How we will do this - The Cumberland Approach

The Cumberland Approach identifies fundamental principles that shape our approach to service delivery, working with partners and engaging residents. By working in this way we will ensure that we deliver the right services in the right way.

Cumberland Council is a new council and residents not only want to know “what” we are going to do but “how” we are going to do it. We have identified some fundamental principles that shape our approach and give a sense of what residents can expect from us.

Accessible and trusted services

We aim to deliver excellent services for our residents. Key to this is enabling residents to access what they need, when they need it, in a way that works for them. We recognise that not everyone is the same and will have different requirements from us. We will think about accessibility right at the start of everything we do to ensure that no one is excluded.

Once accessed, our services will be easy to use and easy to navigate. So, whilst we will utilise technology to its full potential, our services will remain seamless, focused and respectful of the needs of the individual. We want to deliver services that are trusted by users. This happens when people get what they need, as easily as possible. Interactions with us should be positive and give people the confidence to contact us again in the future. It is also important that we are honest in what we can do and what we can’t.

Listening, involving and engaging

Our communities are best placed to determine their needs and aspirations.  For us engagement isn’t just listening, it is doing things together.  We value their views and ideas and so we will work alongside residents to jointly create and design services that impact on their lives. We want our residents to be involved and feel understood at every opportunity.  

We will work hard to remove as many barriers, differences and inequalities as possible to ensure that everyone in our community can engage with us. We also recognise that when we do ask people to engage with us, it has to be meaningful.

Learning and improving

We strive to make everything we do the best it can be. This means that we will proactively learn from others to develop an understanding of what works best for our residents and for us. We are prepared to be broad in our thinking and try new ways of working where appropriate. We accept that in doing this we won’t get everything right all the time and there may be complaints and criticism, but we will learn our lessons quickly and effectively.

Prevention and early intervention

Many factors shape our wellbeing: our health and wealth, education and work, the places we live, the environment and our social connections. We recognise that not everyone has equal access to the resources that can help them to maximise their potential and as a result, people can face challenges.  In our rural and coastal communities for example, people can experience health inequalities because of social exclusion and isolation, differences in access to services, fuel poverty and housing issues.

The most effective way to improve outcomes for residents is to work with them to prevent poor health and intervene early to stop issues from reaching crisis-point. In many cases this will mean putting people before processes and providing people with the right information and advice, but in other cases it will mean providing direct support for longer.

Collaborative working (One council approach)

Our approach to delivering outstanding services will be collaborative. We will work with residents, communities and local and national partners to ensure that they can play a part in meeting our common objectives for the area. We know that many of the issues we need to address cannot be tackled in isolation and require a joined-up approach. We will be an active partner and seek to create effective partnerships with others.

We will also ensure that we do not operate in silos, either internally or externally. Our operating model will drive a whole council approach to delivering against our priorities for the benefit of residents. We will continually seek to understand and refine the contribution that all services and departments can make in improving outcomes for our residents.   Through our involvement in Integrated care systems and place-based partnerships, we will work with the NHS and others to improve how health and care services work together, improve population health and tackle health inequalities.


We will be a passionate advocate for Cumberland. We will provide strategic leadership where it is needed and work hard to ensure that the area has a national profile that can unlock additional investment to strengthen our communities. Our approach to leadership is to empower others both internally and externally. We want to create a culture where challenge is seen as healthy and where we are not afraid to do things differently. To do this we need to remove barriers to empowerment and ensure that we provide the right training and support.

Local first

We want to meet local needs and have services shaped by local people. To do this effectively we need to work closely with our communities. We want to be a council with a presence throughout Cumberland. Where services can be delivered locally that will be our default. We will use our assets to act as bases for a range of council and partner services. We will seek to devolve decision making to the appropriate level.

Driving Change

We want to drive change in our area by utilising the strengths that a move to a unitary authority unlocks. Utilising our assets and resources we can stimulate the local economy to create additional community wealth. This will mean developing local supply chains for example. By using a more entrepreneurial and commercially-minded approach to planning and delivering services we can maximise resources retained in the local area.


Sustainability and resilience will be key challenges for Cumberland and the Council. We will always approach these challenges with the long term in mind. We will not make short term decisions or undertake activity that impacts on our ability or the ability of the area to meet its future needs.

We will manage our finances sustainably and deliver value for money for our residents as we continue to operate in a challenging budget context. Our decisions will be the result of robust processes and have long term benefits whilst improving our financial health.

The climate and environmental emergency will be at the forefront of our decision making and policy development. We will encourage others to do the same and set an example in using resources sustainably, looking for low carbon or carbon neutral alternatives in what we buy and how we work. Making a fair and just transition to a more sustainable Council and Cumberland.