Members are asked to
a) Confirm the lead authorities on each issue are South Lakeland DC for Poverty; Lancaster CC for Climate Change and Barrow BC for Health and Wellbeing (as per minute 7).
b) Receive verbal updates from the leads on each issue. NB Councillors Suzie Pye (SLDC) and Lee Roberts (Barrow BC) will be in attendance for this item.
It was confirmed that the lead authorities on each issue were South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) for Poverty; Lancaster City Council (LCC) for Climate Change and Barrow Borough Council (BBC) for Health and Wellbeing. The Councillors leading would each issue be Councillor Suzie Pye (SLDC); Councillor Kevin Frea (LCC) and Councillor Lee Roberts (BBC). The Chair invited them each to give an update on progress made.
Councillor Pye’s area was alleviation of poverty. She reported that she had attended a very positive and productive first meeting with Councillors Alistair Sinclair and Caroline Jackson from LCC and Councillor Derek Brook from BBC. It was apparent that all three authorities were ‘on the same page’ and that working together could enhance each authority’s individual results. Sharing information and working as a Bay Group would make the three partners stronger.
Two strands had been identified, which were short term and long term goals. Short term they had discussed helping residents out with signposting, supporting and putting in place local initiatives and reaching people before they fell into poverty. Long term goals spilled over into housing, employment and retraining. They also planned to look at data to help measure levels of poverty and discussed the stigma that surrounded poverty and often prevented people from seeking out help. This stigma was something the Poverty Truth Commission was trying to address.
There was a further meeting planned in two weeks’ time when Terms of Reference would be considered and then the group would report back further. The intention was to provide ideas and interventions which would be sustainable, not short term, ‘stop/start’ initiatives.
Councillor Frea reported on progress with the climate change emergency and the individual projects going on in the three authorities including the purchase of electric bin lorries, panel vans and pool cars at LCC. The intention would be for the public to be able to register with Co-Wheels and use the pool cars out of office hours providing a community resource. LCC had also been working with taxi proprietors to encourage and incentivise them to move to electric vehicles and would be installing three dedicated charge points for taxis. SLDC were carrying out some particularly inspiring community engagement work on climate change, having Cumbria Action for Sustainability to work with and projects such as the Ambleside to Zero Carbon (A-Z) group as well as interacting with Cumbria University and local businesses and accessing the Rural Community Energy Fund. Also, SLDC had invited match-funded bids for a pot of £20k to really get people thinking about how that money could be used to combat climate change. This had yielded some innovative ideas. In Barrow, there was a low carbon initiative funded in part by the LEP and European funding. It was aimed to make Piel Island carbon neutral. Each authority had its own action plan for the climate change emergency and one of the next steps would be to need to look at those plans together, harmonise and advance them. Councillor Frea reported that officers had been liaising with Cumbria authorities on this area, and also Planning, for some time, which was proving very useful.
Councillor Lewis returned to the meeting at this point (4.30pm)
Councillor Roberts then presented an update on the health and wellbeing area where a theme had emerged – bearing in mind that health was not something district councils were directly responsible for - regarding how the three authorities could collectively stop Bay wide residents’ from either needing to present or re-present to primary care and other health services. This preventative work could help ease the pressure on the health service.
The group would look at their Council plans to see where health and wellbeing sat in those plans. Strands would be drawn together from everything the joint committee was doing, since the health and wellbeing was so closely linked to poverty and housing. Improving housing stock and providing affordable housing would have an effect on health and wellbeing. Collective resources and funding groups would need to be identified and the voice of the community built into plans, finding out residents’ needs rather than imposing things on them. It was important to put the resident at the heart of everything.
Councillor Frea supplied names of Cabinet Members at Lancaster (Councillors Alistair Sinclair and Caroline Jackson) who might be the best contacts for health and wellbeing.
After the updates there was a discussion about how to link into existing groups so that there was no risk of replicating work going on elsewhere. This was a point made clear in the Joint Committee’s terms of reference which required members to actively engage with a range of experts, community organisations and other stakeholders. Linkages would build partnerships and bring things together across the three Councils.
The Vice-Chair thanked everyone for their updates.