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Meeting Details

People Panel
14 Jul 2022 - 10:05 to 13:22
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  • Declarations of Interests



Standard Items

**A pre meeting for Members to prepare for the Panel will take place 45 minutes before the meeting**

The Press and Public are welcome to attend for the
consideration of any items which are public.

Members of the People Panel

Councillor Glover (Chair), Councillors Finlayson, Mrs McKerrell (Vice Chair), Mrs Mitchell, Pickstone, Shepherd, Miss Whalen, Wills


Alcroft, Allison, Atkinson, Bainbridge, Birks, Bomford, Brown, Collier, Ms Ellis-Williams, Mrs Glendinning, Lishman, Mitchelson, Morton, Ms Patrick, Robson, Miss Sherriff, Southward, Sunter, and Dr Tickner.

Public Items
To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutions
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor Miss Whalen and the Corporate Director of Finance and Resources.
Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests, other registrable interests and any interests, relating to any items on the agenda at this stage.

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct Councillor Shepherd declared an interest in agenda item A.3 - Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden  Update.  The interest related to his appointment as Carlisle City Council representative on the Citizens Advice Bureau Carlisle and Eden.

To agree that the items of business within Part A of the agenda should be dealt with in public and that the items of business within Part B of the agenda should be dealt with in private.
RESOLVED - That the items in Part A be dealt with in public and the items in private be dealt with in Part B. 
The Chair will move the minutes of the meeting held on 9 June 2022 as a correct record.  The only part of the minutes that may be discussed is their accuracy. 
(Copy minutes herewith)
RESOLVED - That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 June 2022 be agreed as a correct record.

To consider any matter which has been the subject of call-in.


There were no items which had been subject of call-in. 
Portfolio:  Communities, Health and Wellbeing
Directorate: Community Services
Officer: Jeannie Pasley, Healthy City Team Manager 
Report: CS.26/22 herewith
The Deputy Chief Executive to submit a report on Food Security.  The Chair of Carlisle Foodbank has been invited to attend the meeting and update the Panel on the work of the organisation.  

Why is this item on the agenda?
Item requested by the Chair following the Panel's discussion on issues of food security at its meeting of 6 June 2022.  

What is the Panel being asked to do?
To receive the update of Carlisle Foodback and advise how it may be able to further support due to the impact of the cost of living.  


The Healthy City Team Manager submitted an update from the Chair of Carlisle Foodbank (CS.26/22)

The Healthy City Team Manager reported that as pressures on communities across Carlisle had increased in recent years, issues relating to local food security had  also increased.  This was exemplified by Carlisle Foodbank facing almost a doubling in demand for their support since January this year. 

Foodbank Carlisle were a not-for-profit voluntary organisation, set up 12 years ago in response to growing needs amongst local people for essential food items. They provided emergency food parcels to people through a referral system that identified households in most need of support. The Foodbank recently set up as a Community Interest Organisation (CIO) which had provided them with increased governance and potential sustainability.  From their base on West Tower Street, Carlisle, they received, repackaged and distributed food parcels to those people who needed them most.  Although the project started as a temporary response to the needs at the time, over 12 years later they were still providing a service which was in as much need as ever.

Lockdown was a particularly difficult time for many families, with food security issues leading to the creation of community-led responses, including the establishment of new, open-access affordable food outlets.  Users of these facilities did not need to be referred.  The increase in activity around affordable food also led to some confusion amongst doners regarding who was receiving the donation and created risks of competition for finite supplies of donated items.  To help manage those potential problems effectively, a Food Security Network was established during the pandemic to bring together the different organisations involved in different aspects of addressing those issues. it was hoped that the Network could provide a forum for better coordinating food outlets, understanding food needs across the City and educating people on the difference between affordable food and emergency food, so that they could make an informed choice on who they donated and/or referred those in need to.  

Mr McNulty, Chair of Carlisle Foodbank, stressed that the Foodbank had been a temporary arrangement and work was now needed to make it sustainable.  Due to the increased demand on the service and the reduction in donations, the Foodbank had to use their own monies to provide food, this was not a sustainable situation.   He explained that the welfare referral system worked well and the Foodbank were part of a network of support for people in crisis.  The Foodbank worked closely with the City Council to ensure that the correct advice and support was being provided.

Mr McNulty drew the Panel's attention to the statistics in the report showing the increase in referrals and a break down of the areas in Carlisle that the referrals came from.

In considering the report Members raised the following comments and questions:

- Who was involved in the Food Security Network?

The Healthy City Team Manager responded that the Network was made up of Carlisle City Council , Cumbria County Council and some food hub partners.  The Network met bi-monthly however they would meet more regularly due to the 'cost of living crisis'.

Mr McNulty added that the Foodbank had some concerns regarding the Network not reaching its full potential and also the decision making process.  He clarified that the Foodbank provided emergency food for those at crisis point,  the referral system and welfare support which was in place worked well.  He felt that the affordable food projects had impacted on the donations to crisis food.  There were excellent hubs in the area but there was no evidence that the affordable food hubs were reducing the crisis need.

- Would it be possible to promote the difference between the Foodbank and affordable food to give more clarity to those making donations.

The Healthy City Team Manager explained that the matter had been discussed at the previous Network meeting and it had been suggested that Mr McNulty would look at providing training to Council staff to ensure that the correct advice and signposting was given.

- The Panel asked what Members could do to help the Network reach its potential.

Mr McNulty responded that the Foodbank welcomed the discussions of the Network, noting that actions were limited.  He suggested that the terms and conditions of the Network be refreshed and that the Network be extended to include more groups.

The Healthy City Team Manager offered to support the Food Security Network in refreshing their Terms and extending the invitation to more partners and organisations.

- There was concern that there was some stigma in using the Foodbank and that those in need may not have the confidence to seek the help needed.  A Member asked if other ways of providing food had been considered such as prepaid cards for supermarkets.

Mr McNulty agreed it could be difficult for people to access the help they need.  The Foodbank tried to ensure that the users experience was as valuable as possible, they aimed to make a difference to people as soon as they walked through the door.  He added that welfare agencies worked hard to make the users feel valued and reduce the stigma.  He explained that the Food Pantry model was a good example of a subsidised shopping experience, however there were waiting lists to join those schemes and they  did not provide the crisis support that the Foodbank did.

In response to a further question Mr McNulty explained that the emergency bags of food provided were as nutritionally balanced as possible and were tailored to users.  It was difficult for some affordable food places to provide a variety of food as they relied on what was available to them.

- Were there any Foodbank collection points outwith the City Centre?

Mr McNulty explained that if a referral was from outside of the City but could not afford to travel to the Foodbank they would be provided with a bus ticket, this arrangement had been reached in partnership with Stage Coach.  The Foodbank was keen to establish collection points in Brampton and Longtown, however he felt that the Food Security Network should be looking at the good projects which were in rural areas which needed additional resources.

The Communities, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder agreed that more joined up thinking was required, and that the membership of the Food Security Network should be considered.  There were many issues , globally, that would impact food security in the country and consideration needed to be given to how this would be managed.  She noted that food security was linked to the wider picture of poverty / poor diet / poor housing.  There needed to be better engagement with local communities, including rural areas, to work together and support each other.

-Welfare support such as the Foodbank relied heavily on volunteers, how could some resilience be built into the system?

The Health and Wellbeing Manager replied that the CVS led the Carlisle Community Groups Network, the City Council did support this.

- How did the Foodbank manage food donations from large supermarkets?

Mr McNulty responded that the Foodbank warehouse was set up to hold all of the food donated, including fresh and frozen,  The food was sorted and distributed by excellent volunteers and the Centre Manager.  Some supermarkets donated food or provided food at a discounted price.  The opening hours of the Foodbank were being reviewed to deal with the increase in demand and to ensure that those being referred were being supported properly.

- A Member commented that the current situation with regard to food security and cost of living was an emergency and something needed to be done to address it.

- Community food production was highlighted as an opportunity to help alleviate food crisis in the community.

The Healthy City Team Manager highlighted successful community food production projects within the City and acknowledged that allotment holders may have surplus food that could be donated.  She agreed to explore this opportunity further.

- How were those in crisis supported with costs of cooking as energy costs increase.

Mr McNulty acknowledged the issues those in crisis had in heating food, as a result the Foodbank were providing more food that could be cooked using a microwave only.  In addition support was available for those individuals who were struggling with the energy costs via a voucher scheme.

- There was concern that individuals who had disabilities or limited mobility were not able to access crisis support, in addition those that were not able to leave their house needed the heating etc on and would be significantly impacted by the energy price increase.

The Healthy City Team Manager responded that the Citizens Advice Bureau were very good at providing help and circulating information on support that was available to people in need.

RESOLVED - 1) That Mr McNulty, Chair of the Carlisle Foodbank be thanked for his informative presentation to the Panel (CS.26/22);

2) That the Panel welcomed the training from Mr McNulty and asked that the training be extended to Members;

3) The Panel welcomed the offer of support from Council Officers to the Food Security Network to make the best use of the resources available;

4) That a Cost of Living Crisis Task and Finish Group be established to investigate further the impact of the cost of living crisis and food security on residents.  The Task and Finish Group would provide evidence based reports which would be submitted to the Cumberland Council.

Portfolio: Communities, Health and Wellbeing
Directorate: Community Services
Officer: Jeannie Pasley, Healthy City Team Manager
Report: CS.25/22 herewith
The Deputy Chief Executive to submit a report updating the Panel on the work of Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden in working with the City Council to support residents of Carlisle and District.  The Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden will attend the meeting to brief the Panel on issues facing local residents. 

Why is this item on the agenda?
Item agreed at a meeting between the Chair and Deputy Chief Executive. 

What is the Panel being asked to do?
Note the issues currently faced by residents of Carlisle and District and the work of Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden to help address those; to comment on how else the Citizens Advice Carlisle & Eden can help during the current circumstances.  


The Healthy City Team Manager presented the work of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden (CAB), as they worked with City Council support, to assist residents of Carlisle and District.

Mr Auld, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, was in attendance to brief Members on the issues facing local residents.

Mr Auld informed the Panel that the CAB provided an independent, impartial advice service via a mixture of paid and voluntary staff.  The CAB received  financial support from the Council but it had not received an uplift in support for ten years.

Mr Auld set out the top five enquires for support for 2021/22 adding that there had been an increase in employment advice and utilities advice in the last twelve months.  Mr Auld provided the Panel with detailed statistics from the CAB and the changes to the demographics of those who sought advice.  He explained there had been an increase in those presenting with mental health issues and he outlined the holistic approach that provided by the CAB and partners.

The increase on demand to the service had resulted in budgetary pressures.  The CAB used statistical data to identify the key areas of required support and forward plan potential challenges. Mr Auld highlighted the challenges with staff recruitment and retention, the CAB had excellent staff who were trained to a very high level, this meant they were in demand and the CAB could not match wages being offered elsewhere.

Mr Auld stated that the Local Government Reorganisation created funding uncertainty at a time when all available grants had reduced.  He outlined some of the work the CAB were involved in including rural services and projects with the NHS.  He reiterated that services were under a tremendous amount of pressure due to debt, energy costs, benefits demand and it was likely to get worse.

In considering the report and Mr Auld's presentation the panel raised the following comments and questions:

- Referring to the increase in energy prices, a Member noted that some companies were offering reduced payments which would not, ultimately, cover the cost of the energy bill.  Would this impact the service as debt increased?

Mr Auld was aware of the offers being made by some companies to help with fuel costs but agreed it was moving the problem to a future time as the debt would still be there.  The CAB provided advice on switching energy providers but this had become limited and there was now no long term help for people.  He was aware of grants being given to eligible households, the money was often needed elsewhere and was not being used on energy costs, it would have been helpful for the grants to go direct to the energy bills.

- The eviction embargo had ended, and cases were being progressed through the court system.  Was the potential impact of the evictions being monitored?

Mr Auld confirmed that the CAB had been made aware that social housing providers were beginning to start eviction processes, the situation and potential impact on the service was being monitored closely.

- Was there a change in the demographic of people accessing the CAB services?

Mr Auld responded that there had been an increase in households with up to £30,000 annual income accessing services.  There was also an increase in request for advice from women under 35.

- The strength of the CAB were the staff, Members were concerned to hear that there was difficulty in recruitment / retention and asked what could be done to assist with the issue. 

Mr Auld explained that the CAB had managed to retain contracts and had applied for additional funding to support the service.  The CAB were looking at recruiting people who could maintain the remote service and free up local people to deal with face to face matters.  The CAB were trying to be creative in how the services were provided in order to help as many people as possible.

The Healthy City Team Manager added that Age UK were training energy advisers and it was hoped that this would alleviate some of the demand on the CAB.

- How did the CAB support individuals who had mental health issues who did not know where to turn or how to access support.

Mr Auld responded that it was difficult to support people who did not reach out for help.  If the CAB were contacted they would provide advice, support and signposting as required.  A lot of work was being carried out with other organisations such as Mind to help those with mental health issues.

- Was there a waiting list to access CAB services?

Mr Auld confirmed that there was a 2 - 3 day waiting list for triage, then depending on the service required, there was a 1 to 4 week wait for an appointment.

- The CAB covered areas which would be in both of the new Unitary Authorities, was there anything the new authorities could do to support the work?

Mr Auld did not expect a lot of change for the CAB initially.  The Reorganisation presented another challenge for the CAB but collaborative work already took place within Carlisle, Copeland and Allerdale areas and less so in the south of the County.

RESOLVED - 1) That Mr Auld, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Carlisle and Eden, be thanked for insightful and informative presentation ( CS.25/22)

2) That the work of the CAB and the statistical information they hold be incorporated into the work of the Cost of Living Crisis Task and Finish Group;

3) That the Panel asked, in light of the current cost of living crisis and the impact on demand for services, that  the Executive give consideration to increasing the Carlisle City Council grant funding to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The meeting adjourned at 12:00 and reconvened at 12:05.

Portfolio: Communities, Health and Wellbeing 
Directorate: Community Services
Officer: Rowan Jones, Overview and Scrutiny Officer
Report:  OS.18/22 herewith
The Deputy Chief Executive to submit a report. Mr Rasbash, Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Adviser, Cumbria County Council will attend the meeting.  

Why is this item on the agenda?
A briefing report was offered by Cumbria County Council Officers to provide background and information on the work that Cumbria County Council are progressing in response to the rising cost of living.  

What is the Panel being asked to do?
Receive information on the work of Cumbria County Council; use the background information provided to support their understanding and discussion on cost of living issues in Carlisle.  
Mr Rasbash, Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Adviser, Cumbria County Council, provided information on Cumbria County Council work on cost of living issues.(OS.18/22)

Mr Rasbash reported that costs of living were rising nationally, this picture was reflected in Cumbria. Impacts of the rising cost of living were disproportionally felt by lower income households.   He gave an overview and background of the statistics included within his report.

In considering the report Members raised the following questions and comments:

- Given the increase in energy costs, what support was in place to support older people who were living on their own?

Mr Rasbash confirmed that the DWP funding had a condition that at least 33% of the funding had to go to households with pensioners, this meant £1m was ring fenced.  This was an area with low uptake as a result Cumbria County Council were working with agencies and care providers to encourage those who were eligible to access the money,

- The increase in the number of children eligible for free school meals would lead to an increase in Pupil Premiums for the schools, were there any opportunities to work with schools to help alleviate food poverty?

Mr Rasbash responded that there was an excellent network of schools working with child poverty along with a dedicated County Officer specifically for the poverty programme.  He suggested that the Panel's Task and Finish Group could engage with schools in the process of developing a holistic approach as they knew what the needs of the children were.

- As fuel costs rose was there any funding that could support people with travel costs to work or for education?

Mr Rasbash explained that it was difficult to provide direct support through the funding, however, the funding helped with other household costs which would impact on the affordability of travel costs.

- The presentation detailed a shortfall between financial support provided during the pandemic and now, how much of a shortfall was there given the funding that was being provided.

Mr Rasbash stated that the funding gap was significant, the £20 uplift that had been provided during the pandemic was a significant amount of money that was difficult for local authorities to replace.

The Communities, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder noted that the answers to many of the questions being asked by the Panel were available in other places, she suggested that a fact sheet be produced to provide Members with signposting information to the support available.

- There had been a significant rise in those in employment claiming Universal Credit, was there anything in place to support families with child care during the summer?

Mr Rasbash responded that there was limited support available, he agreed to look at early years support further with providers.

A Member highlighted the changes that were taking place linking tax credits to the Universal Credit and the impact this may have on families income.

Mr Rasbash confirmed that the was aware of the changes, stating that stronger lobbying was required to make government aware of the impact of the changes they proposed.

RESOLVED - 1) That Mr Rasbash, Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Adviser, Cumbria County Council, be thanked for his in depth presentation and responses to questions (OS.18/22);

2) That the communications channels for the support available be enhanced and promoted through local and social media;

3) That the work being undertaken by the Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Adviser be incorporated into the Cost of Living Crisis Task and Finish Group.
Portfolio: Communities, Health and Wellbeing
Directorate: Community Services
Officer: Jeannie Pasley, Healthy City Team Manager
Report:  CS.24/22 herewith
The Deputy Chief Executive to submit a report on the outcomes of the first phase of Thriving Communities Carlisle along with an update on plans for the next stages. 

Why is this item on the agenda?
Item agreed at a meeting between the Chair and Deputy Chief Executive. 

What is the Panel being asked to do?
Note the successes of Thriving Communities Carlisle; support the short term extension of the project 2022/23; and, support proposals for using the learning and experience from the original project to increase the scale and scope of delivery through funding opportunities and joint working with the Sovereign Councils that will make up Cumberland Council.  

The Healthy City Team Manager provided a report on the first phase of Thriving Communities Carlisle and update the Panel on the plans for the next stages. (CS.24/22)

The Healthy City Team Manager informed the Panel that the overarching aim of the Thriving Communities Carlisle was to help deliver Healthy City outcomes by developing a network of social prescribing partnerships and activities that met the needs of residents in Carlisle & North Cumbria, with a particular emphasis on people impacted by loneliness and isolation following Covid-19.

It was a partnership project involving Carlisle City Council, Susie Tate, Carlisle Healthcare, Prism Arts, Tullie House and Cumbria Wildlife Trust.  Funding had been secured from the Thriving Communities Fund, thanks to the National Academy of Social Prescribing, Arts Council England, Natural England and Historic England, with support from NHS England, NHS Improvement, Sport England, the Office for Civil Society, the Money and Pensions Service and NHS Charities Together.

The Healthy City Team Manager outlined the Carlisle Programme and outcomes.  She reported that the Thriving Communities Evaluation Report 2021/22 had been received prior to the meeting and agreed to circulate a copy to Members.

The Communities, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio expressed her gratitude to all officers involved in the very successful programme.  Officers had worked in partnership with organisations, supported by M
embers, to produce a programme which gave real benefits to the community.

A Member felt that planting orchards through community food production programmes was achievable and something that the Council could do as a legacy for the new authority.

The Healthy City Team Manager agreed it would be beneficial and highlighted a community allotment in Upperby where fruit trees had been planted.

RESOLVED - 1) That the Thriving Communities report be received (CS.24/22);

2) That the Healthy City Team Manager circulate a copy of the Thriving Communities Evaluation Report 2021/22 to all Members of the Panel.

Portfolio: Finance, Governance and Resources
Directorate:   Finance and Resources
Officer:  Alison Taylor, Corporate Director of Finance and Resources
Report: RD.26/22 herewith
The Corporate Director of Finance and Resources to submit the Business Rate Outturn 2021/22. 

Why is this item on the agenda?
The matter was included in Notice of Executive Key Decisions and will be considered by the Executive on 25 July 2022 (KD.11/22).  The matter is part of the annual budget process. 

What is the Panel being asked to do?
To scrutinise and provide feedback on the options available to the Council as set out in the report. 

The Head of Financial Services submitted a summary of the 2021/22 provisional outturn and performance position for Business Rates and the impact it would have on the overall general Fund Balance (RD.26/22).

The Panel congratulated the Financial Services Team for their excellent work in delivering the successful Business Rates Outturn.

RESOLVED - That the Panel asks the Executive to consider how the additional transfer of £425,000 to the General Fund Reserves could be used to support communities and build a solid foundation for the new authority (RD.26/22)

Portfolio: Cross Cutting
Directorate: Cross Cutting
Officer: Rowan Jones, Overview and Scrutiny Officer
Report: OS.17/22 herewith
To consider a report providing an overview of matters related to the work of the People Panel. 

Why is this item on the agenda?
The People Panel operates within a Work Programme that has been set for the 2022/23 municipal year.  The Programme is reviewed at every meeting so that it can be adjusted to reflect the wishes of the Panel and take into account items relevant to this Panel in the latest Notice of Executive Key Decisions. 

What is the Panel being asked to do?
- Note the items (within Panel remit) on the most recent Notice of Executive Key Decisions;
- Discuss the Work Programme and prioritise as necessary.  

The Policy and Communication Manager submitted report OS.17/22 which provided an overview of matters relating to the work of the People Panel. 

In considering the work programme the Panel agreed to defer the Youth Projects item until the schools returned.

A Member requested that homelessness be added to the Panel's work programme.  The Chair responded that homelessness fell within the Place Panel's remit and discussion were taking place to determine where the matter should be scrutinised.

RESOLVED - That the Overview Report, incorporating Key Decision items relevant to the People Panel be noted.  (OS.17/22)

Exempt Items


Enquiries, requests for reports, background papers etc to:


No other member attendance information has been recorded for the meeting.
NameReason for Sending ApologySubstituted By
Councillor Miss Jeanette Maria Whalen Councillor Pamela Birks
NameReason for AbsenceSubstituted By
No absentee information has been recorded for the meeting.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.


Also Present:     Communities, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder
                             Environment and Transport Portfolio Holder
                             Mr McNulty, Chair, Carlisle Foodbank
                             Mr Auld, Chief Executive, Carlisle and Eden Citizens Advice Bureau
                             Mr Rasbash, Strategic Policy and Scrutiny Adviser, Cumbria County

Officers:             Health and Wellbeing Team Manager
                            Healthy City Team Manager
                            Policy and Communications Manager
                            Head of Financial Services (Deputy S.151)