the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council."

The new parish of Barrow will be made up of the eleven existing Barrow Borough Council wards covering the unparished area of the borough: Walney North, Walney South, Barrow Island, Hindpool, Central, Ormsgill, Parkside, Risedale, Hawcoat, Newbarns and Roosecote.

The number of parish councillors elected for each ward will be: Walney North 2; Walney South 2; Barrow Island 1; Hindpool 2; Central 2; Ormsgill 2; Parkside 2; Risedale  2; Hawcoat 2; Newbarns  2; Roosecote  2.

The new Barrow Parish Council will be housed in Barrow Town Hall from April 2023 under a licence agreement with Westmorland and Furness Council, with detailed terms to be agreed by officers in the coming months.

Areas of the borough already represented by a town or parish council are unaffected by the change.

Councillor Brook added: "The process of consulting on and creating a new parish or town council is complex and my thanks go to everyone involved, and in particular those who provided vital feedback as part of the Community Governance Review.

"The future looks very exciting for the communities in question and I look forward to seeing the formation of the new parish council next year."

Cumberland Council Plan 2023-2027

The Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council has agreed its ambitious Council Plan for its first four years.

The plan is a key document outlining the focus for the new authority, as well as how it will operate and what residents can expect. The plan puts the health and wellbeing of Cumberland residents at the heart of everything the council seeks to achieve.

Central to the plan is the Council's Vision. This is that "Cumberland Council takes a fresh approach to the delivery of inclusive services that are shaped by our residents and communities. By enabling positive outcomes for health and wellbeing, prosperity and the environment we will fulfil the potential of our people and our area."

To improve the health and wellbeing of its residents, the council will focus on four key areas.

The first is making Cumberland a fairer place by tackling inequality and exclusion in all aspects of society, including racism.

The council also seeks to be a high performing organisation which provides excellent, efficient and enterprising services for everyone. Central to achieving this is through the use of technology but also by planning services in close collaboration with residents and partners.

The council will help support the local economy through its procurement processes and its assets, and do what it can to ensure people have the skills they need to succeed.

Also key to its plans is action on the environment, supporting the growth of a low carbon economy and help for those affected by extreme weather events.

Presenting the plan to the Shadow Authority, Cllr Bob Kelly, Shadow Executive member with responsibility for Policy and Performance, said: "I hope that everyone can find something to take away from this plan, which is designed to represent the whole council and how we will approach the provision of services for our communities.

"There are four key areas of focus. The health and wellbeing of the people of Cumberland will be at the heart of everything we do. We'll engage better with our communities and look to involve them as much as possible in how we provide services for them. Tackling the climate crisis is also something at the forefront of our activities as will be tackling the inequalities which can have a huge impact on the lives of so many people.

"This is a working document. It will be reviewed and amended as we progress over the coming years, but this is very much a roadmap outlining how we want that journey to proceed."

Speaking on the vote to approve the plan, Cllr Mark Fryer, Leader of the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council said: "I'd like to thank all my fellow councillors who approved the Council Plan. This is a plan for everyone at the new council - indeed for every resident in Cumberland - and it is a starting point for how we as a council will operate and provide services.

"I'd also like to thank those who took the time to provide feedback to our consultation. This conversation was just the start of an approach which will see us engaging more with our communities on how we should provide the services they need. We know there are challenges ahead which is why we want to involve our partners and residents as much as possible.

"One comment from the consultation stood out for me. This said that the plan was "all about people". I make no apologies for that. It is. As the plan makes clear, we want our residents to be happy, healthy, and safe throughout their lives. We want to promote independence, but also to be there with help early on when needed. And we'll support our most vulnerable residents to live well. This plan is all about people."

The draft plan underwent a consultation during the summer with members of the public, staff, as well as local partners and organisations. In total over 500 responses were received.

The vote on the Cumberland Council Plan was taken at the meeting of the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council held at Lakes College in Workington on 18 October 2022. The plan had been agreed by the Shadow Executive on 19 September 2022.

The plan also outlines the core set of values for the new organisation. These are to be compassionate, innovative, empowering, ambitious, and collaborative.

Copies of the Council Plan can be found on the Council's website.

Around three-quarters of respondents surveyed have backed the vision, priorities and values being proposed by the new Westmorland and Furness Council.

Hundreds of responses were received during a four-week engagement process to test the emerging vision outlined in the draft Westmorland and Furness Council Plan.

The engagement was an early opportunity for people to share their views on the proposed priorities and strategic aims in the draft Council Plan. The plan also captures the values and principles that will underpin how the council will work.

Feedback during the initial conversations was received from key stakeholders, including members of the public, community and charity organisations, partner organisations, businesses and council staff.

Drop-ins were held at supermarkets and community buildings across the new authority area, in Dalton, Barrow, Kendal, Alston, Walney, Appleby, Penrith, Shap, Kirkby Stephen, Ulverston and Windermere and individuals and organisations were able to comment through an online survey, a series of online briefings or fill out comment forms and pick-up copies of the Council Plan document at libraries.

The draft Plan outlines a vision to make Westmorland and Furness 'A great place to live, work and thrive - now and in the future'.

Priorities for the new council include addressing health and social inequalities, measures to tackle climate change, highways and transport, empowering and working with communities, children's care, the economy and housing.

The survey and workshops asked the following main questions:

  • do you agree that our values are right for the new Westmorland and Furness Council?
  • do you agree that this is the right vision for the new Westmorland and Furness Council?
  • do you agree that our priorities are right for the new Westmorland and Furness Council?

A report to today's (Friday, 7 October) meeting of the Cabinet of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council in Barrow Town Hall included results of the initial engagement, which shows 77% of respondents support the vision, 73% support the values and 72% support the priorities in the draft Council Plan. Over 66% of responses received came from members of the public.

All the feedback received will now help to inform the final version of the Council Plan vision, values and priorities, due to be approved later this year.

The Cabinet report notes a number of changes and refinements will now be made to the draft plan in light of the engagement feedback, including better use of maps and infographics, additional material celebrating the communities of Westmorland and Furness and what makes them unique and a more active focus on equality and diversity and on connectivity, housing and the role of transport.

Once this strategic document is approved, Westmorland and Furness Council will continue to engage with residents, businesses, parish and town councils and organisations during the first full year of the new council after 'Vesting Day' on 1 April 2023, as it develops the detailed strategies that will deliver the agreed Council Plan vision and priorities.

Leader of Westmorland and Furness Council, Councillor Jonathan Brook, said: "Building the new authority is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way local government operates, making sure local communities are at the heart of everything the council does.

"Defining our vision and priorities is vitally important as we build the identity of the new council and our Council Plan is an important statement of intent, a document that provides a framework and a sense of direction.

"We are delighted that so many individuals, organisations and businesses have already taken the time to comment on the emerging vision and we are pleased to note that they think we are on the right track.

"We have always said that we want to be a listening council and that we want our communities to help us to shape the new authority, so it is important that we listen to the feedback received and we are already making some changes to the draft plan as a result.

"This isn't the end of the story though, and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in the discussion.

"At this stage our Council Plan can't include everything that the new council will be doing over the next few years. Much of that detail will come with the development of the strategies that sit underneath the vision and priorities, and we will be launching a comprehensive consultation exercise in the first full year of the new council to involve all our communities in that process to ensure this really does become 'Your Plan' for the future of Westmorland and Furness.''

Westmorland and Furness Council will be England's third largest unitary authority by area when it comes into effect next year. It will provide services to approximately 225,000 residents who are currently served by Barrow Borough, Eden District, South Lakeland District and Cumbria County councils, which are being abolished.

Westmorland and Furness Council will act in 'shadow' form for the next six months, as its councillors engage in the planning and preparation for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023.

Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils.

In the meantime, councillors on the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council will be working with the Local Government Reorganisation programme planning for the new council to 'go live' in 2023.

Cumberland Council Plan 2023-2027

The Shadow Executive for Cumberland Council has agreed to recommend its Council Plan for adoption at the authority's Full Council.

Members discussed the plan at their meeting in Carlisle held on 20 September 2022.

The plan is a key document outlining the focus for the new authority, as well as how the it will operate and what residents can expect.

Central to the plan is the Council's Vision. This is that "Cumberland Council takes a fresh approach to the delivery of inclusive services that are shaped by our residents and communities.  By enabling positive outcomes for health and wellbeing, prosperity and the environment we will fulfil the potential of our people and our area."

The draft plan underwent a consultation during the summer with members of the public, staff, as well as local partners and organisations. In total over 500 responses were received.

Overall, the plan was welcomed by the vast majority of people. Some 69% of respondents agreed with the vision in the initial draft - whilst only just over 8% disagreed with them. Over 70% of respondents agreed with the areas of key focus and the values.

As a result of the consultation the final plan includes some slight amendments to the original draft

Two issues have been given greater prominence in the plan to reflect the concerns of councillors and many people who responded to the consultation. These are tackling environmental resilience and climate change, as well as addressing inequalities which includes reference to food security and the food system. The right to food was the topic for a motion agreed at the Shadow Authority's Council meeting on 29 July 2022.

Speaking on the plan, Leader of the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council Cllr Mark Fryer, said: "I'm really proud of our Council Plan and to recommend it to Full Council for adoption. This plan sets out a strong vision for Cumberland and how we will operate. As I say in the introduction, there is a thirst, a drive, a passion from the newly elected Members and from our fantastic staff to embrace what Cumberland can be - what it will be. And the people of Cumberland will be our number one priority.

"I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to engage with us during the consultation and I'm really pleased to see that the vast majority of people thought it is in a good plan and on the right track.

"Our plan says we'll collaborate with our communities to build the services they need. I hope people can now see that we mean what we say. But we're about more than just listening. We're also about acting on that feedback. That's why we've amended the plan in the way we have.

"It's also why I'm confident that this plan not only enshrines the aims and objectives of our councillors, but also those of the people of Cumberland.

"But this is only the start of the process. We'll continue this engagement and working with our communities to make sure that the services the new Cumberland Council provides can meet the needs of the people of the area."

The central aim within the Plan is to: "improve the health and wellbeing of our residents. It is at the heart of everything that we do. We want them to be happy, healthy and safe throughout their lives. We will promote independence, but also make sure we provide help early when needed. When people are vulnerable, our services will support them to live well."

Supporting this central aim are four areas of focus. These are: addressing inequalities; local economies that work for local people; environmental resilience and climate change; and delivering excellent public services.

The plan also outlines the core set of values for the new organisation. These are to be compassionate, innovative, empowering, ambitious, and collaborative.

The plan will now be considered by the Shadow Authority's Full Council.

Executive members also agreed the arrangement model for the council's headquarters.

After a thorough assessment process, and taking into consideration the adoption of hybrid and remote working, the Executive has agreed on a series of "anchor" buildings which will mean the headquarters will not be a single focal point or building.

Instead, there will be a series of connected key buildings across Cumberland linking the main service centres of Carlisle, Workington and Whitehaven.

These buildings will be Allerdale House in Workington, the Civic Centre in Carlisle and Cumbria House in Carlisle, and Whitehaven's Market Hall and Copeland Centre.

Speaking on the decision, Cllr Fryer, added: "Providing accessible services is central to our new plan. Cumberland Council obviously needs a base. But by adopting this model we'll be anchored in all the communities we serve throughout the Cumberland area and be able to operate as flexibly as possible."

Full details of these, and other, agenda items can be found on the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council website: www.cumberland.gov.uk.

A new council has committed to 'anchoring' its position in all the communities it serves when it comes into operation next year.

The Cabinet of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council today (Monday, 12 September 2022) agreed to a distributed headquarters arrangement, with anchor buildings in all the key service centres of Barrow, Kendal and Penrith.

The decision means there will be no single HQ for the new council when it comes in to operation in April 2023.

A report to today's meeting recommended the anchor buildings as Voreda House in Penrith, South Lakeland House with the Town Hall and County Hall in Kendal and the Town Hall in Barrow.

Covering an area larger than Greater London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands combined, Westmorland and Furness Council will be England's third largest unitary authority by area when it comes into effect in 2023. It will provide services to approximately 225,000 residents.

The Cabinet report explained that the large, mainly rural, area covered by the new authority, with challenges of transport connectivity, meant Westmorland and Furness Council would need a 'decentralised approach to governance' to enable it to be close to geographically dispersed communities and to ensure that services are accessible to all residents, even in the remotest parts of the new council's area.

The report continued: "It is proposed for Westmorland and Furness that the functions of a HQ will likely be distributed across the authority, adopting a service centre model that supports the residents and communities it serves and anchors the authority within its wider communities. 'Anchor' buildings will be expected to serve as service hubs distributed across the unitary authority administrative area.''

This means the HQ will not be a single focal point or building. It will be a series of connected key buildings for the council across the footprint of the authority.

The report notes that there is a legal requirement to have a single registered office for the new council, for the purpose of receiving official documentation, including legal orders, notices and correspondence, but that this did not denote a 'hierarchy' between the buildings and that all anchor buildings would have equal status. It was recommended and approved that the recently refurbished South Lakeland House and Kendal Town Hall were suited to the purpose of registered office.

Westmorland and Furness Council Portfolio holder for Highways and Assets, Councillor Peter Thornton, said: "We need to make some important decisions about the way forward and how this council will run and operate.

"Five years ago, any business which owned an estate such as ours would probably propose wholesale rationalisation and build a new headquarters into which everything would be concentrated.

"But we have responsibilities to our communities and our towns.

"Covid has changed our world and the revolution in IT and remote working means that we no longer need to think about concentrating our business in one building and one centre.

"The manifesto on which this administration was elected said that we would keep local government centres in Kendal, Barrow and Penrith and today's decision fulfils that.''Westmorland and Furness Council will act in 'shadow' form for the next 10 months, as its councillors engage in the planning and preparation for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023.

Image of HM Queen Elizabeth II

In response to the news of the sad death of HM Queen Elizabeth II, Cllr Mark Fryer, Leader of the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council said: 

"This is a sad time for the nation. The reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has been a truly remarkable one in both its length and the changes it has seen. She has led with dedication and devotion to our nation and the Commonwealth and made frequent visits to Carlisle, Workington, Whitehaven and other parts of the Cumberland area. My thoughts are with members of the Royal Household." 

More details on the where you can offer your condolence, the laying of flowers and proclamation details can be found on the Cumbria County Council website

Tributes have been paid to the most remarkable Queen that our country has ever known, following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

A number of flags located around Westmorland and Furness will be flown at half-mast until 8am on the day following the State Funeral, except while the proclamation of the new King is made.

Condolence books will also be situated around Cumbria in key community buildings. The list of locations will be available shortly via the Cumbria County Council website

Condolence can also be left online on the Buckingham Palace e-Book, which can be found on the Buckingham Palace website.

The official proclamation will be made at St James's Palace, then at the Royal Exchange in the City of London.

The following day the proclamation will be made in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast before being cascaded to county, city, district and parish level.

In Cumbria, the County proclamation will be held in Carlisle, followed by district proclamations in Barrow, Carlisle, Kendal, Penrith, Whitehaven and Workington.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Leader of Westmorland and Furness Council, paid tribute, saying: "Westmorland and Furness joins the rest of the country, and the world, in remembering a Queen who has been an inspirational figurehead for so many years. Our sympathy goes out to her family for their personal loss.

"Her Majesty the Queen will always have a very special place in the hearts and minds of the people of this area.

"She was a frequent visitor to Cumbria and it was always our great pleasure to welcome her whenever she came to the county.

"As well as being our longest reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth has always shown great leadership and courage and always displayed a set of values that we could all aspire to.

"She was kind, considerate, caring and constant to her own principles in life. She put our country and the needs of its people above all else.

"We are fortunate that her successor, Prince Charles has long been a supporter of our county and we know our area has a special place in his heart. We hope that as our new Monarch, this special relationship will continue to develop and grow.''

A series of informal drop-in events have been confirmed so residents can have their say on the vision and priorities for the new Westmorland and Furness Council.

The community conversation drop-ins are being held at locations across the new authority area, starting in Dalton tomorrow and also including Barrow, Kendal, Walney, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen, Ulverston and Windermere.

Ahead of taking on services from April 1, 2023, the 'shadow' authority for Westmorland and Furness is drawing up its first Council Plan.

The drop-ins are an opportunity for people to share their views on the emerging priorities and strategic aims in the draft Council Plan. The plan will also capture the values and principles that will underpin how the council will work.

Drop-ins will be held on the following dates and locations:

Barrow area

Barrow Market:

  • Wednesday, 7 September, 11am-2pm
  • Friday, 9 September, 11am- 2pm

Round House, Biggar Bank Road, Walney Island:

  • Friday, 2 September, 10am-2pm
  • Friday, 16 September, 10am-2pm

Dalton Drill Hall, Dalton-in-Furness:

  • Thursday, 1 September, 4pm-6pm
  • Thursday, 8 September, 4pm-6.30pm

Eden area

Co-op, Appleby:

  • Tuesday, 6 September, 12pm-2pm

Co-op, Kirkby Stephen:

  • Wednesday, 7 September, 12pm-2pm

South Lakeland area

Westmorland Shopping Centre, Kendal:

  • Friday, 9 September, 11.30am-1.30pm

Booths, Windermere:

  • Thursday, 15 September, 11.30am-1.30pm 

Booths, Ulverston:

  • Friday, 16 September, 11.30am-1.30pm

At the drop-ins you will be able to find out more about the draft Council Plan, pick up a printed copy and complete feedback forms.

Priorities being discussed in the Council Plan include addressing health and social inequalities, measures to tackle climate change, highways and transport, empowering and working with communities, children's care, the economy and housing.

The draft Council Plan outlines a vision to make Westmorland and Furness 'A great place to live, work and thrive - now and in the future'.

The shadow council launched an engagement process this week to hear feedback on some of the content so far.

As well as attending one of the drop-ins, anyone wanting to find out more can read about the draft Council Plan. 

You can provide feedback through the Council Plan online survey.

Printed copies of the draft Council Plan can be picked-up at main libraries in; Alston, Barrow, Kendal and Penrith

Briefings are being held for key 'stakeholder' groups, including community and charity organisations and parish councils.

All the feedback received will help inform the final version of the Council Plan vision, values and priorities, due to be approved later this year.

Westmorland and Furness Council will then continue to engage with residents, businesses and organisations during the first full year of the new council after 'Vesting Day' on 1 April 2023, as it develops the detailed strategies that will deliver the agreed Council Plan vision and priorities.

Westmorland and Furness Council will be England's third largest unitary authority by area when it comes into effect next year. It will provide services to approximately 225,000 residents who are currently served by Barrow Borough, Eden District, South Lakeland District and Cumbria County councils, which are being abolished.

Westmorland and Furness Council will act in 'shadow' form for the next seven months, as its councillors engage in the planning and preparation for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023.

Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils.

In the meantime, councillors on the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council will be working with the Local Government Reorganisation programme planning for the new council to 'go live' in 2023.

A picture of the Cumberland plan document inviting residents to get involved in the conversation

As part of Cumberland Council's consultation on its draft Council Plan the public are being invited to join top councillors and officers for an online discussion this week.

Contained in the plan are the areas the council will focus on up until 2027, as well as how the council will work and what residents can expect. It has been drafted by Councillors led by the Shadow Executive members who are now asking local residents, business owners and organisations their views.

The consultation on the plan runs until 5 September and already hundreds of local people have taken the opportunity to have their say.

Now on Thursday (1 September) from 6.30pm to 7.30pm members of the public will have the opportunity to join new Deputy Leader Cllr Lisa Brown and Chief Executive Designate Andrew Seekings to hear more about the plan and share their views.

The session will take place online via MS Teams and can be joined by anyone via a link which is available on the Cumberland Council website at: https://www.cumberland.gov.uk/cumberland-council-plan

Writing in the Council Plan, Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, says: "There is a thirst, a drive, a passion from the newly elected Members and from our fantastic staff to embrace what Cumberland can be - what it will be. We don't have all the answers yet, we might get things wrong, but I can promise you that we are going into this with our eyes wide open. We will deliver better services, we will address the income gap and we will improve life for all."

Any change will be sustainable however - whether for the council's finances or the environment.

Cllr Fryer added: "Our people are our priority. That's it. It's that simple. We have this opportunity to change everything, to fix what isn't working, to look for new ways of delivering our services so they are the best they can be. We aren't afraid of a challenge. Local Government Reform is hard, it won't be easy, but it is also a gift, the chance to bring equality to the lives of those living in Cumberland. We plan to grab that chance and run with it."

People have until 5 September to find out more about the draft Council Plan and respond to an online questionnaire at:

https://www.cumberland.gov.uk/news/2022/have-your-say-how-cumberland-council-provides-its-services-1-april-2023

There are also a number of drop-in events being organised throughout the area and people can find out more at a number of local libraries. Details can be found on the Cumberland Council website.

Westmorland and Furness 'Council Plan: Have your say' logo

Residents, businesses and organisations are being invited to have their say on the vision and priorities for the new Westmorland and Furness Council.

Building the new authority is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way local government operates, making sure local communities are at the heart of everything the council does, that the new council delivers excellent services and at the same time creates efficiencies from more joined-up ways of working.

Ahead of taking on services from April 1, 2023, the 'shadow' authority for Westmorland and Furness is drawing up its first Council Plan.

The Council Plan will outline what residents can expect to see as the new authority's priorities and strategic aims. The plan will also capture the values and principles that will underpin how the council will work.

Priorities being discussed include addressing health and social inequalities, measures to tackle climate change, highways and transport, empowering and working with communities, children's care, the economy and housing. 

A draft Council Plan has been developed that outlines a vision to make Westmorland and Furness 'A great place to live, work and thrive - now and in the future'.

Now the shadow council wants to hear your views on the content so far.

You can read more about the draft Council Plan on the website.

You can provide feedback through an online survey

Printed copies of the draft Council Plan can be picked-up at main libraries in Alston, Barrow, Kendal and Penrith and a number of drop-in sessions are being arranged across Westmorland and Furness, where you can come along to find out more and complete feedback forms. More details about the dates, times and locations of these drop-ins will be released soon.

All the feedback received will help inform the final version of the Council Plan vision, values and priorities, due to be approved later this year.

Westmorland and Furness Council will then continue to engage with residents, businesses and organisations during the first full year of the new council after 'Vesting Day' on 1 April 2023, as it develops the detailed strategies that will deliver the agreed vision and priorities.

Leader of Westmorland and Furness Council, Councillor Jonathan Brook, said: "Defining our vision and priorities is vitally important as we build the identity of the new council.

"This drafting of the Council Plan is an important statement of intent, a document that provides a framework and a sense of direction.

"We want our priorities to really reflect what our communities want and need and our vision should really capture our ambitions as a council.

"Now is a chance to share your views as we shape that vision and our priorities for the new council.

"At this stage our Council Plan can't include everything that the new council will be doing over the next few years. Much of that detail will come with the development of the strategies that sit underneath the vision and priorities, and we will be launching a comprehensive consultation exercise in the first full year of the new council to involve all our communities in that process to ensure this really does become 'Your Plan' for the future of Westmorland and Furness.''

Westmorland and Furness Council will be England's third largest unitary authority by area when it comes into effect next year. It will provide services to approximately 225,000 residents who are currently served by Barrow Borough, Eden District, South Lakeland District and Cumbria County councils, which are being abolished.

Westmorland and Furness Council will act in 'shadow' form for the next seven months, as its councillors engage in the planning and preparation for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023.

Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils. 

In the meantime, councillors on the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council will be working with the Local Government Reorganisation programme planning for the new council to 'go live' in 2023.

A picture of the Cumberland plan document inviting residents to get involved in the conversation

Have your say on how Cumberland Council provides its services from 1 April 2023.

That's the message from the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council as it develops the authority's key priorities for the next four years.

Contained in the plan are the areas the council will focus on up until 2027, as well as how the council will work and what residents can expect. It has been drafted by Councillors led by the Shadow Executive members who are now asking local residents, business owners and organisations their views.

Foremost within the plan is the overall vision for the council. This is that "Cumberland Council will take a fresh approach to the delivery of inclusive services that are shaped by our residents and communities. By enabling positive outcomes for health and wellbeing, prosperity and the environment we will fulfil the potential of our people and our area."

To help achieve this, the council proposes four main areas to focus on. Local communities will have a central role to play in deciding how services are provided so that they meet local need. In addition, improving health and wellbeing will be central to everything the council does. 

Ensuring the council uses local suppliers as much as possible will be key to its economic and procurement strategy. This will mean that local businesses benefit as much as possible from the council's spending.

The final area it will focus on is to ensure it provides excellent public services that truly deliver what the communities in the Cumberland area need, when they need it.

The plan also outlines the council's operational approach. 

Council services will be accessible local communities and partners will be involved in their design from the start. Part of this engagement will also be to learn from best practice and improve when the organisation doesn't get things right.

The plan also outlines how working collaboratively with local people will be crucial if it is to successfully tackle the challenges the area faces, including the apparent health and wealth inequalities. Where possible the council will look to prevent issues before they become a major problem.

Writing in the Council Plan, Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Fryer, says: "There is a thirst, a drive, a passion from the newly elected Members and from our fantastic staff to embrace what Cumberland can be - what it will be. We don't have all the answers yet, we might get things wrong, but I can promise you that we are going into this with our eyes wide open. We will deliver better services, we will address the income gap and we will improve life for all."   

The council's ambitions for its services is matched by its desire to be a passionate advocate and leader for the area in order to unlock investment and help the local economy grow. It will also do what it can to drive change and use its assets to stimulate the local economy. 

Any change will be sustainable however - whether for the council's finances or the environment. 

Cllr Fryer added: "Our people are our priority. That's it. It's that simple. We have this opportunity to change everything, to fix what isn't working, to look for new ways of delivering our services so they are the best they can be. We aren't afraid of a challenge. Local Government Reform is hard, it won't be easy, but it is also a gift, the chance to bring equality to the lives of those living in Cumberland. We plan to grab that chance and run with it."

Finally the draft plan sets out the values for the new organisation. These are to:

  • Be compassionate 
  • Be innovative  
  • Be empowering 
  • Be ambitious 
  • Be collaborative

The full draft Cumberland Council Plan can be found on the website www.cumberland.gov.uk 

Anyone wishing to have their say can use the online form. There are also a number of drop-in events being organised throughout the area and people can find out more at a number of local libraries. 

The deadline for responses is 5pm on 5 September 2022. 


Cabinet members of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council have confirmed their support for proposals to create a new town council for Barrow.

A review of community governance arrangements in Barrow was launched earlier this year in response to the creation of two new councils in Cumbria; Westmorland and Furness Council and Cumberland Council. The two new councils will replace all six district councils across the county as well as Cumbria County Council from 1 April, 2023.

Progress on the review was noted at the 12 August meeting of the Shadow Authority Cabinet, held at Penrith Town Hall in Penrith.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Westmorland and Furness Council leader, said: "A large part of Barrow remains the only unparished area within the footprint of the new Westmorland and Furness Council so it is excellent news that a governance review is underway.

"The Shadow Westmorland and Furness Council has already indicated its support for this move so it's been wonderful to receive an update on the progress made so far and to hear about the level of support for this in the unparished area of Barrow.

"Town and parish councils provide a local voice and can bring significant benefits and opportunities to their communities. In fact, they are a vital part of our commitment to localism as a council." 

Parish and town councils make up the first tier of local government and some parts of Barrow's borough already have parish or town councils in place.   

The Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority Cabinet members heard that residents were invited to take part in a public consultation on the Community Governance Review for the unparished area of Barrow with the majority of the replies found to be in favour of the creation of a town council.

A second phase of consultation is now underway with residents within the area able to comment on the recommendations made by Friday, 26 August.

Responses will be considered by Barrow Borough Council's Community Governance Review Working Group and reported to a special Barrow Borough Council meeting in September. If the final recommendations get a green light, they will be sent to the Shadow Westmorland and Furness Council for approval. 

Subject to this approval, a Re-organisation Order would be made to enable a town council for the unparished area of Barrow to come into existence on 1 April, 2023. The year of election will be 2023 and then every four years after.

Areas within the borough of Barrow that are already represented by a town or parish council will be unaffected by the review.

Councillor Virginia Taylor, Westmorland Furness Council Cabinet member for Sustainable Communities and Localities, said: "Town and parish councils are a force for good.

"They celebrate local identity and are the closest tier of local government to the people we all serve.

"Town and parish councils can take on a range of powers for their area so they can reflect what their community needs and wants.

"We look forward to working with the team at Barrow Borough Council as this review continues to move forward."

A new authority - covering an area larger than Greater London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands combined - is laying out its ambitious vision for its area.

Westmorland and Furness Council will be England's third largest unitary authority by area when it comes into effect next year. It will provide services to approximately 225,000 residents who are currently served by Barrow Borough, Eden District, South Lakeland District and Cumbria County councils, which are being abolished.

Ahead of taking on services from April 1, 2023, the 'shadow' authority for Westmorland and Furness is drawing up a Council Plan to set out its vision, values and priorities.

The Council Plan will show how the council intends to realise the benefits offered by local government re-organisation by doing things differently and how it will prioritise its activities and services to achieve its strategic aims, along with the values and principles that will underpin how it works.

Priorities being discussed include addressing health and social inequalities, measures to tackle climate change, highways and transport, empowering and working with communities, children's care, the economy and housing.

The draft Council Plan was noted by a meeting of the shadow council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee this week (Wednesday), with comments from the committee forming part of initial feedback - along with views from conversations with stakeholders over the coming month - that will be considered by the shadow authority's Cabinet in October.

Once a 'high level' strategic direction is agreed in the Autumn, there will follow a period of engagement with residents, businesses and organisations during the first full year of the new council after 'Vesting Day' on 1 April 2023. This will help to inform the detail of the strategies needed to deliver key priorities.

The shadow authority's leader, Councillor Jonathan Brook said: "Our vision is one that guides the council to ensure that transition and transformation over the next five years enables Westmorland and Furness to be a great place to live, work and thrive now and in the future.

"Westmorland and Furness is unique, and we value the differences in our towns, villages and communities, and recognise their needs and aspirations are different. We will empower local communities and shape our services to recognise and embrace these differences by being innovative and flexible."

The authority area is predominantly rural and a major centre of farming and food production.

It is also home to a world leading visitor economy centred on the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks and is a hub for creative industries and excellent education opportunities.

Westmorland and Furness can also lay claim to world-class advanced manufacturing. In the Furness area, a highly skilled workforce manufactures some of the most complex and advanced technology in existence.

A report on preparation of the Council Plan to yesterday's Overview and Scrutiny Committee said: "The area is at the heart of a manufacturing and marine technology cluster which includes undersea lighting and electronics and offshore energy as well as a thriving port."

It also points to the near 12,000 businesses in the new authority's area which add £5.7 billion of gross value to the national economy every year.

The report acknowledges some of the challenges faced by the new authority, including an ageing population, areas with high levels of deprivation and changes to farm subsidies following the end of the Common Agricultural Policy.

To counter this, the shadow council has said it wants to grow the economy, provide housing and employment opportunities to encourage young people to stay and live and work in the area, also attracting more young families, skilled workers and wealth creators to relocate to the new authority area.

Climate change initiatives are also set to be at the forefront of council priorities with the ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030. Areas being targeted in proposals include promoting a low carbon economy, adapting to flood risk, promoting carbon sequestration and biodiversity through efficient land use and promoting zero carbon energy generation.

The report on the draft plan says it will be important to empower local communities to use their knowledge to develop solutions to their issues and to ensure areas evolve in ways which reflect their distinctive identities and priorities.

Westmorland and Furness Council will act in 'shadow' form for the next eight months, as its councillors engage in the planning and preparation for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023.

1 April 2023 is the point where Westmorland and Furness Council and its councillors will officially take over responsibility for all services across the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas and the existing Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils, along with Cumbria County Council, will be dissolved.

Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils.

In the meantime, councillors on the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council will be working with the Local Government Reorganisation programme planning for the new council to 'go live' in 2023.

Today (Tuesday 2 August), the Home Secretary has given the go-ahead for Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Peter McCall, to take on the governance responsibility for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service from Cumbria's Fire Authority, Cumbria County Council.

The decision made today follows a process that involved the production of a business case including a thorough consultation earlier in the year. The business case was formally submitted to the Home Office, and it was then independently assessed by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CiPFA).

Over the coming months, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and the Office of the PCC will continue to work closely to ensure a smooth transition of CFRS from Cumbria County Council to the PCC by 1 April 2023.

Cllr Janet Willis, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue, said:

"As a Fire Authority, we will ensure that Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service have the support they need to ensure a smooth transition to the Police and Crime Commissioner.

"Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service deliver amazing work throughout the county to ensure the people of Cumbria and our visitors are kept safe and we wish the Service every success in their future."

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer John Beard, added:

"As a result of this announcement, I would like to provide reassurance to members of the public that what Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service deliver will not change. This a change to the governance of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service only.

"We will continue to serve and protect our communities in the same way as we do now as we work to transfer the Service to a new governance structure." 

 


Andrew SeekingsA Chief Executive has been appointed to lead the new Cumberland Council. 

Andrew Seekings, currently the Chief Executive at Allerdale Borough Council and Interim Head of Paid Service for the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council, will officially start the new role from 31 December 2022. 

Andrew's appointment follows an extensive recruitment process, with a Senior Appointments Committee recommending Andrew as the preferred candidate and the appointment being formally confirmed at a meeting of Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council meeting today (Friday 29 July). 

Andrew has extensive local government experience and has worked for authorities including Allerdale Borough Council and Sunderland City Council. He has worked at a senior corporate leadership level for the past twelve years, including more than two years as Chief Executive at Allerdale Borough Council. 

Andrew has a strong track record in transformation and project management and has driven a major transformational journey for Allerdale and its residents in the last few years.

As one of three Senior Responsible Officers on the overall programme he has also played a leading role in the Local Government Reorganisation planning for Cumbria, which will see the biggest change to Cumbria's council structures since 1974, with two new 'unitary' councils being formed to replace the existing set-up of six district councils and Cumbria County Council. 

Andrew will be leading the new Cumberland Council, which is the new unitary authority for the geographic area currently covered by Allerdale Borough, Carlisle City Council and Copeland Borough Council.

Andrew said: "I am delighted to have been appointed as Cumberland's first Chief Executive. 

"I believe passionately in local government, and its role in creating the conditions for people and places to thrive. 

"Local Government Reorganisation gives a real opportunity to take the best of what we already have and combine that with new ways of working to build a new council that will be ready to improve outcomes across the new Cumberland area.

"I am driven by the opportunity to set up the new council for success, to create an ambitious, modern organisation, with compassion at its core.''

Leader of Cumberland Council, Councillor Mark Fryer, welcomed Andrew's appointment. He said: 

"Andrew is an excellent leader and a highly skilled and experienced local government professional. 

"I am very much looking forward to working with Andrew on our journey to build a new council that delivers the very best outcomes for our residents, businesses and organisations. 

"In his recent roles as Interim Head of Paid Service for the new council and as Returning Officer in the recent elections in May, Andrew has demonstrated the qualities needed to create a successful new authority. Andrew acts with integrity and honesty and is able to build strong relationships, both within the new council and externally with our partners." 

Cumberland Council will act in 'shadow' form for the next eight months, as it prepares for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023. 

Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils.

Sam Plum

A Chief Executive has been appointed to lead the new Westmorland and Furness Council. 

Sam Plum, currently the Chief Executive at Barrow Borough Council and Interim Head of Paid Service for Westmorland and Furness Council, will officially start in the new role from 31 December 2022. 

Sam's appointment follows an extensive recruitment process, with a Senior Appointments Committee recommending Sam as the preferred candidate and the appointment being formally confirmed at a meeting of Westmorland and Furness Council today (Friday 22 July). 

Sam has 25 years' local government experience and has worked for authorities including Rossendale Borough Council, Pendle Borough Council and Bradford City Council. She has worked at a senior corporate leadership level for the past seven years, including the last three years as Chief Executive at Barrow Borough Council. 

Sam has a strong track record in strategic planning, community and partnership working and has driven a major transformational journey for Barrow Borough and its residents in the last few years, including securing over £50m investment in the last two years to deliver a range of innovative programmes. 

As one of three Senior Responsible Officers on the overall programme she has also played a leading role in the Local Government Reorganisation planning for Cumbria, which will see the biggest change to Cumbria's council structures since 1974, with two new 'unitary' councils being formed to replace the existing set-up of six district councils and Cumbria County Council. 

Sam will be leading the new Westmorland and Furness Council, which is the new unitary authority for the area currently covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District, South Lakeland District, and Cumbria County councils. 

When not working, Sam can be found enjoying hobbies including open water swimming at favourite spots around Cumbria and spending time with her family. 

Sam said: "I am delighted to have been appointed as Westmorland and Furness Council's first Chief Executive. 

"I believe passionately in local government, and its role in creating the conditions for people and places to thrive. 

"Local Government Reorganisation gives a real opportunity to take the best of what we already have and combine that with new ways of working to build a new council that will be ready to improve outcomes across Westmorland and Furness.

"I am driven by the opportunity to set up the new council for success, to create an ambitious, progressive organisation, with compassion at its core.'' 

Leader of Westmorland and Furness Council, Councillor Jonathan Brook, welcomed Sam's appointment. He said: "Sam is an excellent leader and a highly skilled and experienced local government professional. 

"I am very much looking forward to working with Sam on our journey to build a new council that delivers the very best outcomes for Westmorland and Furness residents, businesses and organisations. 

"Sam has delivered a strong focus on community and place-building in her work in Barrow. In her recent roles as Interim Head of Paid Service for the new council and as Returning Officer in the recent elections in May, Sam has demonstrated the qualities needed to create a successful new authority. Sam acts with integrity and honesty and is able to build strong relationships, both within the new council and externally with our partners. 

"I know Sam will be pivotal in helping us deliver the successful outcomes, both for our council and our communities, that we are working towards." 

Westmorland and Furness Council will act in 'shadow' form for the next eight months, as it prepares for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023. 

1 April 2023 is the point where Westmorland and Furness Council will officially take over responsibility for all services across the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas and the existing Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils, along with Cumbria County Council, will be dissolved. 

Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils. 


Work has started to build the 'identity' of the new Westmorland and Furness Council. 

A Cabinet meeting of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council today (Friday, 22 July) has taken the first steps in defining the vision, priorities and values of the new authority and has also considered options for a new council logo. 

The important process to create a Council Plan will capture the new council's vision and ambitions for Westmorland and Furness. It will show how the council intends to prioritise its activities and services to achieve those aims, along with the values and principles that will underpin how it works. 

Priorities being discussed include addressing health and social inequalities, measures to tackle climate change, highways and transport, children's care, the economy and housing. 

Shadow Authority Cabinet members agreed the process for adopting a Council Plan, setting out a 'high level' strategic direction to be agreed in the Autumn, followed by a period of engagement with residents, businesses and organisations during the first full year of the new council after 'Vesting Day' on 1 April 2023. This will help to inform the detail of the strategies needed to deliver key priorities.

Today's meeting also considered a report on logo designs for the new council. 

The two shortlisted options followed a brief that asked designers to create a modern, clean and flexible logo that represents the Westmorland and Furness Council area, including its heritage and landscape. 

One design features aspects that reference 'rolling hills' (of the Pennines and Lake District area), sea and water. It uses elements from local historic and prospective flags and spells out the W and the F from Westmorland and Furness.

The second design has references to historic and prospective flags of the area alongside mountains, rivers and hills and together the three main elements create a logo with elements that look like a crest. 

Comments and feedback from a range of stakeholders - to a Cabinet meeting in September - will help the new council choose which of the two designs they'd like to adopt as the new council logo. 

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Leader of Westmorland and Furness Council, said: "Today's meeting marked another important milestone as we start to really build the identity of the new council. 

"Our Council Plan will articulate our vision and our priorities and is a crucial document for us. It will capture what we are all about, how we will work and the issues we want to address. 

"We look forward to getting our communities' views on how we can deliver these ambitions, and will be launching an extensive engagement process from April next year. 

"Our logo is also important in building that identity. We want to be a modern, progressive and inclusive council, and we want our logo to capture that. We considered submissions from a number designers, both council staff across Cumbria and some external designers, and have narrowed the field down to two excellent designs.''

Councillor Virginia Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Communities and Localities, described the Council Plan as the 'guide and inspiration' for the new authority's aims and objectives.

Councillor Peter Thornton, Portfolio Holder for Highways and Assets, added: "Along with the Medium Term Financial Plan, the Council Plan is the foundation of everything that we do, and is a very important document. We have a responsibility to our residents to deliver our priorities and services and the Council Plan should be a document that unites us in those aims.''

In the biggest change to Cumbria's council structures since 1974, two new 'unitary' councils are being formed to replace the existing set-up of six district councils and Cumbria County Council. 

In the area currently covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils the new unitary authority will be called Westmorland and Furness Council. 

In the area currently covered by Allerdale Borough, Carlisle City and Copeland Borough councils the new unitary authority will be called Cumberland Council. 

Westmorland and Furness Council will act in 'shadow' form for the next eight months, as its councillors engage in the planning and preparation for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023. 

1 April 2023 is the point where Westmorland and Furness Council and its councillors will officially take over responsibility for all services across the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas and the existing Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils, along with Cumbria County Council, will be dissolved. 

Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils. 

In the meantime, councillors on the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council will be working with the Local Government Reorganisation programme planning for the new council to 'go live' in 2023. 

Today's Cabinet meeting also considered baseline 'blueprint' documents which outline how services can expect to be organised and operate on Vesting Day to ensure a smooth transition to the new councils. 

Integral to the operation of those services is the need to ensure the new council has a sustainable financial footing.

Cabinet members reviewed the high-level principles which will underpin how funding for the two new councils, as well as the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, will be allocated. 

These seek to ensure that the funding of the new Councils addresses 'need' and not simply population and geography. Councillors also agreed a timeline when key decisions on the new council's budgets and a future budget strategy will be taken. 

Councillor Brook continued: "The blueprints and the financial planning are critical for the effective planning for our new council. 

"They set out how things will be run from day one and how the funding for services will be provided. 

"This is a hugely challenging and complex process and we know that there are challenges ahead for the new council, including around addressing existing budget deficits we are already aware of. 

"But this process of creating a new unitary allows us the opportunity and flexibility to address these things from day one. It gives us a once-in-a-generation chance to transform the way we work to put our communities at the heart of everything we do, deliver excellent services and at the same time create efficiencies from more joined-up working that will save money in the long-term.'' 

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Committee meeting

Significant steps were taken this week in the creation of the new Cumberland Council.

At their meeting in Carlisle on 20 July, Executive members for the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council agreed on the future identity of the new council and the process for developing its overall vision, ambitions and key priorities.  

As a result the council now boasts a new concept design for a logo. The preferred design takes its inspiration from the Cumberland Flag and features a Grass-of-Parnassus flower which is the county flower of Cumberland. It contains two parallel waved lines, representing the area's fells and mountains, coast and lakes. The colours of blue and green also link to this natural theme. 

It was whittled down from a number of options that were considered by officers and members. The final design has been created by a member of the design staff at Carlisle City Council, and reflects the vision of the new authority.  

A series of focus group sessions will now take place to further refine the design and develop a corporate identity manual ahead of its adoption in the Autumn.  

Councillors also agreed on the process for the development of the Council Plan. This crucial document will set out the vision and priorities for the Council for its first four years.  

Residents are encouraged to have their say on the draft plan when it is published in a few weeks' time. The draft plan will also be considered by the Shadow Scrutiny committee ahead of adoption at the meeting of the Shadow Council on 18 October 2022. 

Cllr Mark Fryer, Leader of the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council, said: "We have today completed another major milestone in the formation of the new Cumberland Council. Our logo is really important as it will identify who we are and the services we deliver. It will also help bring the three areas together as it will appear on letterheads, vehicles, bins and our buildings. I think it is a fantastic design which reflects our shared heritage and ambitions for the future. I'm also really pleased that the designer is a member of staff - they should be very proud of what they have achieved.  

"Our Council Plan is also extremely important. This is a document which sets out our stall and will go to the very heart of what our new council will be about. It will outline what we will focus on, describe how we will work and, crucially, what residents can expect from us. I look forward to developing the plan and hearing what local residents and partners have to say." 

Local government reorganisation means that the services of the six district councils and Cumbria County Council are brought under the control of two new unitary councils - Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council. This means bringing the services of the district councils together and the splitting, or otherwise, of the county council services.  

The new councils will start providing services from vesting day on 1 April 2023. 

Councillors therefore also agreed the baseline blueprint documents which outline how services can expect to be organised and operate effectively on vesting day. These also include details of any transitional arrangements and proposals for how services can be provided. Once established it will be for the new councils to decide any further transformation and reorganisation of its services. 

Integral to the establishment of the new councils is the need to ensure they have a sustainable financial footing. Therefore, councillors also agreed the high-level principles which will underpin how the funding for the two new councils, as well as the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, will be allocated. The guiding principles mirror national funding allocations where possible to ensure that service need is reflected alongside more basic allocations such as population and geography. Councillors also agreed a timeline throughout the Autumn when key decisions on the budgets and a future budget strategy will be taken. 

Cllr Fryer continued: "The blueprints and the financial planning are critical aspects of the creation of our new council. They set out how things will be run from day one and how the funding will be provided. There are clearly many challenges ahead, one of which is a potential budget gap. However, this gap is something which will be inherited from the existing councils and would have needed addressing anyway. There is also still a lot of detail to be finalised. What I would say is that by coming together as a unitary gives us the flexibility to make further transformational savings to address that gap. This remains an exciting and once in a lifetime opportunity to shape our services around the needs of our residents.  

"What I am determined to do is involve those same residents and our communities in the decision-making process from setting out our priorities in the Council Plan, to agreeing the budget which will help fund them." 

More details on the meeting can be found on the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council website: www.cumberland.gov.uk.

The Executive for the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council has met for the first time as it begins the process of laying the foundations for the new council ahead of it starting to deliver local services from 1 April 2023.

At the meeting held in Carlisle on Wednesday 15 June, councillors received an update on the progress for local government reorganisation (LGR) in Cumbria from the Programme Director, Kim Rennie. This included an overview of work to date as well as confirmation of the Implementation Plan going forward, and the team set-up to deliver it.

As part of the process of reorganisation, Councillors also agreed the details of contracts and land disposals that the current district councils and county council can enter into only with the consent of the Executive of the Shadow Authority.

The Executive for the Shadow Authority is responsible for most of the day-to-day decisions. Ten councillors make up the Executive. They are:

  • Cllr Mark Fryer - Leader of the Council
  • Cllr Lisa Brown - Statutory Deputy Leader with responsibility for Governance and Enabling
  • Cllr Emma Williamson - Non-Statutory Deputy Leader with responsibility for Children and Families
  • Cllr Elaine Lynch - responsible for Education, Skills and Training
  • Cllr Denise Rollo - responsible for Environment and Highways
  • Cllr Bob Kelly - responsible for Policy and Performance
  • Cllr Chris Southward - responsible for Digital and Customer Services
  • Cllr Barbara Cannon - responsible for Finance and Assets
  • Cllr Martin Harris - responsible for Health and Adult Care
  • Cllr Anne Quilter - responsible for Heritage and Leisure

Cllr Mark Fryer, Leader of the Council, said: "Now that the Executive has been established, we are working together to build the foundations for the new Cumberland Council. I'm grateful for the support from my fellow Members and look forward to putting in place the plans for the future.

"We're less than 10 months away from establishing the council and we're grateful for the support of staff and the project team. Together we'll make it happen."

More details on the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council, including future meeting dates, can be found at: www.cumberland.gov.uk

There were 46 councillors elected onto the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council in May 2022. These councillors were elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on the Shadow Authority that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on Cumberland Council, which will 'go live' in April 2023.

Cumberland Council will cover the area currently served by Carlisle City Council, Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council

The existing county, borough and district councils continue to operate and deliver all current services until Vesting Day for the new authority on 1 April 2023.

On that date the Shadow Authority and its 46 councillors become the new Cumberland Council and it will take over responsibility for services. At that point the existing county, city, and borough councils will be dissolved.


The inaugural meeting of the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council took place this morning at the Civic Centre in Carlisle.

The council will act as a Shadow Authority for the next 11 months as it oversees the planning and preparation for the new authority.

On April 1, 2023 - Vesting Day - the new council will officially take over responsibility for all services and the existing councils in Cumbria will be dissolved.

Until Vesting Day the existing councils will continue to operate and deliver all current services.

Cumberland Council will cover the area currently served by Carlisle City Council, Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council.

It has 46 councillors representing 46 wards.

At the meeting, the following people were appointed:

  • Leader - Cllr Mark Fryer.
  • Deputy Leaders - Cllr Lisa Brown (Statutory) and Cllr Emma Williamson (Non-Statutory).

Cllr Mark Fryer has twice been a councillor for Allerdale Borough Council. The first time was between 1995 and 2003 and then for a further eight years between 2011 and 2019. He has been both Leader and Deputy Leader on the council. On 5 May 2022, he was elected to the Cumberland Council seat of St John's and Great Clifton ward in Workington.

Cllr Lisa Brown is currently a Carlisle City Councillor. She was first elected on to the City Council in September 2018 and has represented Denton Holme and Morton South ward since May 2019. She was elected to Cumberland Council's Currock ward in the recent local elections.

Since 2017 Cllr Emma Williamson has been a Cumbria County Council councillor for Kells and Sandwith ward and was elected to represent the same ward in the recent Cumberland Council elections. 

Speaking on his appointment, Cllr Fryer, said: "It's a real honour to be Leader of the new Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council and to get the opportunity to create a fantastic new council, which will build upon the work done by the district and county councils over the years, and make improvements for the better.

"The next 10 months or so will be about setting our priorities and establishing the new authority so that it can provide the best set of services for our communities to ensure all our residents will be getting the help and support they need from 1 April 2023.

"Today has also been about creating my Shadow Executive. This is a great team that I have with me, and we'll work hard to make sure we can hit the ground running from day one. This is an opportunity to reset. From April next year there will be no more Allerdale, Carlisle, Copeland and Cumbria county councils.

"Our focus is the people of Cumberland. We must do things differently. If you do what you've always done you will get what you've always got." 

The Shadow Executive is:

  • Cllr Mark Fryer - Strategic overview, external relations, economy & regeneration and community devolution.
  • Cllr Lisa Brown - Corporate Governance and Legal.
  • Cllr Emma Williamson - Children's and Families.
  • Cllr Elaine Lynch - Education, skills and training.
  • Cllr Denise Rollo - Environment, waste and highways.
  • Cllr Bob Kelly - Corporate Plan, strategy, policy and performance. 
  • Cllr Chris Southward - Organisational Development, HR, ICT, digital and customer.
  • Cllr Barbara Cannon - Corporate finance and assets.
  • Cllr Martin Harris - Adults'.
  • Cllr Anne Quilter - Community services including leisure, parks, museums and libraries.

A Chair (Cllr Carni McCarron-Holmes) and Vice Chair (Cllr Abdul Harid) for the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council meetings were also appointed.

A number of appointments to interim statutory officer roles for the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council were also confirmed:

  • Interim Head of Paid Service - Andrew Seekings.
  • Interim Monitoring Officer - Catherine Parkinson.
  • Interim Chief Finance Officer - Pam Duke.

The full agenda and committee papers are available at www.cumberland.gov.uk

The Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council meets this afternoon at 2.30pm. A link to their committee papers is available at www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk


The first meeting of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council met this afternoon at County Hall, Kendal.

At the meeting, the following were appointed:

  • Leader - Councillor Jonathan Brook.
  • Deputy Leader - Councillor Pat Bell.

The Shadow Authority Cabinet is:

  • Councillor Jonathan Brook - Leader, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Partnerships and Economy.
  • Councillor Patricia Bell - Deputy Leader, Portfolio Holder for Adults, Health and Care.
  • Councillor Sue Sanderson - Portfolio Holder for Children's Services, Education and Skills.
  • Councillor Andrew Jarvis - Portfolio Holder for Finance.
  • Councillor Peter Thornton - Portfolio Holder for Highways and Assets.
  • Councillor Virginia Taylor - Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Communities and Localities.
  • Councillor Giles Archibald - Portfolio Holder for Climate and Biodiversity.
  • Councillor Dyan Jones - Portfolio Holder for Customer and Environmental Services.
  • Councillor Judith Derbyshire - Portfolio Holder for Housing and Homelessness.
  • Councillor Neil Hughes - Portfolio Holder for Transport.

The Chair of the new council is Councillor Matthew Severn with Councillor Ali Jama as Deputy Chair.

A number of appointments to interim statutory officer roles for the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness were also confirmed:

  • Interim Head of Paid Service - Sam Plum.
  • Interim Monitoring Officer - Linda Fisher.
  • Interim Chief Finance Officer - Helen Smith.

The full agenda and committee papers are available at www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk


THE elected members of two new unitary authorities for Cumbria are to meet for the first time next week.

The inaugural meetings of the shadow Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council will take place on Tuesday, May 17.

- The Cumberland Council meeting will be held in the Cathedral Room at the Civic Centre in Carlisle at 10.30am.

- The Westmorland and Furness Council meeting will be held at County Hall in Kendal at 2.30pm.

Both councils will act in shadow form for the next 12 months as they oversee the planning and preparation for the new authorities.

Then, on April 1, 2023 - Vesting Day - the new councils will officially take over responsibility for all services within their respective areas and the seven existing councils in Cumbria will be dissolved. Until Vesting Day the existing councils - six districts and Cumbria County Council - will continue to operate and deliver all current services.

Cumberland Council will cover the area currently served by Carlisle City Council, Allerdale Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council.

It has 46 councillors representing 46 wards.

Westmorland and Furness Council will cover the area currently served by South Lakeland District Council, Eden District Council, Barrow Borough Council and Cumbria County Council.

It has 65 councillors representing 33 wards.

The meetings will see members elect a chair and vice chair to each shadow authority for the next 12 months, as well as a leader, deputy leader and members of a shadow executive committee.

 

A number of proposed appointments to interim statutory officer roles will also be confirmed.

 

Other items on the agendas for shadow members to consider include implementation plans that will enable the new councils to operate in a safe and legal way from Day 1 as well as a code of conduct.

 

The creation of two new councils for Cumbria is part of Local Government Reorganisation - the biggest change to the county's council structures since 1974.

 

The first meetings of the shadow authorities follows last week's local elections where members were elected to serve a five year term with the first year on the 'shadow councils'.


Elections were held on Thursday 5 May 2022. These elected councillors for two new unitary authorities. 

Vesting day for the new councils is 1 April 2023. From this day Cumberland Council will provide district and county council services across the current areas of Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland. 

Westmorland and Furness Council will provide district and county council services across the current areas of Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland.

  • The new Cumberland Council has 46 councillors. 
  • The new Westmorland and Furness Council has 65 councillors.

They will initially sit on two Shadow Authorities until Vesting day, and then serve on the new councils for a further four-year term.

The elections results are available at:

With less than one week to go until the voter registration deadline for next month's local elections, anyone wanting to vote must make sure they are registered in time. 

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on 14 April. You can apply online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. It takes just five minutes.  

On Thursday 5 May voters will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them at a local level. This year residents in the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland areas will be voting to select councillors who will represent them on the new unitary Cumberland Council.  

Electors in some wards will also be voting in some unscheduled local by-elections as well. 

Andrew Seekings Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for Allerdale Borough Council who is acting as the Returning Officer for the Cumberland Council elections, said: 

"With around a week to go, time is running out to make sure you can take part in the local elections. These elections are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and shape the future on the issues that directly affect day-to-day life in what will be the Cumberland Council area. In order to be able to vote, residents must be on the electoral register. So if you're not registered by midnight on 14 April, you won't be able to take part." 

Jason Gooding Carlisle City Council's chief executive is the Electoral Registration Officer for the Carlisle City Council area, with Copeland Borough Council's chief executive Pat Graham the ERO for the Copeland area. 

Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said:  

"You can only take part in the May elections if you are registered to vote, and time is running out. It's quick and easy - it takes just five minutes online at www.gov.uk/registertovote.  

"If you have recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important that you make sure you are correctly registered to vote.  

"If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don't need to take any action. If in doubt, you can check with your current local authority's election team at Allerdale, Carlisle or Copeland council."  

Voters have a range of options - they can vote in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote. 

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 26 April.  

In the areas currently covered by Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland councils 46 councillors will be elected in new Cumberland wards. The ward boundaries follow those currently in place for seats on Cumbria County Council. 

These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on a Cumberland 'Shadow Authority' that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on Cumberland Council, which will 'go live' in April 2023. 

The existing county, borough and district councils will continue to operate and deliver all current services until Vesting Day for the new authority on 1 April 2023. 

On that date the Shadow Authority and its 46 councillors become the new Cumberland Council and it will take over responsibility for services. At that point the existing county, city, borough and district councils will be dissolved. 

For information on Cumberland Council elections in their area, how to register to vote, how to apply to vote by post or by proxy, and who is standing for election, voters can visit the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council website at www.cumberland.gov.uk.  

There is also more information on registering to vote and the various ways to vote at: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter. This page will continue to be updated ahead of the polls. 


Candidates standing in the Cumberland Council elections on May 5 have been announced. 

A full list of candidates and the wards they are standing in can be found on the website for the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council

Candidate details can also be found on the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland council websites. 

In the areas currently covered by Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland councils 46 councillors will be elected in new Cumberland wards. The ward boundaries follow those currently in place for seats on Cumbria County Council. 

These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on a Cumberland 'Shadow Authority' that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on Cumberland Council, which will 'go live' in April 2023. 

In order to vote on 5 May, residents must be on the electoral register. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Thursday, 14 April 2022. It takes just five minutes to apply online.

People can choose to vote in a number of ways - in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote. 

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 26 April. 

Details on how to register to vote and apply for or amend a postal or proxy vote can be found on the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council website: www.cumberland.gov.uk  

The existing county, borough and district councils will continue to operate and deliver all current services until Vesting Day for the new authority on 1 April 2023. 

On that date the Shadow Authority and its 46 councillors become the new Cumberland Council and it will take over responsibility for services. At that point the existing county, city, borough and district councils will be dissolved. 


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lisa.chadwick@cumbria.gov.uk



There's only one year to go until two new councils are established in Cumbria.

From 1 April 2023 local government in Cumbria will change. The current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will be replaced by two new unitary authorities.

There will be one new council - Cumberland Council - covering the current area of Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland. A second new council - Westmorland and Furness Council - will provide services to those in the current areas of Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland.

Cumberland will have 46 Councillors and Westmorland and Furness will have 65 Councillors.

Elections will be held on Thursday 5 May. 

Notices of Election have been published and anyone intending to stand as a candidate in May's elections is being advised to submit their nomination papers ahead of the deadline of 4pm on Tuesday, 5 April 2022.

In order to vote on 5 May, residents must be on the electoral register. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Thursday, 14 April 2022. It takes just five minutes to apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The Notices of Election have been published on two new websites - www.cumberland.gov.uk and www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk

The new websites have been set up for the Shadow Authorities for the two new councils and in addition to providing information on the upcoming elections also provide information on the Joint Committees. These have been set up before the Shadow Authorities are established and will only meet for a short period until the elections.

The Joint Committee will make recommendations to the Shadow Authorities on some of the important early decisions, such as the appointment of interim statutory officers and a new council constitution.

They met for the first time this week. The Westmorland and Furness Committee met on Tuesday 29 March in Kendal and the Cumberland Joint Committee met on Wednesday 30 March in Carlisle. Visit www.cumberland.gov.uk and www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk for information on future committee meetings.

For more information on the changes to local government in Cumbria, visit https://newcouncilsforcumbria.info/

The website includes lots of useful information including a video explaining the changes that will happen next April.

Anyone intending to stand as a candidate in May's elections is being advised to submit their nomination papers ahead of the deadline of 4pm on Tuesday, 5 April 2022.

Notices of Election for the Westmorland and Furness Council election and scheduled parish and town council elections have been published today (28 March).

This means that nomination papers can now be submitted by anyone wishing to stand for election on 5 May.

Nomination packs for the new wards for Westmorland and Furness Council are available from local election teams at Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils, as well as political party agents and relevant parish/town council clerks.

Packs have been given out to prospective candidates who have already expressed an interest in standing for election and were distributed at a prospective candidates' and agents briefing on 2 March.

As the time allowed for submission of these papers is short, if anyone wishes to stand as a candidate they are being strongly advised to complete and submit their nomination papers as soon as possible.

A new website has also been launched today (28 March) for the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council.

The new website can be found at: www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk

The new website includes an interactive map showing all the new wards in the new authority, as well as details about the Notice of Election for the new Westmorland and Furness Council, how to stand as a candidate and information about the Shadow Authority and Joint Committee arrangements.

In order to vote on 5 May, residents must be on the electoral register. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Thursday, 14 April. 

It takes just five minutes to apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

People can choose to vote in a number of ways - in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 26 April. 

For information on registering to vote, or how to apply to vote by post or by proxy, visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter

This year residents will be voting to elect councillors to the new Westmorland and Furness Council, as well as electing councillors to some parish and town councils in areas where there is a vacancy.

In the areas currently covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils 65 councillors will be elected in new Westmorland and Furness wards. 

These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on a Westmorland and Furness 'Shadow Authority' that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on Westmorland and Furness Council, which will 'go live' in April 2023.

The existing county, borough and district councils will continue to operate and deliver all current services until Vesting Day for the new authority on 1 April 2023. 

On that date the Shadow Authority and its 65 councillors become the new Westmorland and Furness Council and it will take over responsibility for services. At that point the existing county, borough and district councils will be dissolved. 


On Thursday 5 May people in the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas will have their say on who represents them on the new Westmorland and Furness Council.

In order to vote in May, residents must be on the electoral register. With the deadline to register to vote fast approaching, the Returning Officer for Westmorland and Furness Council is urging people who are not registered at their current address to make sure they are registered in time.

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Thursday, 14 April. 

It takes just five minutes to apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

This year residents will be voting to elect councillors to the new Westmorland and Furness Council, as well as electing councillors to some parish and town councils in areas where there is a vacancy.

In the areas currently covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils 65 councillors will be elected in new Westmorland and Furness wards. 

These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on a Westmorland and Furness 'Shadow Authority' that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on Westmorland and Furness Council, which will 'go live' in April 2023.

The existing county, borough and district councils will continue to operate and deliver all current services until Vesting Day for the new authority on 1 April 2023. 

On that date the Shadow Authority and its 65 councillors become the new Westmorland and Furness Council and it will take over responsibility for services. At that point the existing county, borough and district councils will be dissolved. 

Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, is the Returning Officer for the Westmorland and Furness Council elections. She said: "Time is running out to make sure you can take part in these elections. 

"They are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you and who will influence the way the future of local services is shaped in the new Westmorland and Furness Council.

"If you're not registered by 14 April, you won't be able to vote."

Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: "You can't have your say in these elections unless you are registered to vote. Registering is easy and only takes five minutes.

"If you have recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important to make sure you are correctly registered to vote. 

"If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don't need to take any action. If in doubt, you can check with your local authority."

People can choose to vote in a number of ways - in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 26 April. 

For information on elections in your area, how to register to vote, or how to apply to vote by post or by proxy, visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter

This page will continue to be updated ahead of the polls. 


On Thursday 5 May people in the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland areas will have their say on who represents them on the new Cumberland Council, as well as on any other local and parish councils where there is a vacancy. 

In order to vote in May, residents must be on the electoral register. With the deadline to register to vote fast approaching, the local councils are urging people who are not registered at their current address to make sure they are registered in time. 

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Thursday 14 April. It takes just five minutes to apply online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. This year residents will be voting to select councillors, who represent their local area and residents, and contribute to the development of policies in areas such as transport, social care and housing on the new Cumberland Council as well as any other local councils where there is a vacancy. 

Andrew Seekings Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for  Allerdale Borough Council who is acting as the Returning Officer for the Cumberland Council elections, said: "Time is running out to make sure you can take part in these elections. They are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life in their local area. If you're not registered by 14 April, you won't be able to vote." 

Jason Gooding Carlisle City Council's chief executive is the Electoral Registration Officer for the Carlisle City Council area, with Copeland Borough Council's chief executive Pat Graham acting as the ERO for the Copeland area. 

Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: "You can't have your say in these elections unless you are registered to vote. Registering is easy and only takes five minutes. 

"If you have recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important to make sure you are correctly registered to vote. 

"If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don't need to take any action. If in doubt, you can check with your local authority." 

People can choose to vote in a number of ways - in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote. 

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 26 April.  

For information on elections in their area, how to register to vote, or how to apply to vote by post or by proxy, voters can visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter. This page will continue to be updated ahead of the polls.  

For more information contact the Communications and Marketing team at Allerdale Borough Council on corp.comms@allerdale.gov.uk 


Changes to local government in Cumbria took a big step forward this week with the announcement by the government that the parliamentary order which sets out the legal basis of the move had come into force.

The Structural Changes Order (SCO) completed its passage through both houses of Parliament this week and received the ministerial signature yesterday. 

The SCO sets out the process of creating the two new councils and provides the legal basis on which to implement the change to local government structures.

From vesting day on 1 April 2023 the current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will be replaced with two new 'unitary' councils. The names for the two new councils are:

  • Cumberland Council which will cover the current Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland council areas.
  • Westmorland and Furness Council which will cover the current Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland council areas.

The two new councils will be responsible for services currently provided in those areas by the district councils and the county council.

Elections for the new authorities will be held on 5 May 2022. After the elections two Shadow Authorities will be formed who will make decisions on the creation of the two new councils up to vesting day. 

A spokesperson for the Cumbria Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) Programme Board, said: "This is a major development in our programme which confirms the details of the LGR process and puts it into law.

"Whilst today's news is very important, work on reorganisation is already very much underway with teams of officers and councillors from all of Cumbria's current councils working together on what is perhaps the most significant development in local government in Cumbria for a generation.

"This reorganisation of local government represents a great opportunity to re-think how services are delivered, looking at how they can be better joined-up and with the flexibility and efficiency to provide better outcomes for our communities."

More information on the process and what it means for the people of Cumbria can be found on the LGR website: https://newcouncilsforcumbria.info/default.asp

The SCO requires that two joint committees are established ahead of the formation of the Shadow Authorities. The Westmorland and Furness joint committee is due to hold its first meeting on 29 March. The Cumberland Joint Committee is due to meet on 30 March. 

More details of the meetings can be found at: https://newcouncilsforcumbria.info/Joint_Committees.asp

Residents who wish to vote in the upcoming elections in May, and who are not registered to vote are encouraged to register as soon as possible at: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote 

We have been advised that the Structural Changes Order has now been laid in Parliament. This is a key step towards the delivery of two new councils for Cumbria.

The Structural Changes Order sets out the process of creating the two new councils and provides the legal basis on which to implement the change to local government structures.

Now it has been 'laid' this means it will go through parliamentary processes and it is expected that the Order will be approved no later than the end of March 2022.

The Cumbria (Structural Changes) Order 2022 

A new website has been launched to explain more about a major reorganisation of local government in Cumbria.

The website - newcouncilsforcumbria.info - has lots of useful information about the complex process to create two brand new councils for the county.

From 1 April 2023 the current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will be replaced with two new 'unitary' councils. The intended names for the two new councils are:

  • Cumberland Council will cover the current Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland council areas.
  • Westmorland and Furness Council will cover the current Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland council areas.

The two new councils will be responsible for services currently provided in those areas by the district councils and the county council.

The changes aim to:

  • Improve services for local people, making them more effective and efficient with a greater integration of planning and delivery activities.
  • Provide greater clarity for residents on their democratic representation, making local authorities even more accountable to the people they serve with more effective governance arrangements.
  • Provide a stronger voice to central government.
  • Attract inward investment into our communities.

Since the UK Government announced its decision in July to reorganise local government in Cumbria, work has been ongoing on the first steps of this huge transition.

All seven existing local authorities, supported by the Government, are collaborating on the programme to create the new Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness authorities. 

This entails a considerable amount of work to ensure that people in Cumbria receive the high level of service and delivery they expect and deserve. 

The new website explains the process and the timeline and will include updates on the work of the Local Government Reorganisation Programme.

A spokesperson for the Cumbria Local Government Reorganisation Programme Board, said: "We know there is a great deal of interest in the reorganisation process, among residents, businesses and organisations.

"This is a hugely complex undertaking and will affect everyone who lives, works, does business or studies in Cumbria. It is the most significant change to the structures of local government in this area for a generation. 

"The programme will involve officers and councillors from all seven existing councils and we are determined to create the right platform for the new Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness councils to thrive.

"All those involved in leading this project are committed to ensuring that local people are engaged in this process as we move towards April 2023 and the new website will be an integral part of that.'' 

Cumbria's councils have now received the draft Structural Changes Order from Government which provides some additional detail about the two new councils.

In the document, the Government has confirmed its intention to name the two new councils.

  • For the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland areas the council's name will be Cumberland Council.
  • For the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas the council's name will be Westmorland and Furness Council.

Other details shared in the draft SCO include:

The number of councillors each council will potentially have:

  • Cumberland Council will have 46 members.
  • Westmorland and Furness Council will have 65 members.

Elections for the two new councils, as Shadow Authorities, will take place in May 2022 and then in 2027 and every four years thereafter.

Joint Committees (one for Cumberland and one for Westmorland and Furness) will be established and each one will have 12 members - three from Cumbria County Council, three from each of the district councils in that area. So, in total 12 members each.

Joint Committees are responsible for the preparatory work to establish the Shadow Authorities and overseeing the implementation planning until Shadow Authorities are elected. The Joint Committees will be dissolved once the Shadow Authorities and Executives for the two new councils are established.

A Shadow Authority is an 'authority' which is appointed or elected to shape the two new councils ready for vesting on 1 April 2023. When the new councils go live on 1 April 2023 the Shadow Authorities are also then dissolved.

All of the information laid out in the draft SCO is still subject to Parliamentary approval which is likely to take place in March.

Finally, the programme management process will continue as it is - a single programme management board to oversee the implementation of the two new councils.

Town and Parish Council Newsletters
Town and Parish Council Newsletters

Transfer of assets 

Preparation of the financial baseline of the two new unitary authorities is now at an advanced stage.

The creation of the two authorities' new balance sheets and revenue and capital programmes are being drawn up by aggregating current district financial plans and assets and disaggregating county financial plans and assets.

This work is complex and requires absolute accuracy as it establishes the statutory financial and asset base for the new unitary authorities in perpetuity.

This means that, for a number of reasons, it is not possible to effect any new transfer of assets to other organisations prior to vesting day on 1 April 2023. 

These reasons are:

• As a result of the LGR process, councils no longer have the sole authority to enact or negotiate any new transfer, sale or disposal of significant assets.

• Also due to the restrictions imposed by central government under section 24 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, the transfer, sale or disposal of assets is also not possible without the additional approval of the Westmorland and Furness or Cumberland Council, at a time when both councils are considering their asset base and how it can be used to further their corporate aspirations.

• Finally, even if it were possible to secure this approval, any additional work undertaken at this time would add to the already significant cost, complexity and time implications of negotiating the transfer of assets, which given the limited time available before vesting day, would be undeliverable. 

Looking ahead, the two new sovereign councils of Westmorland and Furness and Cumberland will draw up their own individual policies in relation to community and Town and Parish Councils and the use and ownership of assets. However, this will not be until after vesting day.

We appreciate there is an interest from other councils and parties in the use and ownership of important land, property and community facilities, but due to the factors identified above, unless negotiations for the transfer or sale of an asset or assets has received prior agreement from the existing District, Borough and City Councils or Cumbria County Council, there will be no opportunity for any further agreements before 1 April 2023.  

We hope that this explains the current position and the rationale behind this decision, but if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch through info@newcouncilsforcumbria.info


Briefings for town and parish councils tonight and tomorrow

The Leaders and Chief Executives of the Shadow Authorities will be online this week to answer questions about Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness and plans for when they start running services on 1 April 2023.

The briefings have been organised to cover the two new authority areas.

On Tuesday 15 November, parish councils in Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland are invited to hear from Cumberland's Shadow Authority Leader Cllr Mark Fryer and the Chief Executive Andrew Seekings.

Join LGR update for Cumberland town and parish councils - 15 November at 6.30pm

On Wednesday 16 November, parish councils in Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland have the opportunity to join Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority Leader Jonathan Brook and the Chief Executive Sam Plum.

Join LGR update for Westmorland and Furness town and parish councils - 16 November at 6.30pm


Find out more and feedback

Have a question for us?

Email: info@newcouncilsforcumbria.info

Find out more

Don't forget, the website newcouncilsforcumbria.info is the home for information on LGR.

Keep an eye out for the next newsletter which will be published in December

What's new

There's now less than five months until two new unitary authorities take over the running of local authority services in Cumbria.

And with the calendar counting down to 1 April 2023, there is a huge amount of activity taking place to ensure that public services will be able to operate 'safe and legally' from that day.

As you can read in this newsletter, the Shadow Authorities of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness are pressing on with their operations, with the full authorities and their leadership teams making important decisions on council plans and how they intend to operate from next year.

A huge number of people at the seven councils that will be abolished in the spring are now working on the programme to ensure a smooth transition. Many are doing this alongside their 'day jobs', underlining the professionalism and dedication of our teams to do the best for the people they serve.

This month we reach a significant milestone in the programme as work gets under way to allocate staff to the two new councils, and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, and the senior structures for the two new authorities are formalised. 

It is the expectation the majority of staff will know by the end of November which council they will be working for on 1 April next year. For the overwhelming majority they will be doing the same job, in the same setting. While 1 April is Day 1 for the new councils, work to transform public services for the people of Cumbria is a mammoth task and will go on for many more years.

There's plenty to catch up on in this newsletter and we'd be delighted if you could join us for one of two online briefing and Q&A sessions we're holding next week.

All those involved in this change are committed to working with our partners - such as town and parish councillors - to make this change the best it can be for Cumbria and we want to hear your views. Details of the virtual meetings are below.


Virtual briefings for town and parish councils

Two meetings have been set up for town and parish councils to hear the latest on the progress towards two establishing two new unitary authorities for Cumbria.

The Leaders and Chief Executives of the authorities will be online to answer questions about Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authorities and their plans for when they start running services on 1 April 2023.

The meetings have been organised to cover the two new authority areas.

On Tuesday 15 November, parish councils in Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland are invited to hear from Cumberland's Shadow Authority Leader Cllr Mark Fryer and the Chief Executive Andrew Seekings.

Join LGR update for Cumberland town and parish councils - 15 November at 6.30pm

On Wednesday 16 November, parish councils in Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland have the opportunity to join Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority Leader Jonathan Brook and the Chief Executive Sam Plum.

Join LGR update for Westmorland and Furness town and parish councils - 16 November at 6.30pm


First four year Council Plan for Cumberland agreed

Cumberland Council Plan

The Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council has agreed its Council Plan for its first four years of operation.

The plan is a key document outlining the focus for the new authority, as well as how it will operate and what residents can expect. The plan puts the health and wellbeing of Cumberland residents at the heart of everything the council seeks to achieve.

Central to the plan is the Council's Vision. This is that "Cumberland Council takes a fresh approach to the delivery of inclusive services that are shaped by our residents and communities. By enabling positive outcomes for health and wellbeing, prosperity and the environment we will fulfil the potential of our people and our area."

A draft plan underwent a consultation during the summer with members of the public, staff, as well as local partners and organisations, feeding in more than 500 responses to help shape a final document.

The Shadow Authority for Cumberland's Council Plan.

Image description: Cover of Cumberland Council Plan 2023-27 showing a family walking in countryside

Draft Westmorland and Furness Council Plan

Public support for Westmorland and Furness Council Plan

A similar process has been under way at the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness.

Around three-quarters of respondents surveyed have backed the vision, priorities and values being proposed by the new council. Its draft plan outlines a vision to make Westmorland and Furness 'A great place to live, work and thrive - now and in the future'.

Priorities for the new council include addressing health and social inequalities, measures to tackle climate change, highways and transport, empowering and working with communities, children's care, the economy and housing.

All the feedback received will now help to inform the final version of the Council Plan due to be approved later this year.

A number of refinements will be made to the draft in light of the engagement feedback, including additional material celebrating the communities of Westmorland and Furness and what makes them unique and a more active focus on equality and diversity and on connectivity, housing and the role of transport.

The Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council Plan.

Image description: Cover of draft Westmorland and Furness Council Plan - a framework for our new council showing a family playing outdoors


Budget setting for new councils under way

The budget setting process for the new authorities is now underway.

Reports to both councils show the starting point for the budget process and set out the latest estimated funding position, budget pressures, key financial risks, and challenges influencing the councils' financial plans.

These reports bring together the district council financial plans and disaggregate those of the county council, outlining expected income from things like business rates, council tax, fees and charges, as well as spending pressures on the new council. These include inflation and wage growth. Where necessary, they use estimates and assumptions as there is a lot we currently do not know, including what central government policy will be on areas like grants or business rates rises.

Over the coming months officers and members will undertake a lot more work to ensure the financial sustainability of the new authorities while continuing to deliver excellent services.

Draft budget report considered by the Executive of the Shadow Cumberland Council on 27 October.

Draft budget report to be considered by the Cabinet of the Shadow Westmorland and Furness Council on 11 November.

It is anticipated that final budgets for 2023/24 will be agreed in February.


Agreement for new Parish of Barrow Council

Members of Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority unanimously agreed that a new parish council for Barrow be established, with elections to be held next May.

The decision followed a public consultation earlier this year, which showed a majority of respondents were supportive.

A review concluded a parish council would bring the benefit of creating a local, democratically elected voice for the town, which is a significant urban area in Westmorland and Furness with substantial employment, clear aspirations and potential for growth. 

The new Parish of Barrow will be made up of the existing 11 wards of Barrow Borough Council covering the unparished area of the borough, Walney North, Walney South, Barrow Island, Hindpool, Central, Ormsgill, Parkside, Risedale, Hawcoat, Newbarns and Roosecote. The new council will have 21 councillors in total, with two councillors in each ward apart from Barrow Island, which will have one representative.

The Cabinet of the Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority has already agreed to make a contribution of up to £100,000 towards the costs of the initial election of councillors.


LGR updates

Map of Cumbria showing locations of four anchor offices for Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Councils

Both Shadow Authorities have agreed where their key office locations will be.

Known as 'anchor buildings' they are a move away from having one single headquarters building, as all seven councils currently have.

Each authority has agreed four anchor buildings in their area (see map).

Both new councils have also agreed the principle that staff will continue to be able to work flexibly between office locations from 1 April 2023, irrespective of which authority they are employed by. This is to allow freedom of movement and avoid staff having to relocate work base.

Image description: Map of Cumbria that shows where the locations of the four anchor buildings are located as chosen by both authorities. Cumberland Council: Cumbria House (Carlisle), Civic Centre (Carlisle), Allerdale House (Workington) and The Market Hall and Copeland Centre (Whitehaven). Westmorland and Furness Council: Vereda House (Penrith), Kendal Town Hall and South Lakeland House (Kendal), County Hall (Kendal) and Barrow Town Hall (Barrow).  

Have your say on new Council Tax Reduction Schemes by taking part in two online consultations.

Council Tax Reduction is a discount that helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax bill. The two new councils are proposing schemes similar to those currently operating which would provide the maximum level of reduction for people most in need. 

The consultations are now underway and the deadline for comments is Sunday 20 November.

Cumberland Council consultation on Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

Westmorland and Furness Council consultation on Council Tax Reduction Scheme.


Find out more and feedback

We hope that you found the newsletter to be a useful resource. Your views and feedback are very important to us. It would help us greatly to improve the information we provide if you would complete our short feedback form.

<<Complete our short feedback form>>

Have a question for us?

Email: info@newcouncilsforcumbria.info

Find out more

Don't forget, the website newcouncilsforcumbria.info is the home for information on LGR.

Keep an eye out for the next newsletter which will be published in December

Recap

The first elections to the two new unitary authorities which will run services from April 2023 took place on 5 May.

Those councillors elected in the new authority areas of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness have formed the Shadow Authorities that will make decisions on how the new authorities are to operate from 1 April 1, 2023.

Until that date the current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will continue to run all local authority services.

An LGR Programme Board, covering the seven existing authorities, is leading the preparatory work to establish the two new unitary authorities.


What's happened since May's newsletter?

The Shadow Authorities have begun meeting and made some important early decisions such as the appointment of leaders, their executives, chairs and interim statutory appointments. 

Leadership and portfolio holder details can be found at The Shadow Executive members | Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness (moderngov.co.uk)

The first draft of blueprints for services from 1 April, 2023, have been drawn up and will be considered by the shadow councils later this month.

Service blueprints provide the current picture of how each service is delivered and how it could be split, aggregated or shared between the new councils to be ready for vesting day. There are 47 blueprints covering all the services provided by all seven councils.

The two Shadow Executives are meeting formally on 20 July for Cumberland and 22 July for Westmorland and Furness to consider reports on the blueprints. They will be available to view on the Shadow Authority websites this week - Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council.

The allocation of staff to the new councils can only begin once the Shadow Executives have made decisions about service blueprints. Engagement with staff on the allocation process will start soon and is expected to carry on until November.


Branding and council plans

At the same Shadow Executive meetings later this month, members will discuss two other important areas - their branding and council plans.

The meetings will consider reports detailing steps towards adopting council plans.

The two plans will set out the high level strategic direction for the new authorities including their vision, priorities, values and principles.

On branding, Cumberland will discuss a recommended design for their new authority which takes its inspiration from the Cumberland Flag and features a Grass-of-Parnassus flower which is the county flower of Cumberland. It contains two parallel waved lines, representing the area's fells and mountains, coast and lakes. The colours of blue and green also link to this natural theme. 

Whilst the logo reflects the area's heritage, the typeface is contemporary, showing Cumberland as a modern, forward-thinking place to live, work and invest in. If councillors decide to proceed with this design, conversations will be held with key partners and staff to further refine the design and the corporate identity manual. 

For Westmorland, two design options have been developed from a brief that asked designers to create a logo that is modern, clean and flexible, incorporating elements that represent all the council's area of Eden, Furness and South Lakeland. 

The first design has aspects that reference 'rolling hills' (of the Pennines and Lake District area), sea and water. It uses elements from local historic flags and spells out the W and the F from Westmorland and Furness.

The second design again has clear references to historic flags of the area alongside mountains, rivers and hills and together the three main elements create a logo with elements that look like a crest.

It is being recommended the two draft designs be shared with a range of people to gather comments and views.

For more on both the approach to council plans and the branding, see next week's meeting papers at Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council.

All logos subject to approval and further design changes. Not for reproduction.

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 jul tp logo1


The recommended logo for Cumberland Council

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 tp logo 2


Westmorland and Furness Council logo option 1

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 tp logo 3


Westmorland and Furness Council logo option 2


Chief Executives recruitment under way 

The recruitment process is underway to secure permanent Chief Executives for both of the new councils.

The roles are 'a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape and lead one of two brand new councils for Cumbria'. 

Cllr Mark Fryer, Leader of the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council, said: "The recruitment of a new Chief Executive is an important step forward towards the new Cumberland Council coming into place next April.

"We are looking for an inspirational leader, brimming with energy who is committed to driving forward positive change for the area, delivering quality services that will make a real difference to people's lives."

Cllr Jonathan Brook, Leader of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council, said: "We are looking for someone with the right qualities and experience to oversee an ambitious programme of transformation and be committed to delivering quality services to residents and businesses.

"This is a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity, to shape and lead a brand-new council. An ambitious council that will shape public services for the better, building on the best and transforming public services for the future."

The closing date for applications was 4 July with a selection process now progressing.


Shadow Executive and Cabinet meetings in June

shadw meetings 1

Cumberland Executive members who were in attendance for the meeting on 15 June 2022. 

Meetings have been held by the political leaders of the two Shadow Authorities.

The Executive for Cumberland Council met for the first time as it begins the process of laying the foundations for the new council in readiness to start delivering local services from 1 April 2023.

At the meeting in Carlisle on 15 June, councillors received an update on the progress for local government reorganisation in Cumbria from the Programme Director, Kim Rennie. This included an overview of work to date as well as confirmation of the Implementation Plan going forward, and the team set-up to deliver it.

As part of the process of reorganisation, councillors also agreed the details of contracts and land disposals that the current district councils and county council can enter into only with the consent of the Executive of the Shadow Authority.

Members of Westmorland and Furness Shadow Authority's Cabinet were in Barrow on 10 June for their first meeting, and took the opportunity to meet Barrow councillors, as well as borough and county council officers, and to go on a tour of the Barrow district, including taking in the Dock Museum, one of the Town Deal investment sites at Earnse Bay, the Marina Village and some of the council's housing stock.

The Cabinet meetings are being rotated around all three districts that make up the Westmorland and Furness Council area, with the next meeting in July planned for Kendal in South Lakeland and then the following Cabinet heading to Penrith in the Eden District Council area.

wmf 2

Members of the Cabinet of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council joined Barrow councillors and borough and county council officers to tour the Barrow area on 10 June, following their Cabinet meeting at Barrow Town Hall.


LGR updates 

• Kim Rennie, LGR Programme Director, is leaving for pastures new. Kim leaves behind an established Programme Management Office - so work on the LGR transition will continue as planned.

• Confused between your Day 0 and Day 1? There's an updated Glossary of frequently used LGR terms. View the latest LGR glossary of terms.  

Recap

This week sees an important landmark for local government reorganisation in Cumbria with the first elections to the two new unitary authorities which will run services from 2023.

Voters in the new authority areas of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness go to the polls on Thursday to elect councillors to represent them. Those councillors will form the Shadow Authorities that will make decisions on how the new authorities are to operate from April 1, 2023, and then serve on the new councils for four years.

On that day the current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will be replaced. Cumberland Council will cover the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland council areas. Westmorland and Furness Council will cover the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland council areas.

An LGR Programme Board, covering the seven existing authorities, is leading the work to establish the two new unitary authorities.


What's happened since February's newsletter?

The Structural Changes Order (SCO) completed its passage through both houses of Parliament and received the Ministerial signature. The SCO sets out the process of creating the two new councils and provides the legal basis on which to implement the change to local government structures.

The SCO required two Joint Committees to be set up before the Shadow Authorities are established to make recommendations on some of the important early decisions. The Westmorland and Furness Committee and the Cumberland Joint Committee have now both met twice.

Cllr Jonathan Brook was appointed the Chair of Westmorland and Furness and Cllr Ann Thomson was appointed Vice Chair. For Cumberland, Cllr Stewart Young was appointed the Chair and Cllr Lisa Brown was appointed Vice Chair.

Westmorland and Furness's final meeting is planned for May 10 and Cumberland for May 12.

You can find out more about the Joint Committees online.


Shadow Authorities

New websites have been set up for the Shadow Authorities and provide information on the upcoming elections, including a full list of candidates and wards they are standing in. The websites are www.cumberland.gov.uk and www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk. Results will also be posted here.

65 councillors will be elected in new Westmorland and Furness wards and 46 in Cumberland. These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on the 'Shadow Authority' that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on the new council, which 'go live' on 1 April 2023.

After the elections there will be an induction day for the new councillors on May 9 and the first meetings of both Shadow Authorities will be held on May 17, Cumberland at 10.30am and Westmorland and Furness at 2.30pm.

The Shadow Authorities will adopt a constitution and code of conduct and appoint a Cabinet and Leader. And they will take decisions to prepare for the running of all services currently carried out by Cumbria's county, borough and district councils from 1 April 2023.

The Shadow Authorities will oversee an implementation plan, to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of services for local communities and the setting of a budget for the first year of the new council.

They will also appoint interim and permanent officers to key statutory positions, so that the new council can legally operate.

Interview panels for the interim roles were made up of nominated members of the Joint Committees. Their recommendations will now go to the respective Joint Committees who will be asked to agree them. This will then be put before the relevant Shadow Authorities for final agreement at their first meetings in May.

The nominated appointees are:


Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council

  • Interim Head of Paid Service - Sam Plum, Chief Executive at Barrow Borough Council.
  • Interim Monitoring Officer - Linda Fisher, South Lakeland District Council.
  • Interim Chief Finance Officer - Helen Smith, South Lakeland District Council.


Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council

  • Interim Head of Paid Service - Andrew Seekings, Chief Executive at Allerdale Borough Council.

No Expressions of Interest were received for the roles of Interim Monitoring Officer and Interim Chief Finance Officer for the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council. These roles are being re-advertised internally within the seven councils.


Campaign for voters

Leading up to polling day on 5 May, you've hopefully seen reminders for people in Cumbria to get involved in this year's elections to the two new unitary authorities. There's a county-wide awareness campaign running to remind people to use their vote in the biggest change to local councils in Cumbria since the 1970s.

Elections - Have your say

elections img may22 stkhldr

Image description: Male figure holding a microphone. Image reads 'Elections. Have your say. Vote on the 5th May. The biggest change since 1974 is coming to Cumbria's local councils'.


Programme Reset

During March and April changes were made to simplify and strengthen the programme and clarify the roles of workstreams and themes.

Changes included moving to six themes/boards. These are supported by retained, additional or reshaped workstreams and their technical leads.

The diagram below outlines the areas of responsibility for each theme.

themes dgrm - mayy 22 stkhldr


The workstreams and their representatives from across the seven councils have all undertaken baselining and SWOT analysis to build a complete picture of how services currently operate, their range of functions, their resources and outputs.

Now those workstreams are beginning the work on blueprints for those services within the two authorities. The blueprints will be considered by the Shadow Authorities when they are in place. They will ensure that services operating from April 1, 2023, are safe and legal and decide the direction of further transformation from that date.


LGR updates

The LGR Programme Office is recruiting for a Senior Manager with the deadline for applications midnight on Monday 9 May. Details about LGR vacancies can be found on Cumbria County Council's website.

Confused between your Day 0 and Day 1? There's an updated Glossary of frequently used LGR terms. View the latest LGR glossary of terms.  

After careful consideration, Cumbria County Council decided not to pursue an appeal following a decision by the High Court on Tuesday 22 February to refuse its application for permission to proceed with its Judicial Review into the decision to create two new unitary authorities. That concluded the Judicial Review Application process.


Town and parish council virtual briefing

In March, Town and Parish councillors heard direct from those leading the work on the huge transition programme.

Two members of Cumbria's LGR Programme Board, Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, and Andrew Seekings, Chief Executive of South Lakeland District Council, addressed a meeting organised for members of Cumbria Association of Local Councils.

Attendees were also able to quiz Sam and Andrew on progress to date and the early thoughts on what the future may look like for Town and Parish councils.

Further briefings will be held once the Shadow Authorities are in place.

<<Watch the CALC LGR meeting>>

The LGR presentation which was shared during the meeting can also be viewed online.


Find out more and feedback

We hope that you found the newsletter to be a useful resource. Your views and feedback are very important to us. It would help us greatly to improve the information we provide if you would complete our short feedback form.

<<Complete our short feedback form>>


Have a question for us?

Simply email: info@newcouncilsforcumbria.info

Welcome to February's Town and Parish Council Newsletter

The seven authorities working together to create two new unitary councils for Cumbria are committed to keeping Town and Parish Councils informed on progress.

Edition 2: February 2022

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In today's bulletin: 

• Background

• Timeline

• Since December's newsletter - what's happened?

• Next milestones

• LGR Programme Director 

• LGR updates 

• Video of Town and Parish Council LGR meeting

• Video: What is LGR?


Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) represents a huge opportunity to re-think how services are delivered for people and also entails a considerable amount of work to ensure that people in Cumbria receive the high level of service and delivery they expect and deserve.

Cumbria County Council and the six district authorities - Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland - are collaboratively working on the transition to two new unitary authorities on 1 April, 2023.

From that date, the new Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness councils will deliver services for residents, businesses and organisations across Cumbria.

Themes and workstreams have been created to support the LGR Programme Board (made up of the seven councils' Chief Executives) and ensure every area of each council's services and responsibilities is taken into consideration during the complex transition from seven authorities to two.

There are three themes - People, Place and Enabling Services - and eight workstreams: Finance, Legal and Democratic, IT, Customer and Digital, Organisational Development and Human Resources, Assets, Strategic Commissioning, Procurement and Contract Management, and Communications and Engagement. The Data and Intelligence Hub leads on managing the data needed to assist the transition.

The transition programme will facilitate the development of two very different blueprints and the creation of two distinct councils focused on the specific communities they will serve.


Timeline

A programme timeline is in place with key milestones set by the Government. This includes:

  • The laying before Parliament of a Structural Changes Order (SCO). This happened on January 24 and we expect it will come into effect in March. This is the legislation that will give authority for the abolition of the seven existing authorities and the establishment of two new unitary authorities.

<<Take a look at the SCO which is now a public document>>

  • The creation of Joint Committees in March 2022.
  • Elections to Shadow Authorities in May 2022.
  • Vesting Day - when the new councils become operational on 1 April 2023.
  • Continuing transformation beyond this point.

Since December's newsletter - what's happened?

The short answer is, a lot of work behind the scenes, with activity on the programme accelerating.

We have moved from Phase 1, Preparation and Mobilisation into Phase 2, Design. (Phase 3 is Implementation and Phase 4, Post Transition).

In the Design phase, key information on how services are currently delivered is being analysed and options on future delivery are beginning to take shape.

As we move into March and April, those options will be further developed and appraised leading to a blueprint on how the two new authorities will operate services.

Please take a look at the design phase timeline below:

<<View the design phase timeline>>

The programme is creating two new unitary authorities with their own services. Other options may be considered if there is a strong financial or other case.

This diagram below explains the options for future delivery of services:

<<View a larger version of the future delivery of services diagram>>

Oversight on the progress and direction of the programme is provided by the Cumbria Leaders Oversight Panel, made up of the leaders of the county's seven local authorities.


Next milestones


Joint Committees

Within 14 days of the Structural Changes Order (SCO) coming into effect, Joint Committees have to be established, one for each of the new councils.

These bodies, which will only exist for the short period until the elections in May, are responsible for making recommendations to the Shadow Authorities that will be established after those elections.

They will have responsibility for the high level LGR implementation plan until the Shadow Authorities are set up. They will make important recommendations such as the designation of interim statutory officers for the new authorities, that is, the Head of Paid Service, the Chief Finance Officer and the Monitoring Officer.

They will also recommend a new council constitution, code of conduct and members' allowances.

Each joint committee will be made up of 12 councillors. Three from the county council and three from the current district councils that make up the new unitary council.

Cumberland = 3x Allerdale, 3x Carlisle, 3x Copeland, 3x Cumbria

Westmorland and Furness = 3x Barrow, 3x Eden, 3x South Lakeland, 3x Cumbria

There will be a chair of each committee but the chair does not have a casting vote, so it is one member, one vote with equal status for all.

Elections

Elections to the new shadow authorities of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness will be held on 5 May. A notice of election will be published by 28 March.

Voters will be electing single representatives for 46 wards in Cumberland, based on the previous county boundaries. In Westmorland and Furness, there will be 33 wards with 65 councillors, with more highly populated wards having two or three representatives.

Although these Shadow Authorities will not take over the running of services until Vesting Day, 1 April, 2023, those elected will serve a five year term and so will be the first elected representatives making decisions for the new authorities. The next elections are planned to be in 2027.

The returning officers - responsible for the conduct of the 2022 elections - are, for Westmorland and Furness, Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, and for Cumberland, Andrew Seekings, Chief Executive of Allerdale Borough Council.

Shadow Authorities

The new Shadow Authorities must meet for the first time within 14 days of the election.

At that first meeting they have important business to conclude, such as adopting a constitution and code of conduct, appointing a cabinet and leader, electing a council chair and deciding on members' allowances. They will also designate interim officers to the three statutory positions from serving officers at the current seven Cumbrian authorities.

From there, the Shadow Authorities will plan and prepare for the running of all services currently carried out by Cumbria's county, borough, city and district councils from 1 April, 2023.

While they will not control services until next year, there will be regular meetings and further developments within the authorities to ensure the continuity of the delivery of public services from that time.

The Joint Committees will be dissolved after the first meeting of the Shadow Authorities.


LGR Programme Director 

Kim Rennie joined as Cumbria's LGR Programme Director at the start of the year to lead on the work to create two new unitary authorities for the county.

Kim has extensive leadership experience delivering improvement and change programmes within local government. She has served as Chief Executive with West Lancashire Borough Council, held senior roles, including at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, and also worked at Rochdale Metropolitan Borough and Manchester City Councils.

On her first impressions of local government in the county, she said:

"It's a great team in Cumbria with real commitment to working as one team, which is so important in this programme.

"It's clear there are some really good services, but a real willingness to see how they can be improved further in the future. It's also clear that people are very busy; the willingness to go that extra mile is very evident.

"The other thing that comes across strongly is the approach, which sees a good balance between transition and transformation. It's important we get things right on Day One. A lot of the emphasis will be on transition, making sure services operate smoothly from the start, with opportunity for further transformation and improvement. I think that is the right emphasis given there is so much to do and councils need to operate safely and legally on 1 April 2023."

On stakeholders, including Town and Parish Councils, Kim added:

"There is real commitment to keeping our partners informed and appropriately engaged, including through newsletters and events and existing partnerships where we can provide updates.

"We want to engage people at the appropriate time, including in terms of our service design where appropriate. One of the key areas is around existing partner arrangements and how we might manage those going forward.

"Inevitably a lot of the focus right now is internally, because a lot is about how we transition and keep services safe and legal, but I do want to reassure stakeholders they will be engaged in discussion at the appropriate time."


LGR updates 

  • KPMG have been appointed as Strategic Partner to support the work of the LGR Programme Board. The contract, awarded following a competitive tender exercise, began on 24 January 2022 and ends 30 September 2023. KPMG will provide consultancy support to the various themes and workstreams, as well as supporting the wider role of the LGR Programme Board.
  • Cumbria County Council is proceeding with the next step in seeking a Judicial Review of the Government's decision to create two new unitary authorities in Cumbria.

Video of Town and Parish Council LGR meeting

In December, Town and Parish councillors heard direct from those leading the work on the huge transition programme.

Two members of Cumbria's LGR Programme Board, Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, and Lawrence Conway, Chief Executive of South Lakeland District Council, addressed a meeting organised for members of CALC.

Attendees were also able to quiz Sam and Lawrence on progress to date and the early thoughts on what the future may look like for Town and Parish councils.

<<Watch the CALC LGR meeting>>


Video: What is LGR?

<<Learn all about LGR by watching our 'What is LGR?' video online>>

Welcome to your first Town and Parish Council Newsletter

The Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) Programme Board is working to create two new unitary authorities for Cumbria and is committed to keeping you informed.

Edition 1: December 2021

In today's bulletin: 

  • Keeping you updated on Cumbria's LGR Programme
  • Invitation to Town and Parish Councillors
  • Our journey to two new unitary authorities
  • Delivering two new councils - with your help
  • Structural Changes Order (SCO)
  • LGR Branding
  • New LGR website
  • Useful LGR Documents


Keeping you updated on Cumbria's LGR Programme

The Programme Board is working collaboratively on all aspects of this major change for local government and we want to ensure that you and all our partners know how we are progressing towards the launch of the two new authorities on 1 April 2023. From that date, two new unitary authorities will be responsible for delivering all council services for residents, businesses and organisations across Cumbria.

It's a big change! So we want to ensure that you are well informed, engaged in the process and that you have the chance to talk to us and ask questions about the road ahead.

Who is on the LGR Programme Board?

The LGR Programme Board is made up of the below Chief Executives from each of Cumbria's seven local authorities: 

Allerdale Borough Council - Andrew Seekings 

Barrow Borough Council - Sam Plum

Carlisle City Council - Jason Gooding 

Copeland Borough Council - Pat Graham

Cumbria County Council - John Readman (Acting Chief Executive)

Eden District Council - Ian Frost

South Lakeland District Council - Lawrence Conway


Senior Responsible Officer (SRO)

Gill Steward left her post as Cumbria County Council Chief Executive at the end of November. Gill was also SRO for the transition.

The leadership of the programme will be split three ways moving forward, with Allerdale's Chief Executive Andrew Seekings representing the 'west' authorities making up the new Cumberland Council and Barrow Chief Executive Sam Plum representing the 'east' authorities making up the Westmorland and Furness Council, with Acting Chief Executive John Readman representing Cumbria County Council. These arrangements will be reviewed again in the new year.

 


Invitation to Town and Parish Councillors

LGR Meeting - 2 December 2021

Town and Parish Councillors are invited to join a virtual meeting on Thursday 2 December from 7pm.

The meeting will be hosted by Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, and Lawrence Conway, Chief Executive of South Lakeland District Council, who will provide you with the latest news from the Programme Board, the journey to two unitary authorities and how it may impact Town and Parish councils.

It is a great opportunity to not only hear directly from members of the Programme Board but also to put your questions forward to both Sam and Lawrence.

 


Our journey to two new unitary authorities

Green speech bubble with wording which reads 'our journey' 

All seven local authorities, supported by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, are collaborating on the complex operation to create the two new authorities.

This entails a considerable amount of work to ensure that people in Cumbria receive the high level of service and delivery they expect and deserve.

The LGR Programme Board, supported by a Programme Director and Programme Management Office, is now leading the reshaping and transition work. This includes high-level scoping of the required work to ensure all the many areas of service each council is responsible for is delivered well from day one.

 


Themes and workstreams

Themes and workstreams have been created to support the Programme Board and ensure that every area of each council's services and responsibilities is taken into consideration during the complex move from seven authorities to two.

The design of the Programme now includes three theme workstreams which are: People, Place and Enabling services and these are supported by eight additional workstream. These are Finance; Legal and Democratic; IT; Customer and Digital; Organisational Development and HR; Assets; Strategic Commissioning and Procurement and Communications and Engagement.

Wherever possible our aim is to utilise the expertise and knowledge of all staff across the seven councils and all our partners so that, collectively, we are building the house we are going to live in together.

Oversight on the progress and direction of the Programme is provided by the Cumbria Leaders Oversight Panel, made up of the leaders of the county's seven local authorities.

 


LGR Timeline

The below LGR timeline graphic has been created to highlight our journey to the two new unitary authorities:

You can view the LGR timeline in a larger format online. 

 


Delivering two new councils - with your help

We need your help

The Programme Board has developed an agreed set of principles for work on the transition and more than 100 staff across the seven authorities are already at work.

All those involved, no matter which authority currently employs them, are working as part of one team on one programme. That programme, though, will evolve into two branches to reflect the two new authorities.

They will deliver the best for all, remaining conscious of what is best for the communities of Cumbria and the different needs and opportunities of the two new councils.

Co-design is one of the overarching principles of the transition programme. We want stakeholders, our communities and our staff to be involved in the creation of two new councils for Cumbria.

To this end it is important we maintain regular communication and engagement with Town and Parish councils.


How could you help?

We want Town and Parish councils to help shape the two new councils and establish a new relationship between this sector and the two new authorities.

It is still very early in the process and it is likely that the majority of co-production work will take place after the draft Structural Changes Order (SCO) has been agreed in March 2022. The key focus of work over the coming months is to ensure that the two new councils are safe and legal for Vesting Day (1 April 2023).

 


Structural Changes Order (SCO)

The Government has confirmed its intended names for the two new councils.

For the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland areas the council's name will be Cumberland Council. For the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas the council's name will be Westmorland and Furness Council.

The names were contained in a draft SCO - a key document that sets out the legislation that will formally establish the new councils.

Councils were able to contribute ideas and preferences on things like the names of the new authorities, the number of wards and councillors and the election cycle for the draft SCO, although there was no formal consultation.

The draft SCO was received from Government at the start of November. It also included the following information:

Cumberland Council will potentially have 46 members and Westmorland and Furness Council 65 members.

Elections for the two new councils, as Shadow Authorities, will take place in May 2022 and then in 2027 and every four years thereafter.

Joint Committees (one for Cumberland and one for Westmorland and Furness) will be established and each one will have 12 members - three from Cumbria County Council, three from each of the district councils in that area. So, in total 12 members each.

Joint Committees are responsible for the preparatory work to establish the Shadow Authorities and overseeing the implementation planning until Shadow Authorities are elected. The Joint Committees will be dissolved once the Shadow Authorities and Executives for the two new councils are established. A shadow authority is appointed or elected to shape the two new councils ready for vesting on 1 April 2023, the date the new councils 'go live'. At this point the shadow authorities are also dissolved.

All councils have had opportunity to feed back on the draft SCO and it is expected to be formally agreed by Parliament by March 2022 at the latest.

 


LGR Branding

The Programme Board felt it was important the work on LGR has a consistent identity which differed from that of each individual council. One of the internal graphic designers came up with this simple logo. This will be used in all communications on the LGR Programme.

 


New LGR website

We've launched an LGR website which provides a wealth of information, such as information on the background to LGR as well as the overall aims and ambitions of the changes. There is also a timeline of events, a glossary to help residents, businesses and our partners understand the process as well as some of the terminology.


Useful LGR Documents

Here are some useful links to important documents which you may find useful:

The successful bid document

The Secretary of State's announcement

Next edition

Keep an eye out for the next edition which will be published in January 2022.

Stakeholder Newsletters

What's new

There's now less than five months until two new unitary authorities take over the running of local authority services in Cumbria.

And with the calendar counting down to 1 April 2023, there is a huge amount of activity taking place to ensure that public services will be able to operate 'safe and legally' from that day.

As you can read in this newsletter, the Shadow Authorities of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness are pressing on with their operations, with the full authorities and their leadership teams making important decisions on council plans and how they intend to operate from next year.

A huge number of people at the seven councils that will be abolished in the spring are now working on the programme to ensure a smooth transition. Many are doing this alongside their 'day jobs', underlining the professionalism and dedication of our teams to do the best for the people they serve.

This month we reach a significant milestone in the programme as work gets under way to allocate staff to the two new councils, and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, and the senior structures for the two new authorities are formalised. 

It is the expectation the majority of staff will know by the end of November which council they will be working for on 1 April next year. For the overwhelming majority they will be doing the same job, in the same setting. While 1 April is Day 1 for the new councils, work to transform public services for the people of Cumbria is a mammoth task and will go on for many more years.

There's plenty to catch up on in this newsletter and we'd be delighted if you could join us for one of two online briefing and Q&A sessions we're holding next week.

All those involved in this change are committed to working with our partners to make this change the best it can be for Cumbria and we want to hear your views. 


First four year Council Plan for Cumberland agreed

Cumberland Council Plan

The Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council has agreed its Council Plan for its first four years of operation.

The plan is a key document outlining the focus for the new authority, as well as how it will operate and what residents can expect. The plan puts the health and wellbeing of Cumberland residents at the heart of everything the council seeks to achieve.

Central to the plan is the Council's Vision. This is that "Cumberland Council takes a fresh approach to the delivery of inclusive services that are shaped by our residents and communities. By enabling positive outcomes for health and wellbeing, prosperity and the environment we will fulfil the potential of our people and our area."

A draft plan underwent a consultation during the summer with members of the public, staff, as well as local partners and organisations, feeding in more than 500 responses to help shape a final document.

The Shadow Authority for Cumberland's Council Plan.

Image description: Cover of Cumberland Council Plan 2023-27 showing a family walking in countryside

Public support for Westmorland and Furness Council Plan

Draft Westmorland and Furness Council Plan

A similar process has been under way at the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness.

Around three-quarters of respondents surveyed have backed the vision, priorities and values being proposed by the new council. Its draft plan outlines a vision to make Westmorland and Furness 'A great place to live, work and thrive - now and in the future'.

Priorities for the new council include addressing health and social inequalities, measures to tackle climate change, highways and transport, empowering and working with communities, children's care, the economy and housing.

All the feedback received will now help to inform the final version of the Council Plan due to be approved later this year.

A number of refinements will be made to the draft in light of the engagement feedback, including additional material celebrating the communities of Westmorland and Furness and what makes them unique and a more active focus on equality and diversity and on connectivity, housing and the role of transport.

The Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council Plan.

Image description: Cover of draft Westmorland and Furness Council Plan - a framework for our new council showing a family playing outdoors


Budget setting for new councils under way

The budget setting process for the new authorities is now underway.

Reports to both councils show the starting point for the budget process and set out the latest estimated funding position, budget pressures, key financial risks, and challenges influencing the councils' financial plans.

These reports bring together the district council financial plans and disaggregate those of the county council, outlining expected income from things like business rates, council tax, fees and charges, as well as spending pressures on the new council. These include inflation and wage growth. Where necessary, they use estimates and assumptions as there is a lot we currently do not know, including what central government policy will be on areas like grants or business rates rises.

Over the coming months officers and members will undertake a lot more work to ensure the financial sustainability of the new authorities while continuing to deliver excellent services.

Draft budget report considered by the Executive of the Shadow Cumberland Council on 27 October.

Draft budget report to be considered by the Cabinet of the Shadow Westmorland and Furness Council on 11 November.

It is anticipated that final budgets for 2023/24 will be agreed in February.


LGR updates

Map of Cumbria showing locations of four anchor offices for Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Councils

Both Shadow Authorities have agreed where their key office locations will be.

Known as 'anchor buildings' they are a move away from having one single headquarters building, as all seven councils currently have.

Each authority has agreed four anchor buildings in their area (see map).

Both new councils have also agreed the principle that staff will continue to be able to work flexibly between office locations from 1 April 2023, irrespective of which authority they are employed by. This is to allow freedom of movement and avoid staff having to relocate work base.

Image description: Map of Cumbria that shows where the locations of the four anchor buildings are located as chosen by both authorities. Cumberland Council: Cumbria House (Carlisle), Civic Centre (Carlisle), Allerdale House (Workington) and The Market Hall and Copeland Centre (Whitehaven). Westmorland and Furness Council: Vereda House (Penrith), Kendal Town Hall and South Lakeland House (Kendal), County Hall (Kendal) and Barrow Town Hall (Barrow).

Have your say on new Council Tax Reduction Schemes by taking part in two online consultations.

Council Tax Reduction is a discount that helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax bill. The two new councils are proposing schemes similar to those currently operating which would provide the maximum level of reduction for people most in need. 

The consultations are now underway and the deadline for comments is Sunday 20 November.

Cumberland Council consultation on Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

Westmorland and Furness Council consultation on Council Tax Reduction Scheme.


Find out more and feedback

We hope that you found the newsletter to be a useful resource. Your views and feedback are very important to us. It would help us greatly to improve the information we provide if you would complete our short feedback form.

<<Complete our short feedback form>>

Have a question for us?

Email: info@newcouncilsforcumbria.info

Find out more

Don't forget, the website newcouncilsforcumbria.info is the home for information on LGR.

Keep an eye out for the next newsletter which will be published in December

Elections were held on Thursday 5 May.

The results are now available at:

cumberland.gov.uk

westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk

Vesting day for the new councils is April 1, 2023. From this day Cumberland Council will provide district and county council services across the current areas of Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland. 

Westmorland and Furness Council will provide district and county council services across the current areas of Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland.

  • The new Cumberland Council has 46 councillors. 
  • The new Westmorland and Furness Council has 65 councillors.

They will initially sit on two Shadow Authorities until Vesting Day, and then serve on the new councils for a further four-year term.

Welcome to May's Stakeholder Newsletter


The seven authorities working together to create two new unitary councils for Cumbria are committed to keeping stakeholders informed on progress.

Recap

This week sees an important landmark for local government reorganisation in Cumbria with the first elections to the two new unitary authorities which will run services from 2023.

Voters in the new authority areas of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness go to the polls on Thursday to elect councillors to represent them. Those councillors will form the Shadow Authorities that will make decisions on how the new authorities are to operate from April 1, 2023, and then serve on the new councils for four years.

On that day the current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will be replaced. Cumberland Council will cover the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland council areas. Westmorland and Furness Council will cover the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland council areas.

An LGR Programme Board, covering the seven existing authorities, is leading the work to establish the two new unitary authorities.


What's happened since February's newsletter?

The Structural Changes Order (SCO) completed its passage through both houses of Parliament and received the Ministerial signature. The SCO sets out the process of creating the two new councils and provides the legal basis on which to implement the change to local government structures.

The SCO required two Joint Committees to be set up before the Shadow Authorities are established to make recommendations on some of the important early decisions. The Westmorland and Furness Committee and the Cumberland Joint Committee have now both met twice.

Cllr Jonathan Brook was appointed the Chair of Westmorland and Furness and Cllr Ann Thomson was appointed Vice Chair. For Cumberland, Cllr Stewart Young was appointed the Chair and Cllr Lisa Brown was appointed Vice Chair.

Westmorland and Furness's final meeting is planned for May 10 and Cumberland for May 12.

You can find out more about the Joint Committees online



Shadow Authorities

New websites have been set up for the Shadow Authorities and provide information on the upcoming elections, including a full list of candidates and wards they are standing in. The websites are www.cumberland.gov.uk and www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk. Results will also be posted here.

65 councillors will be elected in new Westmorland and Furness wards and 46 in Cumberland. These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on the 'Shadow Authority' that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on the new council, which 'go live' on April 1, 2023.

After the elections there will be an induction day for the new councillors on May 9 and the first meetings of both Shadow Authorities will be held on May 17, Cumberland at 10.30am and Westmorland and Furness at 2.30pm.

The Shadow Authorities will adopt a constitution and code of conduct and appoint a Cabinet and Leader. And they will take decisions to prepare for the running of all services currently carried out by Cumbria's county, borough and district councils from 1 April 2023.

The Shadow Authorities will oversee an implementation plan, to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of services for local communities and the setting of a budget for the first year of the new council.

They will also appoint interim and permanent officers to key statutory positions, so that the new council can legally operate.

Interview panels for the interim roles were made up of nominated members of the Joint Committees. Their recommendations will now go to the respective Joint Committees who will be asked to agree them. This will then be put before the relevant Shadow Authorities for final agreement at their first meetings in May.

The nominated appointees are:

Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council

  • Interim Head of Paid Service - Sam Plum, Chief Executive at Barrow Borough Council.
  • Interim Monitoring Officer - Linda Fisher, South Lakeland District Council.
  • Interim Chief Finance Officer - Helen Smith, South Lakeland District Council.

Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council

  • Interim Head of Paid Service - Andrew Seekings, Chief Executive at Allerdale Borough Council.

No Expressions of Interest were received for the roles of Interim Monitoring Officer and Interim Chief Finance Officer for the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council. Those roles are now being re-advertised internally across the seven councils.


Campaign to encourage voters

Leading up to polling day on 5 May, you'll hopefully see lots of reminders for people in Cumbria to get involved in this year's elections to the two new unitary authorities. There's a county-wide awareness campaign running to remind people to use their vote in the biggest change to local councils in Cumbria since the 1970s.

elections img may22 stkhldr

Image description: Male figure holding a microphone. Image reads 'Elections. Have your say. Vote on the 5th May. The biggest change since 1974 is coming to Cumbria's local councils'.


Programme Reset

During March and April changes were made to simplify and strengthen the programme and clarify the roles of workstreams and themes.

Changes included moving to six themes/boards. These are supported by retained, additional or reshaped workstreams and their technical leads.

The diagram below outlines the areas of responsibility for each theme.

Programme Structure

themes dgrm - mayy 22 stkhldr

Image description: Graphic showing the Programme Structure

<<View a large version of the LGR Programme structure diagram>>

The workstreams and their representatives from across the seven councils have all undertaken baselining and SWOT analysis to build a complete picture of how services currently operate, their range of functions, their resources and outputs.

Now those workstreams are beginning the work on blueprints for those services within the two authorities. The blueprints will be considered by the Shadow Authorities when they are in place. They will ensure that services operating from April 1, 2023, are safe and legal and decide the direction of further transformation from that date.


LGR updates

  • The LGR Programme Office is recruiting for a Senior Manager with the deadline for applications midnight on Monday 9 May. Details about LGR vacancies can be found on Cumbria County Council's website.
  • Confused between your Day 0 and Day 1? There's an updated Glossary of frequently used LGR terms. View the latest LGR glossary of terms.  
  • After careful consideration, Cumbria County Council decided not to pursue an appeal following a decision by the High Court on Tuesday 22 February to refuse its application for permission to proceed with its Judicial Review into the decision to create two new unitary authorities. That concluded the Judicial Review Application process.

Find out more and feedback

We hope that you found the newsletter to be a useful resource. Your views and feedback are very important to us. It would help us greatly to improve the information we provide if you would complete our short feedback form.

<<Complete our short feedback form>>

Have a question for us?

Simply email: info@newcouncilsforcumbria.info

Background

Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) represents a huge opportunity to re-think how services are delivered for people and also entails a considerable amount of work to ensure that people in Cumbria receive the high level of service and delivery they expect and deserve.

Cumbria County Council and the six district authorities - Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland - are collaboratively working on the transition to two new unitary authorities on 1 April, 2023.

From that date, the new Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness councils will deliver services for residents, businesses and organisations across Cumbria.

Themes and workstreams have been created to support the LGR Programme Board (made up of the seven councils' Chief Executives) and ensure every area of each council's services and responsibilities is taken into consideration during the complex transition from seven authorities to two.

There are three themes - People, Place and Enabling Services - and eight workstreams: Finance, Legal and Democratic, IT, Customer and Digital, Organisational Development and Human Resources, Assets, Strategic Commissioning, Procurement and Contract Management, and Communications and Engagement. The Data and Intelligence Hub leads on managing the data needed to assist the transition.

The transition programme will facilitate the development of two very different blueprints and the creation of two distinct councils focused on the specific communities they will serve.


Timeline

A programme timeline is in place with key milestones set by the Government. This includes:

  • The laying before Parliament of a Structural Changes Order (SCO). This happened on January 24 and we expect it will come into effect in March. This is the legislation that will give authority for the abolition of the seven existing authorities and the establishment of two new unitary authorities.

<<Take a look at the SCO which is now a public document>>

  • The creation of Joint Committees in March 2022.
  • Elections to Shadow Authorities in May 2022.
  • Vesting Day - when the new councils become operational on 1 April 2023.
  • Continuing transformation beyond this point.

Since December's newsletter - what's happened?

The short answer is, a lot of work behind the scenes, with activity on the programme accelerating.

We have moved from Phase 1, Preparation and Mobilisation into Phase 2, Design. (Phase 3 is Implementation and Phase 4, Post Transition).

In the Design phase, key information on how services are currently delivered is being analysed and options on future delivery are beginning to take shape.

As we move into March and April, those options will be further developed and appraised leading to a blueprint on how the two new authorities will operate services.

<<View the design phase timeline>>


The programme is creating two new unitary authorities with their own services. Other options may be considered if there is a strong financial or other case. 

This diagram below explains the options for future delivery of services:

<<View  the future delivery of services diagram>>

Oversight on the progress and direction of the programme is provided by the Cumbria Leaders Oversight Panel, made up of the leaders of the county's seven local authorities.


Next milestones

Joint Committees

Within 14 days of the Structural Changes Order (SCO) coming into effect, Joint Committees have to be established, one for each of the new councils.

These bodies, which will only exist for the short period until the elections in May, are responsible for making recommendations to the Shadow Authorities that will be established after those elections.

They will have responsibility for the high level LGR implementation plan until the Shadow Authorities are set up. They will make important recommendations such as the designation of interim statutory officers for the new authorities, that is, the Head of Paid Service, the Chief Finance Officer and the Monitoring Officer.

They will also recommend a new council constitution, code of conduct and members' allowances.

Each joint committee will be made up of 12 councillors. Three from the county council and three from the current district councils that make up the new unitary council.

Cumberland = 3x Allerdale, 3x Carlisle, 3x Copeland, 3x Cumbria

Westmorland and Furness = 3x Barrow, 3x Eden, 3x South Lakeland, 3x Cumbria

There will be a chair of each committee but the chair does not have a casting vote, so it is one member, one vote with equal status for all.


Elections

Elections to the new shadow authorities of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness will be held on 5 May. A notice of election will be published by 28 March.

Voters will be electing single representatives for 46 wards in Cumberland, based on the previous county boundaries. In Westmorland and Furness, there will be 33 wards with 65 councillors, with more highly populated wards having two or three representatives.

Although these Shadow Authorities will not take over the running of services until Vesting Day, 1 April, 2023, those elected will serve a five year term and so will be the first elected representatives making decisions for the new authorities. The next elections are planned to be in 2027.

The returning officers - responsible for the conduct of the 2022 elections - are, for Westmorland and Furness, Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, and for Cumberland, Andrew Seekings, Chief Executive of Allerdale Borough Council.


Shadow Authorities

The new Shadow Authorities must meet for the first time within 14 days of the election.

At that first meeting they have important business to conclude, such as adopting a constitution and code of conduct, appointing a cabinet and leader, electing a council chair and deciding on members' allowances. They will also designate interim officers to the three statutory positions from serving officers at the current seven Cumbrian authorities.

From there, the Shadow Authorities will plan and prepare for the running of all services currently carried out by Cumbria's county, borough, city and district councils from 1 April, 2023.

While they will not control services until next year, there will be regular meetings and further developments within the authorities to ensure the continuity of the delivery of public services from that time.

The Joint Committees will be dissolved after the first meeting of the Shadow Authorities.


LGR Programme Director

Kim Rennie joined as Cumbria's LGR Programme Director at the start of the year to lead on the work to create two new unitary authorities for the county.

Kim has extensive leadership experience delivering improvement and change programmes within local government. She has served as Chief Executive with West Lancashire Borough Council, held senior roles, including at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, and also worked at Rochdale Metropolitan Borough and Manchester City Councils.

On her first impressions of local government in the county, she said:

"It's a great team in Cumbria with real commitment to working as one team, which is so important in this programme.

"It's clear there are some really good services, but a real willingness to see how they can be improved further in the future. It's also clear that people are very busy; the willingness to go that extra mile is very evident.

"The other thing that comes across strongly is the approach, which sees a good balance between transition and transformation. It's important we get things right on Day One. A lot of the emphasis will be on transition, making sure

services operate smoothly from the start, with opportunity for further transformation and improvement. I think that is the right emphasis given there is so much to do and councils need to operate safely and legally on 1 April 2023."

On stakeholders, including Town and Parish Councils, Kim added:

"There is real commitment to keeping our stakeholders informed and appropriately engaged, including through newsletters and events and existing partnerships where we can provide updates.

"We want to engage people at the appropriate time, including in terms of our service design where appropriate. One of the key areas is around existing partner arrangements and how we might manage those going forward.

"Inevitably a lot of the focus right now is internally, because a lot is about how we transition and keep services safe and legal, but I do want to reassure stakeholders they will be engaged in discussion at the appropriate time."


LGR updates 

  • KPMG have been appointed as Strategic Partner to support the work of the LGR Programme Board. The contract, awarded following a competitive tender exercise, began on 24 January 2022 and ends 30 September 2023. KPMG will provide consultancy support to the various themes and workstreams, as well as supporting the wider role of the LGR Programme Board.
  • Cumbria County Council is proceeding with the next step in seeking a Judicial Review of the Government's decision to create two new unitary authorities in Cumbria.

Video: What is LGR?

<<Learn all about LGR by watching our 'What is LGR?' video online>>


 


Welcome to your first Stakeholder Newsletter


The Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) Programme Board is working to create two new unitary authorities for Cumbria and is committed to keeping stakeholders informed.




Keeping you updated on Cumbria's LGR Programme

The Programme Board is working collaboratively on all aspects of this major change for local government and we want to ensure that you and all our partners know how we are progressing towards the launch of the two new authorities on 1 April 2023. From that date, two new unitary authorities will be responsible for delivering all council services for residents, businesses and organisations across Cumbria.

It's a big change! So we want to ensure you are well informed, engaged in the process and that you have the chance to talk to us and ask questions about the road ahead.


Who is on the LGR Programme Board?

The LGR Programme Board is made up of the below Chief Executives from each of Cumbria's seven local authorities:

Allerdale Borough Council - Andrew Seekings 

Barrow Borough Council - Sam Plum

Carlisle City Council - Jason Gooding 

Copeland Borough Council - Pat Graham

Cumbria County Council - John Readman (Acting Chief Executive)

Eden District Council - Ian Frost

South Lakeland District Council - Lawrence Conway


Senior Responsible Officer (SRO)

Gill Steward left her post as Cumbria County Council Chief Executive at the end of November. Gill was also SRO for the transition.

The programme now has collaborative leadership, with Allerdale's Chief Executive Andrew Seekings representing the 'west' authorities making up the new Cumberland Council and Barrow Chief Executive Sam Plum representing the 'east' authorities making up the Westmorland and Furness Council, with Acting Chief Executive John Readman representing Cumbria County Council. These arrangements will be reviewed again in the new year.


New Programme Director appointed

Experienced senior officer Kim Rennie has been appointed to the key role of Programme Director.

Kim will provide leadership for the Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) programme working to establish two new unitary councils for Cumbria.

Kim has extensive leadership experience delivering improvement and change programmes within local government. She has served as Chief Executive with West Lancashire Borough Council, held senior roles, including at Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, and also worked at Rochdale Metropolitan Borough and Manchester City Councils.

Kim said:

"I am delighted to have been appointed to this new role working with Cumbria to develop the new pattern of local government.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to create sustainable modern, effective and efficient councils to serve Cumbria's communities.

"I look forward to starting this important role and to meeting as many of you as possible in the new year."

Kim has been appointed on a fixed-term basis until May 2023 and will start her new role in early January.




Our journey to two new unitary authorities

All seven local authorities, supported by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, are collaborating on the complex operation to create the two new authorities.

This entails a considerable amount of work to ensure that people in Cumbria receive the high level of service and delivery they expect and deserve.

The LGR Programme Board, supported by a Programme Director and Programme Management Office, is now leading the reshaping and transition work. This includes high-level scoping of the required work to ensure all the many areas of service each council is responsible for is delivered well from day one.


Themes and workstreams

Themes and workstreams have been created to support the Programme Board and ensure that every area of each council's services and responsibilities is taken into consideration during the complex move from seven authorities to two.

The design of the Programme now includes three themes which are: People, Place and Enabling services and these are supported by eight workstreams. These are Finance; Legal and Democratic; IT; Customer and Digital; Organisational Development and HR; Assets; Strategic Commissioning and Procurement and Communications and Engagement.

Wherever possible our aim is to utilise the expertise and knowledge of all staff across the seven councils and all our partners so that, collectively, we are 'building the house we are going to live in'.

Oversight on the progress and direction of the programme is provided by the Cumbria Leaders Oversight Forum, made up of the leaders of the county's seven local authorities.


LGR Timeline

The LGR timeline graphic has been created to highlight our journey to the two new unitary authorities:

You can view the LGR timeline in a larger format online.



Delivering two new councils - with your help


The Programme Board has developed an agreed set of principles for work on the transition and more than 100 staff across the seven authorities are already at work.

All those involved, no matter which authority currently employs them, are working as part of one team on one programme. That programme, though, will evolve into two branches to reflect the two new authorities.

They will deliver the best for all, remaining conscious of what is best for the communities of Cumbria and the different needs and opportunities of the two new councils.

Co-design is one of the overarching principles of the transition programme. We want stakeholders, our communities and our staff to be involved in the creation of two new councils for Cumbria. To this end it is important we maintain regular communication and engagement with all our stakeholders.

How could you help?

We want you to help shape the two new councils and establish a new relationship between stakeholders and the two new authorities.

It is still very early in the process and it is likely that the majority of co-production work will take place after the draft Structural Changes Order (SCO) has been agreed in March 2022. The key focus of work over the coming months is to ensure that the two new councils are safe and legal for Vesting Day (1 April 2023).