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Council plan overview

We have updated our council plan which was agreed by full council on 24 February 2016. The updated plan will start on 1 April 2016 and will continue our aim to become a fairer and greener council ensuring that South Lakeland is the best place to live, work and explore.

View the Council Plan 2014 to 2019, 2016 update (PDF/1MB/12 pages), or click on the expandable boxes below, to see the detail of each section.

Previous Council Plans are available to view in the Council Plan archive

Council Plan performance

The progress of our work from the Council Plan is reported quarterly and the reports are available on the performance page

Council Plan 2014 to 2019 (2016 update) detail:

Our values

The delivery of this Council Plan is influenced by our three key values. These are:

Empowering People

Listening to our customers and our employees, their ideas and comments will help us make improvements to customer service and workforce development.


Seeking continuous improvement in what we do, ensuring that our actions address the needs of South Lakeland

Open and Transparent

Being courteous, efficient and transparent in our dealings with the public

Our strategy update: 2016

Our strategy update reflects progress made in the last two years since the commencement of the Council Plan and areas we want to focus on moving forward. We have continued to promote the interests of our residents and businesses with central government and our work to establish partnerships across local authorities continues to develop.

Economic Growth

We have an Economic Growth Strategy for the district, designed to facilitate the delivery of our economic growth ambition in both rural and urban areas. We will continue to seek new funding opportunities for the economic growth in the district in order to really make a difference.

Devolution and collaboration

We will continue to work with partners on a collaborative approach to devolution.

Working with neighbouring authorities, and engaging with government, we will pursue a positive agenda for economic growth and improvements and efficiencies in public service delivery. Our approach will assist the government significantly in the delivery of its policies on productivity, securing a greater proportion of low carbon energy, increased gross value added and more jobs.

South Lakeland will seek to maximize its role influencing the growth of the Northern Powerhouse and influencing the strategy for transport in the north.

We will continue to work with Cumbria County Council to reduce duplication of work and make efficiencies across services.

We will also continue to engage with Parish and Town councils on what powers they would like to see devolved.

The council will consider what is required to give greater control to communities over what happens in their areas.

It is important to give local people control of local issues that they are concerned about or want to have control over.

The devolution to communities could involve allocating funding to town and parish councils to deliver particular functions but they would need to fund additional services locally.


During the winter of 2015 the district experienced the worst ever flooding incident in the county.

Our role was to respond during the acute phase of the emergency and to provide support to communities during the recovery phase.

In future, we want to work with agencies to understand why the floods happened, put in place actions to minimise the impact of them happening again, and support communities to develop resilience plans so they are better prepared in the future.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Through our innovation and improvement portfolio, we will look at where there are opportunities to reduce costs by using our knowledge and skills to become more entrepreneurial in the way we do business.

We will also continue to build on our successes and identify opportunities for further shared service arrangements.

Our customers

It is important to us that customers can access services 24 hours, seven days a week using the website.

They will be able to access services using their telephone or tablet. We also want to ensure customers have a choice of channels that they prefer to use in the best way for them as set out in the council’s Equality Scheme 2016-2019.

We will therefore continue to work with the Connecting Cumbria and other providers to ensure that Broadband is delivered across the district for the benefit of homes and businesses.

Our Customer Contact Strategy sets out how we will improve our customer service and a programme of work has been developed called Customer Connect.

This programme will be delivered over the next four years from 2015 to 2019 and amongst other things will maximise the use of digital channels to enable more joined up services giving more choice and convenience to the customer.

As an organisation we will reduce costs by using improved technology and reduce duplication of work. This will achieve savings for the council which will contribute to our financial plan savings.

Our members, our workforce

Our elected Members have sought to work collaboratively with all public services and other key partners to reduce duplication of work and improve customer service.

In 2014 we achieved the Investors in People (IiP) silver standard and maintained the IP standard in 2015. This supports our commitment to staff and Member development.

This award will continue to help the council recruit, retain and develop the workforce.

The introduction of a new apprenticeship scheme in 2015 has enabled opportunities for young people into work at South Lakeland District Council.

Our assets

We will look at opportunities to make the best use of our council assets, investing to save and increase income/revenue when and where appropriate to do so.

Our resources

We will continue to deliver our vision via sustainable and cost effective services. Efficiencies totalling circa £800k are included in the 2015/16 budget and further efficiencies totalling circa £421k have been identified for 2016/17 to produce balanced budgets for both those years.

This represents a 6% reduction of the net annual revenue budget of £16 million.

Our successes since 2014

Helping to support housing needs across the district the council has processed over 2600 planning applications. Also the Cabinet backs the South Lakeland District Council Empty Homes Strategy which involves making the best use of existing housing stock and reducing the number of empty homes. The council approved grants totalling £1.5 million for three affordable housing schemes and distributed £325,609 of New Homes Bonus, Locally Important Projects funding.

To improve the environment bin collection days have been changed to make them more efficient - saving fuel costs and enabling plastic and cardboard kerbside recycling to be provided to the whole district by the end of 2016. The latest data shows that 43% of household waste has been collected for reuse, recycling and composting and non recyclable waste has been reduced to 480kg per household. During 2014 a survey revealed that nearly 80% of respondents were satisfied with waste collection. Also new solar panels have been installed at SLDC’s main office, these will save about £122,000 and over 300 tonnes of carbon emissions over their lifespan.

Supporting the economy the council approved a £350,000,000 GSK facility in Ulverston which is predicted to provide more than 700 jobs, and developed the Mintworks Business Enterprise Centre in Kendal town centre to help start-ups and small businesses supporting up to 25 jobs. A free town centre Wi-Fi one year pilot scheme in Kendal was also set up. The council also provides a free advice service for businesses which has helped create 93 jobs and led to 65 new businesses. To improve the visitor experience and tourism related business the council is Investing £250,000 at Waterhead on the northern shore of Windermere. Also several large events were held in the district, for example The Lakes International Comic Art festival created a buzz in Kendal town-centre with comic artists, graphic novelists and thousands of fans coming from around the world to celebrate. Also the council helped to boost the local tourism economy by providing the Windermere Steamboat Museum with a £200,000 grant.

Health is supported by extensive improvements to the Ulverston Leisure Centre including a larger gym, new fitness classes and a recently opened 3G multi-sports pitch. Also Lake Wardens provided life-saving water safety training to more than 3,000 school children. Health and crime reduction has been supported by securing £100,000 to tackle domestic abuse issues in South Cumbria. To further reduce crime £100,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s anti-social behaviour grant is allotted for CCTV cameras.

Young people have been involved behind the scenes at South Lakeland District Council to learn about democracy and about the importance of being involved in the democratic process, and how politics and local government affect their lives.

Value for money has been safeguarded by freezing car parking fees and continuing with the Council Tax freeze. Also flexible three and five day parking passes are introduced in SLDC Car Parks.

Remembering the sacrifices of previous generations the council supported the national Lights Out campaign which saw people across the United Kingdom turning off their lights for the World War One Centenary. A single light or candle was left on for a shared moment of reflection to mark the Centenary.

How will we deliver our priorities?

Ensuring we are equipped to provide the best, most cost effective services

Through a flexible and skilled workforce

Through our Customer Connect Programme staff will have the ability to work more efficiently for the customer and our workforce plan development will set out future requirements for the organisation.

We will continue to develop our skilled workforce with more digital skills and a more flexible, coordinated approach to working across services.

We will take advantage of the government scheme to increase our number of apprentices so their talent can be harnessed, to support both their own career development and the organisation.

Through our community leaders

Our elected Members act as community leaders and are advocates for local people. We will ensure they are given the training they need to effectively represent their residents and support their communities to become more sustainable.

Our elected Members will regularly monitor delivery of the council plan and its measures of success through its Cabinet and Performance Sub Committee. Through the Customer Connect Programme Members and customers will be able to access interactive performance data via our website giving customers the ability to hold us to account more easily.

Members across both the district council and county council will work collaboratively to deliver joint projects and activity so that duplication of work is reduced and efficiencies gained.

Through a sustainable budget

The council will ensure it has proper arrangements in place for securing financial resilience. The Medium Term Financial Plan details the council’s financial position and the resources allocated to service areas and capital projects that will enable the council priorities to be delivered.

Through our Medium Term Financial Strategy, the challenges of a reduction in support from central government funding and the impact of the economic climate are regularly reviewed. Proposals to resolve potential short and longer term deficits have been developed. Invest to save projects will achieve efficiencies and generate income, supporting this organisation to become sustainable in future years, whilst retaining the optimum level of value for money.

Whilst working within regulations our Sustainable Procurement & Commissioning Strategy will give more support to local organisations in tendering for work.

Through improved customer engagement and communication

Through our Customer Connect Programme our single view of the customer will put them at the heart of everything we do and enable them to have better access to services at times which are more convenient to them.

Our customer feedback will continue to be used to inform and improve service delivery.