Ambitious plans for new council agreed

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: .