Copeland Borough Council

Independent Mike Starkie was re-elected as mayor of Copeland.

Election results for 2019

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Copeland sees rise in job applications

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Copeland council has reported a surge in applications from jobseekers interested in roles in departments such as planning and building control, which the authority previously struggled to fill.

Copeland council HQ

A report written by Claire Dunn, the council’s human resources ranager, said that the number of applicants who were “suitable candidates” for posts was also rising, adding that the increase might indicate that the council was being recognised as a “fair and good employer”.

Our workforce is confident in the work that the council is doing and we’re confident in what the workforce is delivering for us.”

Councillor David MooreCopeland council executive member

Volunteers key to getting 'Town Deal' cash, meeting told

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Local volunteers will have to be recruited to help decide how millions of pounds could best be spent to revive the centres of Millom and Cleator Moor, a council meeting has been told.

Copeland council has managed to get the two towns on the list for grants from a £1bn fund to improve transport, broadband and cultural attractions.

Cleator Moor

The authority has also been given a grant of £150,000 to develop a business case for what could be done with the two former mining towns.

At a meeting of Coipeland council's executive, councillor Steven Morgan said: “Using the money to hire people and consultants is one thing, but we also need to make sure that we get volunteers from the community to help us."

Copeland’s elected mayor Mike Starkie said that committees made of “influential people” from those towns likely to benefit would be invited to form committees.

Once the local plans have ben drawn up, they will be submitted to ministers next April.

Copeland councillors take 'pragmatic' approach on climate

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Leading councillors in Copeland have agreed a "position statement" setting out their commitment to tackle climate change and endorsed the production of a climate charter which will formally establish the authority’s own action plan.

A meeting of the executive heard that this approach would allow the council to thrash out a long-term plan rather than being “rushed into” making environmental promises they were unable to keep.

In the statement, the council recognises that the climate crisis represents a “human-made threat” and is already having “far-reaching, irreversible effects on populations, places, economies, society and the natural environment, locally, nationally and globally”.

The authority’s chief executive Pat Graham said the council would take a “pragmatic approach” to climate change, “not promising things we can’t deliver but starting with the things we absolutely can”.

We all want to see our borough as carbon neutral as we can. What Copeland council can do is set an example."

Mike StarkieMayor of Copeland

Public consultation on Copeland budget

Ewan Murrie


Copeland Council has begun a consultation into next year's budget.

It says it needs to save £1.3m in 2020-21 and is prioritising statutory commitments, with more reliance on grants and income for discretionary services like garden waste collection.

Residents are being asked what they think the council’s priorities should be in terms of town centres, coastal areas and open spaces.

Copeland Centre

Also proposed is a 1.95% increase in Copeland Council’s share of council tax.

The consultation runs until 8 January and is available from the council's website or in hard copy at libraries across the borough.

Copeland Council seek further funds for 'High Street' Fund

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Plans to attract millions of pounds worth of investment into Whitehaven have moved a step closer this week as Copeland council’s bid for government cash gathers pace.

The authority has now received £150,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to help develop plans to secure a multi-million investment through the Future High Street Fund (FHSF).

To give their bid the best possible chance of success, the executive agreed this week that they would seek another £50,000.

Should further funding be offered, councillors will seek approval from the full council.

Farron presents petition against coal mine to Parliament

The Government is being urged again to intervene in plans for a new coal mine in West Cumbria by the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron.

The plans for the mine near Whitehaven to provide coking coal for the steel industry are currently awaiting a decision by the Environment secretary on whether they should go to an independent planning inquiry

Tim Farron in House

The MP said more than 1,800 people had signed his petition, which says the mine shouldn't be allowed to open because of the impact it could have on the climate.

However, the Liberal Democrat has been told to "butt out" of West Cumbria by Copeland's Independent Mayor Mike Starkie.

Copeland Mayor calls for social services to pass to NHS

Local Democracy Reporting Service

John Connell

Copeland's elected Mayor is calling for social services to be taken out of county council hands because the authority is “incapable” of running them.

Mike Starkie believes Adult Social Care and Children’s Services should become part of an “integrated health service” delivered through the NHS and the voluntary sector, instead of the county authority".

His comments follow what he described as a “long line of failure” from the county, and in the midst of the fall-out from the cabinet’s controversial decision to award several major care contracts to an organisation based outside of Cumbria.

Mike Starkie and Anne Burns
Mike Starkie/Cumbria County Council

Councillor Anne Burns, Cumbria's cabinet member for children’s services, insisted the organisation “actually has a strong track record of improvement”.

She said Ofsted had recently recognised the authority’s “continued improvement”, adding: “Their latest report was overwhelmingly positive and underlined the huge progress we have made over recent years."

Fears as London-based charity takes on care for families

Bob Cooper

Political reporter, BBC Cumbria

Cumbria County Council is facing criticism for awarding a contract to provide services to support vulnerable familes in Copeland who are struggling with problems such as drug addiction, to a London-based charity.

Howgill Centre

The Howgill Family Centre, whch provides services from a base in Cleator Moor, has had the contract for the past 22 years, helping both families whose children are at risk of going into care, and children in the care system.

But now the London-based charity, Family Action, has won the contract to provide these services in four districts, including Copeland.

Family Action has as yet made no comment, and Cumbria County Council says it cannot reply yet, as it is awaiting more comments from councillors.

Labour county councillor Emma Wilkinson fears the disruption of a new charity moving in from the far end of the country.

How can a national charity that does not understand our community, that has probably not set one foot in our community, understand how to help our most vulnerable people?"

Emma Wilkinson