Council plan delivery framework

The delivery plan supports the Council Plan. It sets out the key projects we plan to carry out during the year and what we aim to achieve.

Foreword from Council Leader Jonathan Brook

Through our recently published Council Plan, we explained how we intended to place people at the centre of everything we do, and we set out a fresh vision for Westmorland and Furness to be ‘a great place to live, work and thrive’. We are now building on this with the Council Plan Delivery Framework. This seeks to harness the passion and ambition set out in the Council Plan and explain our mission to deliver the best possible outcomes for residents, communities, and businesses. It also provides more information about how we will do this and what we will deliver this year.

Grounded in the six strategic priorities in our Council Plan, we’ve identified ten themes for our area and created intentionally bold mission statements for each. Achieving these missions won’t be easy, and we won’t be able to do this on our own.  Our success will depend on being able to develop meaningful and collaborative relationships with our partners and communities and by working together we are confident that we can get things done.

We’re looking forward to working with you and warmly invite you to join us on this journey to make the vision a reality in the years to come.



Westmorland and Furness Council came into being on the 1st April 2023, setting out its vision, values and priorities for the next five years in the Council Plan 2023-28.

This Delivery Framework builds on the Council Plan and works within the parameters set out in our Medium-Term Financial Plan. It provides more information about what we plan to deliver and how we will work with you, making the most of our unique and distinctive area.

We want to get the foundations right and are working hard to make sure we can deliver efficient and effective services. We are ambitious and want to seize the opportunity we have as a brand-new unitary authority to deliver improved services.

Collaboration underpins everything we want to do. We recognise our leadership role for Westmorland and Furness and that we have to listen, engage and support our partners and communities if we are to succeed.

We need to do this together to make a difference, so please, join us on this journey!

Our six strategic priorities are set out in our Council Plan.

Purpose of the delivery framework

This document explains what we will focus on to ensure Westmorland and Furness is a great place to live, work and thrive. We will work with our partners and communities to make it happen.

In this first year as a new Council we are integrating four councils into one and also delivering early priorities related to our vision. This the start of an ambitious agenda for change. We are also looking ahead to what we will deliver together over the next two to five years of the Council Plan period.

The Delivery Framework must be flexible. We chose not to publish a delivery plan covering long lists of what we will do. Instead we are creating a framework for building our future together. We will hold onto what is great, and will create better ways where we need to.

We will develop new working relationships with public, private and third sector partners. 

We will update this first edition in Spring 2024, and thereafter annually. Each iteration will grow in focus and impact, drawing on engagement with partners and communities to report on progress and next steps on the journey together.

We cannot make an effective difference on our own. It is through developing a shared purpose, honest relationships and strong partnerships that new ways of working can evolve delivering against mutually agreed priorities, reducing inequalities, increasing prosperity and improving outcomes for the people across the whole of Westmorland and Furness.

The delivery framework is:

  • descriptive of the outcomes we want to deliver
  • focused on the distinctive qualities and opportunities we have
  • something to describe our strategic direction but leave space for new ideas
  • something to inspire purpose and to encourage collaboration

The delivery framework is not:

  • a strategy for how our vision will be realised
  • an instruction manual or blueprint
  • complete or perfect
  • a routemap for delivering our priorities

Our values

Our values are set out in the Council Plan.

Our context

Together we are Westmorland and Furness.

We are ambitious and proud of our places and communities. We are aiming high for everyone and will celebrate our successes along the way. Westmorland and Furness Council cares and believes everyone matters. We will engage and work with communities on how we can best help, recognising this will differ to reflect different needs.

Delivery of this ambition will be influenced by our context. We:

  • are the third largest unitary local authority area in England and the most sparsely populated
  • are home to both some of the country’s most stunning landscapes and its most hi-tech businesses
  • have thousands of new long-term jobs, transformative regeneration and nationally significant infrastructure projects in the pipeline
  • have a huge opportunity to work inclusively with partners and communities to identify and deliver outcomes we all want to see
  • must always be responsible, socially, environmentally and financially. It may take time to deliver our ambition and we will have difficult choices to make
  • have extra pressures as a new local authority in updating and aligning legacy systems, policies and practices
  • can make a difference by working with partners, communities and residents to deliver the best outcomes for all, intervening early and in an equitable way to leave no-one behind and provide leadership in the drive to become carbon net zero and sustainable

Westmorland and Furness in numbers:

  • 225,500 people, 34,000 in National Parks
  • 55% live in rural areas
  • 55,800 people in the largest town of Barrow
  • 59,400 65+ years old (75,800 in 2040)
  • 123,777 working aged people
  • 11,815 businesses providing 114,000 jobs
  • 122, primary schools, 20 secondary schools and 3 special schools
  • 107 parish councils and 9 town councils

A map showing the boundary of our area within the context of the UK.

Making our vision real

Westmorland and Furness is a fantastic place, with a world-renowned natural landscape, internationally recognised businesses, diverse sector expertise and knowledge, and distinctive communities.

However, these strengths can also present challenges. Addressing these to make our vision a reality for everyone requires an approach underpinned by three sustainability principles of equity, economy, and environment.

Our sustainability principles are:

Equity - We know that there is a need to address any inequalities, especially those resulting from poverty and rural sparsity. We will focus on the wider determinants that drive those inequalities in a way that is fair and equitable.

Economy - We know that we need to increase our productivity and improve educational outcomes, broaden and increase our skills base. We will support sustainable and inclusive growth which benefits our diverse population whilst protecting the environment.

Environment - As a new Council we recognise our environmental responsibilities, including taking action on climate change and biodiversity loss. We will seek to redress damage and protect our environment for the long term.

Bringing it all together

Our vision and the six strategic priorities for the Council are set out in the Council Plan.

These are at the heart of this delivery plan, with our three sustainability principles of equity, economy and environment, running through the ten delivery themes:

  • communities
  • environment
  • growth
  • connections
  • homes
  • learning
  • care
  • health and wellbeing
  • culture
  • effective services

We have identified ten strategic delivery themes, underpinned by the sustainability principles, to help us focus on the actions we need to take and guide our partnerships to make the vision a reality for everyone.

Like the sustainability principles, these ten themes do not stand alone. They are closely linked and often overlap. Overlaps that helpfully encourage cross-sector working, multi-disciplinary approaches and opportunities for all of us to work together to do the right things in the right places.

Taking a missions led approach to achieving our vision

Each delivery theme has a bold mission. As a council we cannot achieve these missions alone, they require a collective effort to make Westmorland and Furness a place everyone is proud to call home.

The missions are framed with the voice of our communities in mind, but they are also a call to action for our businesses, voluntary sector, government bodies and other stakeholders to join us on this journey.

How we will know when we are making a difference

Success will be measured by what our communities and workforce tell us and by setting success measures for each strategic delivery theme.

This approach will provide transparent and consistent way of measuring progress. It will allow activity to be reviewed and needs-led.  Our intent is to review progress quarterly and update the framework annually.

Strategic delivery themes

Mission, the ambition we have:

Communities - are welcoming, inclusive and provide a good quality of life. They are proud of and care for their local areas. They are able to make the right choices for them. They are resilient, and their voices and choices are heard through local participation.

Environment - Our environment positively impacts on health, well-being and economy and together we build our resilience to climate change and take action to reverse biodiversity loss and to achieve carbon net zero.

Growth - Our economy is growing and providing people with access to a diverse range of good employment opportunities for them to be economically secure, across our rural and urban areas. Our businesses are more diverse and thriving, our large businesses continue to grow, and new investment is further increasing the contribution made to national growth and prosperity.

Connections - Transport and infrastructure enables people and businesses to reliably and easily access the places and services that meet their needs, including online, in an environmentally sustainable way.

Homes - Everyone can live in a place they call home, one which is affordable, clean, safe and warm, where they can build stable, independent, fulfilling lives and have access to schools, work and cultural activities.

Learning - Everyone has access to high quality education, where children, young people and adults are equipped with relevant tools, skills and aspiration to pursue the life they want to live and to access a rich and varied choice of local employment opportunities that contribute to a fulfilled and happy life.

Learning - Children, young people and adults are supported to achieve a good life, safeguarded from harm, in the place they call home, with the people and things that matter most to them.

Health and wellbeing - No matter where you are born or where you live, there is equal opportunity for everyone to live an active, happy, healthy life, and to be able to and confident to choose the best ways in which this is achieved for each individual and for every community.

Culture - is central to our place shaping, the development of creative people and places, our economy and visitor offer, the health and wellbeing of our communities and the promotion of both our unique natural and world heritage cultural landscape. In parallel, everyone has access to a diverse and distinctive range of opportunities to be creative and enjoy high quality cultural experiences across our area.

Effective services - The council listens and takes pride in delivering services that make a difference. It is a modern, innovative and inclusive council with communities and customers at the heart of everything we do.

What success looks like


Communities - our mission

Communities are welcoming, inclusive and provide a good quality of life. They are proud of and care for their local areas and the people who live in them. They are able to make the right choices for them. They are resilient, and their voices and choices are heard through local participation.

Communities - our context

Thriving communities are central to people’s happiness and quality of life, but not all our communities are thriving yet. Across our area there are large differences in opportunities and outcomes in health, education, income and employment, housing, transport, services and facilities.

We want to work with communities to address these issues, devolving power and responsibility where it makes sense. Our third sector and voluntary organisations are integral to our communities and have a critical role. We want to work in partnership with them to achieve even more. We know that when communities take action it can have more impact and be more sustainable because it is rooted in local experience.

Where communities don’t yet have the skills or capacity to act, we want to support them. This community level action is essential to meeting people’s needs and can reduce or delay their need for outside support. Democratic engagement and participation are central and we will work closely with Parish and Town Councils, alongside the diverse range of community organisations we have here.

Communities - what success looks like

  • Locality Boards play a key role in animating and supporting local community action, working with Parish and Town councils to achieve positive change
  • local areas and facilities are clean, well maintained, provide a focus for communities and contribute positively to people’s quality of life
  • people feel connected in their communities and the range of activity available is widened making a positive difference to people’s lives
  • the views and aspirations of communities are sought and influence the work of the council, and other key service delivery organisations
  • a growing social enterprise sector is supported to identify and address unmet needs in communities
  • people are increasingly able to access help and support when they need it through their communities, reducing the need for them to access formal support

Communities - what we will deliver in year one

  • develop a community strategy to embed new approaches to working with the third sector that establishes an approach that supports local communities to come together to plan and deliver community led projects
  • establish three Locality Boards, embed ways of working with local parish and town councils, and work with communities to develop a place plan for each Locality that identifies the local priorities
  • continue our commitment to the Poverty Truth Commissions, bringing people in poverty into the decision making process and maintaining our support for those struggling due to the cost of living crisis
  • work with Groundwork to support the delivery of community led activity in Barrow using £1m of Know your Neighbourhood funding
  • continue work with Cumbria Social Enterprise Partnership to build capacity in the sector
  • work through the Community Safety Partnership to make communities safer
  • using Barrow Town Deal funding invest in community hubs that provide places for people to meet and interact
  • work with Business Improvement Districts to enhance our streets and community spaces
  • develop an Equalities Impact Assessment policy for our work with communities of interest
  • develop a compact with voluntary organisations and local communities to agree principles for collaboration


Environment - our mission

Our environment positively impacts on health, well being and economy and together we build our resilience to climate change and take action to reverse biodiversity loss and to achieve carbon net zero.

Environment - our context

Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the biggest global challenges of our time.

Like the rest of the world, we have experienced the impact over recent years, with Storm Desmond in 2015 and Storm Arwen in 2021 bringing severe weather and devastating damage to the area.

This year, Westmorland and Furness Council declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, committing to prioritise net zero targets, reduce our carbon footprint, build resilience for our communities, prioritising areas of inequality for our most deprived populations where impacts are most keenly felt, and protect our extensive natural capital and landscape.

However, we recognise that we have limited direct control over the majority of carbon emissions in our area. Where we do have direct control, we are committed to reducing emissions to zero as soon as possible. For those areas outside of our direct control, we will work proactively with partners to support Westmorland and Furness to become net zero by 2037.

Environment - what success looks like

  • as a place, Westmorland and Furness will have achieved carbon net zero by 2037 and the Council will be an exemplar organisation
  • we have a thorough understanding of local habitats and biodiversity in our area and the proportion of biodiverse land increases over time, underpinning nature recovery. We are successful in securing investment to achieve this aim and enhance our natural environment
  • there is a coherent and effective approach to waste management, reduction and recycling, an increasing proportion of resources and materials are continuously reused or repurposed
  • our communities are engaged in decisions about how we respond to climate change and biodiversity challenges, with increasing levels of locally led action in support of these aims

Environment - what we will deliver in year one

  • develop part one and part two of our Climate Action Plan, setting out a series of actions that council will take forward to address the impacts of climate change
  • invest £440,000 of Council funding to develop a biodiversity credit scheme to help address biodiversity loses through enhancing natural habitats and enabling nature recovery in our open and green spaces
  • support local organisations to invest in nature recovery activity, with £500k committed to a Climate and Environment Fund 23/24
  • support development of a Cumbria wide Local Nature Recovery Strategy and work with the Borderlands Partnership to develop a programme of activity to support nature recovery
  • start the greening of the Council estate with the development of a solar farm in Barrow, producing an initial saving of 649 tonnes Carbon saving / annum co2e
  • work with United Utilities and Environment Agency on the Drainage and Wastewater Management Plan for period 2025 2050 to secure investment to improve our water quality
  • develop plans for the implementation of an integrated and harmonised waste service for Westmorland and Furness
  • continue to lead the Cumbria Innovative Flood Resilience ( CiFR ) project to deliver flood mitigation and resilience measures
  • undertake Carbon Literacy training for all staff and elected members
  • enable an increase in tree planting using Community Forest and Treescape funding


Growth - our mission

Our economy is growing and providing people with access to a diverse range of good employment opportunities for them to be economically secure. Our businesses are more diverse and thriving, our large businesses continue to grow, and investment is further increasing the contribution made to national growth and prosperity.

Growth - our context

Westmorland and Furness is host to a world class visitor destination with a developed tourism

industry and a wealth of visitor attractions. The majority of our geography is rural; agriculture and

the rural economy play an important economic and cultural role. Belying this rural image, we are

also a recognised leader in advanced manufacturing and energy excellence supported by a highly skilled workforce.

However, industries and their benefits aren’t evenly distributed across the geography. Productivity varies and even in those areas where productivity is higher than the national average, long standing pockets of deprivation remain.

Growth in the energy and defence sector in Barrow and Furness will bring significant opportunity. We will work closely with large businesses and investors to maximise local benefits in a way that is inclusive and sustainable, recognising the additional demands this will place on our services and infrastructure.

Our vibrant market towns are centres of economic activity across Westmorland and Furness and provide opportunities for further development and growth. Importantly, we want to work with our partners and communities to build greater resilience within the rural economy supporting diversification, social enterprise and the development of new opportunities around our cultural and natural capital assets. Strengthening what we see as vital elements of our effort to attract new people to, and retain them in, Westmorland and Furness.

Growth - what success looks like

  • productivity increases across our rural and urban areas and business sectors, with the productivity gap between Westmorland and Furness and the national average closing
  • the decline in the local working age population is reversed
  • there is an environment that supports and facilitates private sector investment in our high growth advanced manufacturing businesses
  • Westmorland and Furness is nationally recognised as a leader in clean energy and decarbonisation with increasing levels of investment in the clean growth sector and with a growing number of decarbonised businesses
  • there are strong connections between educational institutions and local employers to attract and grow local talent into local employment and develop the future workforce for our employers
  • local businesses and social enterprises have access to high quality advice and support to improve their productivity and consequently their ability to create local wealth and good jobs
  • our rural areas are thriving with businesses supported to diversify, invest and grow, providing more good employment opportunities

Growth - what we will deliver in year one

  • manage the UKSPF programme to invest in activity that supports local business growth, particularly for our smaller and rural businesses
  • provide support for clean growth investment, including the Spirit Energy proposals for carbon storage and capture in the Morecambe Bay gas fields, for Morgan Mona round 4 offshore wind investment, and the Carlton Power hydrogen facility at Kimberley Clark in Barrow
  • work with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) and their sector panels to support business growth. Provide accountable body support for CLEP’s Growth Hub business support activity and for their Innovating for Success grant programme that supports businesses to decarbonise and to boost productivity through innovation
  • work with Cumbria Tourism on their Destination Management Plan to create a vision and action plan to manage our destination and support the visitor economy
  • begin the development of a Local Plan for Westmorland and Furness to create the planning policy framework to enable inclusive and sustainable growth
  • progress the delivery of the £40m investment programme of Town Deal and Levelling Up Funding in Barrow to enable completion by March 2026
  • continue to engage in the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal to enable investment in activities to support the local economy
  • work with BAE, as Westmorland and Furness’s largest single employer, through a Planning Performance Agreement to support the development of Barrow as an international centre of excellence in submarine manufacturing and defence
  • work with CLEP to deliver careers advice and skills training to help enable local people to access good jobs and to support business growth


Connections - our mission

Transport and infrastructure enables people and businesses to reliably and easily access the places and services that meet their needs, including online, in an environmentally sustainable way.

Connections - our context

Good connectivity is central to successful places, and this is particularly relevant in Westmorland

and Furness. The considerable size, sparsity of population and rural nature of much of the area

means there is an inherent need for people to travel further for employment opportunities, to

meet with family and friends and to access services.

Although well connected into the rest of the country from north to south by the M6 and West Coast Mainline, and with good digital connection across most of the Westmorland and Furness geography, there is variability. Some of our dispersed communities rely upon networks that lack resilience and vary in reliability, safety and quality and connections from east to west are of a lower quality.

We want to improve transport choice and digital infrastructure so that people can make more sustainable choices without having to make unrealistic or unhealthy compromises. This is essential if we are to provide consistent and sustainable connectivity that makes us an attractive place to live, work and thrive.

Connections - what success looks like

  • our road network is maintained to a good standard and investment is secured for key strategic transport routes to improve safety, protect journey times and ensure resilience from climate change that will hamper our future prosperity
  • the environmental impacts of transport developments are understood and mitigated in line with our ambition to be a net zero area
  • a new model of public transport is in place that is functional and accessible, as well as financially and environmentally sustainable, in our rural, sparsely populated area. Over time it provides a credible alternative to travel by car for an increasing number of journeys
  • there are safe walking and cycling routes between key locations in all main towns, and people increasingly choose to travel this way
  • the right infrastructure is in place to support the transition to electric and other non oil based vehicles
  • our digital connectivity is at least as good as the rest of the country with all households having access to at least 4G or fibre broadband by 2030

Connections - what we will deliver in year one

  • continue to support the delivery of the government’s UK Gigabit Programme; investing £108.5m to deliver gigabit capable services to 60,000 properties across Cumbria
  • work with Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited on the Government’s Shared Rural Network programme that seeks to deliver 95% 4G coverage from the four major mobile operators
  • secure investment in the strategic road network, including final approval for dualling the A66 by National Highways, Final Business Case approval for the Grizebeck improvement scheme on the A595 and a commitment to improving the A590 corridor
  • encourage people to travel sustainably, through provision of free bus travel for people over 60 and provision of the A2B travel card to reduce travel costs for young people
  • Locality Boards will decide how to invest £0.9m of funding to improve sustainable transport and will invest £0.3m to implement 20mph zones in locations identified by local communities
  • begin delivery of active travel infrastructure including use of Active Travel and Town Deal funding in Barrow and £6m of Borderlands funding for cycle infrastructure through the heart of the Lake District on the A591 corridor
  • develop a prioritised plan for maintenance and improvements of roads, using sustainable practices to reduce environmental impact
  • finish the Rural Mobility Pilot and start the development of a Bus Service Improvement Plan focused on increasing accessibility to public transport
  • support the roll out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Cumbria using funding from the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI)
  • engage with Network Rail and government to secure investment to improve our railway infrastructure and services, including seeking approvals to the Lakes Line and the Cumbria Coast Line business cases
  • finish the A592/A684 Safer Roads Programme with an investment of £5.05m
  • use £3.5m of Levelling Up Funding to improve the road surface on the A595 and A590 as part of the Cumbria Energy Coast Highway Route Upgrades programme
  • progress a review of options for the future of the Windermere Ferry
  • continue to engage with the CKP Railways plc and stakeholders on the potential development of a Penrith to Keswick railway line


Homes - our mission

Everyone can live in a place they call home, one which is affordable, clean, safe and warm, where

they can build stable, independent, fulfilling lives and have access to schools, work and cultural activities.

Homes - our context

A decent home is the cornerstone of a good life. But in our area, people face challenges in finding

and affording available homes to meet their needs, whether to buy, rent or share.

Supply, availability and affordability of housing needs to be addressed to help create thriving places and drive economic growth where needed. It is both new forms of housing and renewal of

existing stock that is required to address our local challenges.

There are large variations in housing affordability across the area, from an affordability ratio of 3.74

in Barrow, 8.39 in Eden and 10.12 South Lakeland (Source: ONS 2022).

In addition, housing availability is impacted by second home ownership, empty properties and

insufficient social housing stock over 6,655 households were on our waiting lists.

The forecast growth in jobs in the Furness area, including at least 6,000 new jobs at BAE, will

place pressures on the housing market. Supporting the growth in Furness will require an

acceleration in the pace and scale of housing development.

Homes - what success looks like

  • increased high quality housing supply of the right type, at the right price, in the right places, to meet demand, both from local people and those moving into the area
  • where housing growth is planned, the right supporting infrastructure is in place to meet local needs
  • improved quality of both new and existing homes to increase environmental and energy efficiency, and decrease health inequalities and fuel poverty
  • a range of specialist housing solutions are available for families and people who need them because of homelessness and/or disability
  • the environmental impact of housing growth is mitigated and opportunities for environmental gain are maximised

Homes - what we will deliver in year one

  • develop a Strategic Housing Needs Assessment to inform the development of a new Housing Strategy setting out a long term plan to deliver our mission
  • agree how to invest £6m of ring fenced funding to increase affordable housing supply and work with partners to take forward suitable schemes
  • work with developers to enable land to be brought forward for housing development. This will include working with Homes England to select residential developers for sites in Barrow and Ulverston
  • develop a Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy to help combat homelessness
  • utilise the Home Up Grade Grant to improve the energy efficiency of homes that are low income and/or are off the gas grid
  • work with partners to invest £2.15m Disabled Facility Grants to adapt homes to meet the needs of older adults and people with a disability
  • begin work on an Empty Homes Policy to get more properties back into use


Learning - our mission

Everyone has access to high quality education, where children, young people and adults are equipped with relevant tools, skills and aspiration to pursue the life they want to live and to access

a rich and varied choice of local employment opportunities that contribute to a fulfilled and happy life.

Learning - our context

Education is fundamental to people’s life chances and to the prosperity and growth of our area.

It is positive that we have a high proportion of good quality schools and many of children and young people have a positive learning experience achieving their goals and progressing on to further education and work. There are, however, a significant minority, whose learning outcomes do not reflect their full potential for a variety of reasons and when compared with their peers locally and nationally their future opportunities will be limited. We want to tackle these differences to

ensure all young people are equipped to thrive as they enter adulthood, and that both academic and

wider achievements are not limited by poverty, disability nor social status.

We believe by working with all our learning establishments from early years through to higher

and further education and adult education we can ensure that Westmorland and Furness provides

the opportunity for learning and skills that enables local people to access the variety of local

employment opportunities helping the economy to grow and creation of apprenticeships and employment opportunities.

Learning - what success looks like

  • high quality early years provision leading to school readiness and good levels of development in our young children
  • we achieve our reading ambition that all children leaving primary school are competent and confident readers able to access the secondary curriculum
  • levels of education and skills attainment are improving across all communities and ages and comparable to national figures and trends
  • educators and employers work together to provide pathways into education, employment and training opportunities for all and particularly vulnerable learners
  • access to learning is available for all and not limited by disadvantage, additional needs, sparsity of population or transport
  • increasing numbers of people access adult education opportunities, gaining new skills and knowledge to support future employment or contributing to their wider individual well being

Learning - what we will deliver in year one

  • work with partners, schools, children, young people, families and communities to develop the Children and Young People Plan for Westmorland and Furness
  • deliver our statutory responsibilities for Home to School Transport, Early Years and Child Care Sufficiency Strategy and School Organisation
  • define and commit to a Westmorland and Furness reading ambition plan to help all children to be competent and confident readers
  • Work with learning establishments and partners to define our educational priorities and support improved attendance and educational outcomes
  • lead our special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) partnership that supports children and young people with SEND, learning difficulty or disability, and deliver the Department for Education (DfE) sponsored Delivering Better Value programme
  • recognise the impact of sparsity by providing a £500,000 travel bursary scheme for 16 to 19 year olds to support them to access education
  • deliver Community Learning activity, including providing numeracy skills adult training through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) funded Multiply programme
  • develop a new Alternative Provision facility in Barrow and assess High Needs Provision across Westmorland and Furness
  • work with partners to increase the number of apprentice opportunities across Westmorland and Furness including recruitment of 16 new apprentices within the Council
  • work with partners and government to secure investment to improve educational facilities in Westmorland and Furness, including delivery of the new Learning Quarter in Barrow and improvements at Ullswater Community College in Penrith


Care - our mission

Children, young people and adults are supported to achieve a good life, safeguarded from harm, in

the place they call home, with the people and things that matter most to them.

Care - our context

We have a statutory requirement to ensure that people of all ages are safe and receive the care

and support they need.

Over 1,100 older people live in residential care homes we operate, a further 1,700 receive

support at home. We are the corporate parent for 261 children in our care, we are engaged in statutory work with nearly 500 more to keep them safe and well in their own homes. We receive

around 320 safeguarding referrals every month that must be investigated and acted upon.

In adult social care, demand for the services we provide has increased steadily, at the same time

we have experienced serious workforce and funding challenges, creating real pressures and difficulties that can be seen in growing waiting times for assessment and services.

Across adult’s and children’s services we have seen the complexity of our work increase and growing challenges finding appropriate care and support close to their own communities. We also

have a growing need for a stronger and more coherent approach to early intervention and prevention across the whole children’s social care system, exacerbated by the continuing legacy of the pandemic.

As a new council we have an opportunity to look afresh at how we meet people’s needs, with a focus on promoting and supporting people’s independence for longer.

Care for children - what success looks like

  • children and families in need are supported at the earliest opportunity and that support prevents escalation of need and unnecessary involvement with statutory services
  • when statutory intervention is necessary, support is effective, of consistently good quality and has a positive long term impact on the lives of children and young people
  • children are effectively safeguarded and across our partnership there is a commitment to working together and safeguarding being everyone’s business
  • more children and young people are able to stay safely within their families and communities
  • where it is necessary to bring children into local authority care, those children are effectively supported to overcome their past experiences and achieve good outcomes that are meaningful for them
  • for young people who leave the local authority care, their outcomes (in terms of education, employment, health and well being) are at least as good as their peers in the general population

Care for children - what we deliver in year one

  • develop our Children Looked After and Care Leavers Strategy by April 2024
  • continue the Foster Family campaign working with Cumberland Council to ensure there are sufficient places for young people in need of care
  • deliver the Children and Families (Social Care) Improvement and Development Plan
  • redesign our Early Help system wide offer, strategy and implementation plan and an increase in the number of Early Help Assessments for families
  • establish a regional adoption agency in partnership with Cumberland Deliver our Neglect Action Plan as part of the
  • Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership multi agency neglect strategy

Care for adults - what success looks like

  • waiting lists for assessments and services are eliminated
  • a ‘good’ CQC rating is achieved within three years, ‘excellent’ within five years
  • we have a sustainable workforce, people want to work here and dependence on agency staff is significantly reduced
  • our care market is sustainable, vibrant and provides choice to people with support needs across Westmorland and Furness
  • there is a strong intermediate care offer that ensures no one goes to residential care who does not need to
  • the experience of young people transitioning from children’s services to adult social care is consistently positive and well managed
  • people in receipt of Direct Payments are well supported to ensure they can access the services they need
  • the vital role and contribution of unpaid carers is understood and valued, and they are able to access support they need when they need it
  • the role of the wider community and third sector is recognised, valued and supported to deliver local initiatives

Car for adults - what we will achieve in year one

  • Launch Promoting Independence Programme, beginning delivery of service improvement activity
  • Ensure Care Quality Commission inspection readiness through establishing performance baselines and robust evidence base, documented systems and processes, and engagement with key partners
  • Produce service user engagement strategy to inform future service development
  • Develop a Workforce Strategy to start our journey to sustainable workforce
  • Agree strategic commissioning priorities
  • Review approach to use of the Better Care Fund, identifying areas for improvement in how this budget is spent
  • Deliver occupational therapy aids improvement programme to ensure no one is waiting too long for help

Health and well-being

Health and well-being - our mission

No matter where you are born or where you live, there is equal opportunity for everyone to live an active, happy, healthy life, and to feel empowered and confident to choose the best ways in which this is achieved for each individual and for every community.

Health and well-being - our context

Health inequalities across our populations are a key challenge. Although people are living longer,

an ageing population together with a declining work force has put significant pressures on our healthcare system, with workforce challenges being a key feature across the whole health and care system.

We have a higher than national average rate of people with a lifelong limiting condition. The rate is greatest in areas that have the highest rate of deprivation and child poverty such as Barrow. This points to the impact of health inequality.

We are unusual in being a member of two integrated care systems Lancashire and South Cumbria and North East and North Cumbria but will work with both to support and empower everyone to live independent and fulfilling lives.

We know that tacking the wider determinants of health such as economic and social deprivation

and actively tackling discrimination are key to improving health outcomes. Our unique natural

environment and outdoor spaces offer an opportunity to support good mental and physical

health and wellbeing.

We recognise the cost of living crisis is placing increased levels of hardship on communities. Our

plans will need to recognise the impact it is having.

Health and well-being - what success looks like

  • health inequalities within Westmorland and Furness, and compared to national averages, decline steadily over time with the fastest improvements in the most deprived and vulnerable communities
  • there is effective integration with the NHS, with an Integrated Care System that is recognised by regulators as a high performing system
  • people’s quality of life, well being and happiness improves, and life expectancy increases over time, with people living independently for longer
  • there is a reduction in the number of deaths by suicide, and in the number of drug related deaths in our area
  • the proportion of the population, children and adults, who are obese declines over time
  • economic inactivity as a result of poor physical or mental health reduces over time

Health and well-being - what we will deliver in year one

  • undertake the joint Strategic Needs Assessment of health and well being to inform partner led development of a Health and Well being strategy for Westmorland and Furness
  • active Cumbria will help get people more active by encouraging more people to walk and cycle
  • launch the Family Hub as a new model for bringing together provision of advice and support services for families under one roof to improve their health and well being
  • healthy Habits for Life programme will continue, offering families 1:1 support to help children and their families develop positive behaviours to maintain a healthier weight
  • we will train our staff to better understand the effects of trauma on people’s lives which allow us to better support them and meet their needs
  • increase the availability of specialist support for people who want to quit smoking and vaping, and the range of products available to support people to quit successfully, working towards our target of Westmorland and Furness being smoke free by 2030 (smoking prevalence 5% or less)
  • work to maximise the use of community pathways and assets to improve health, wellbeing and resilience will begin, focusing on early prevention activity to reduce pressures on our health and care systems
  • deliver the Holiday Activity and Food Programme supporting children to be active and improve their wellbeing by offering healthy food during school holidays


Culture - our mission

Culture is embedded in all we do and contributes to improved health, well being and quality of life. Everyone has access to a diverse and distinctive range of opportunities to be creative and enjoy

high quality cultural experiences across our area.

Culture - our context

We have an outstanding unique cultural landscape which inspires creative people and visitors, past and present.

Our cultural potential is significant, and our goal is for a dynamic and growing, vital and diverse

cultural eco system that underpins the creative economy, and the development and growth of our area and development of our reputation, nationally and internationally.

Collectively we can develop a distinctive vision for culture’s role that aligns with our broader priorities and ambitions and creates the right platform for future creativity, innovation, learning and growth, connecting communities across Westmorland and Furness.

We have an exceptional cluster of cultural and creative organisations. We have a wealth of cultural assets, a strong cultural and creative offer, distinctive heritage and identity, and creative potential to deliver long lasting benefits for the whole area. We want to build on our strengths and utilise our assets.

We want to work in partnership with the creative and cultural sectors, and with wider stakeholders, to develop a coherent, cohesive and creative shared ambition and develop new opportunities around our outstanding cultural and natural assets and our creative people, places and cultural communities.

We want culture to be a driver for the health and wellbeing of all our residents, enabling and

providing early prevention pathways through participation and engagement opportunities in cultural initiatives and programmes.

Culture - what success looks like

  • Westmorland and Furness is a distinctive, outward facing, attractive place with a strong cultural identity that helps the area achieve its potential, catalysing growth and change
  • a new cultural framework and narrative is clearly articulated, endorsed and promoted
  • The new Cultural Compact becomes the new, united, single voice and vision for culture in our area
  • our cultural offer is distinctive, diverse, and a key driver of local economic growth, renewal, and community well being, delivering a tangible return on investment
  • everyone has access to a range of opportunities to be creative and enjoy high quality cultural experiences
  • that there are connected partnerships across our area working collaboratively to build scale, presence and impact
  • the cultural and creative industries are stabilised and supported, and the cultural economy is thriving and growing
  • our resources are used to invest in supporting our cultural ecology, heritage, and physical infrastructure, bringing creative energy to communities to help make them great places to live, work, and thrive
  • council owned venues, libraries, museums, archives and other community and heritage assets support and contribute to cultural development
  • the role and value of culture to the visitor economy is recognised as an integral part of the visitor offer and as a driver to visit
  • culture as a driver contributing to the health and wellbeing of our residents is embedded in our work
  • investment in culture, the cultural and creative economy is realised

Culture - what we will deliver in year one

  • Cultural Compact to create a new strategic cross sector partnership that is driven by a shared ambition for culture and place, to co design and consult upon a vision for the role of culture and deliver against shared priorities
  • develop a new cultural framework to enable cultural and creative growth
  • start development of a new Heritage Strategy
  • work with key strategic cultural partners and National Portfolio Organisations of Arts Council England that contribute to the delivery of key priorities around culture, creative and visitor economy, healthy communities and the environment
  • work to enable local communities to access and participate in a variety of quality and diverse cultural experiences
  • enable investment in opportunities and initiatives that support the cultural economy and boost pride in place, including through use of UKSPF and other funding sources
  • continue to improve and promote the use of our libraries as centres for culture, literacy and learning, including £874,000 of improvements to be made at Kendal library
  • support the on going development of our museums, including the creation of a new heritage gallery “Shipyard Town” at Barrow’s Dock Museum utilising £0.8m of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund
  • Locality Boards will invest £1m in local cultural priorities in each area to develop and promote the cultural offer across Westmorland and Furness
  • invest £250,000 into a new Culture Recovery Support Fund, to invest in support of the cultural sector and to help venues and organisations manage the ongoing legacy impacts of Covid and the cost of living crisis
  • progress the Borderlands Place Plans in Dalton, Penrith and Ulverston identifying the priority cultural and creative projects for investment of £3m that will help to boost town vibrancy, vitality, community and visitor offer
  • look to utilise our prime outdoor spaces as venues to pilot the delivery of some commissioned services and events, to make our cultural offer more accessible for both residents and visitors
  • progress the development of the Grange Lido project to bring the site back into use as a facility for the local community and visitor destination
  • start the redevelopment of the Barrow Indoor Market using £16m of Levelling Up Funding to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Barrow town centre

Effective services

Effective services - our mission

The council listens and takes pride in delivering services that make a difference. It is a modern, innovative and inclusive council with communities and customers at the heart of everything we do.

Effective services - our context

We are an ambitious new council with high aspirations for Westmorland and Furness. We have worked hard over the last few months to ensure a smooth transition from our previous councils to give us strong foundations to build upon. Our staff have worked hard to deliver continuity of service to our communities and partners and we can now look to the future.

We are a caring council our seven values describe the beliefs and principles that guide how

we work and the decisions we make. We will help our workforce bring these values to life every day,

we will invest in their personal growth, fostering a learning culture that attracts and retains talent.

It is important that in defining the future we work together with communities and partners to understand how we make best use of all of the resources available to us. Financial sustainability and organisational health is important for us to deliver on our vision. We can’t do everything all at the same time, so we need to spend more time getting to know what really matters in all of the parts of Westmorland and Furness so we make good decisions.

We will design and deliver a more joined up experience for our customers our communities, businesses, visitors and partners. We will explore and adopt modern and innovative technologies and practices in the workplace that our staff enjoy using and that help them spend as much time as possible on the valued services we provide.

Effective services - what success looks like

  • communities and customers are at the heart of everything we do and can access modern and efficient services
  • we are efficient, effective and well run, making every pound count locally to deliver value for money and social value
  • we have a planned approach to utilising our resources (finance, assets and staff) to deliver our council plan priorities within our means
  • our customers are satisfied with their experience of the council
  • we have a motivated workforce who are happy with their work and feel fulfilled
  • data and insight is readily available to make needs led and informed decisions based on local and national evidence
  • there is a successful shift to an organisation that can focus on prevention and early intervention, rather than responding reactively to acute needs
  • modern technologies and practices are embedded into the council with a culture of innovation and continuous improvement that is always seeking to make a difference

Effective services - what we will deliver in year one

  • begin harmonisation of legacy council services, unifying around the right set of offers to our residents across all areas. Priorities for year one are Waste and Planning Services and improvement in Adult and Children Services
  • develop our operating model, with a particular focus around early prevention and improving the customer experience
  • baseline existing customer channels (physical and digital), experiences, datasets and ICT, engaging with users to agree the core principles for an improved customer experience
  • create the data strategy and build the foundations for an improved integrated customer experience, using meaningful data and insight for evidence based decision making and impact reporting
  • produce our Performance Management Framework, based around this delivery framework, to establish metrics and governance for ensuring success
  • assess the opportunities for the application of new and emerging technologies and how they can deliver improved and more effective services
  • agree our community wealth building approach and the role we can play through our commissioning and procurement practices and delivery of environmental and social value through how and where we spend
  • improve the ‘front doors’ to the Council’s anchor buildings in Penrith, Kendal and Barrow to create a welcoming environment
  • baseline our physical asset base and explore opportunities for making best use of these as buildings for co location and community hubs

Next steps

This is the first edition of our delivery framework and covers what we will deliver in year one. It is only the start.

We will be working with partners and communities to develop and agree future priorities and plans.

We will update this delivery framework using the ten themes as the basis for discussions with our partners and communities about where best to focus in helping to make Westmorland and Furness a great place to live, work and thrive.

We will be using the ten strategic delivery themes, underpinned by the sustainability principles of equity, economy, and environment, to inform delivery priorities up to 2028.

How to stay in touch

If you want to feedback and stay in touch with the delivery framework you can:

  • Look here on our website
  • Visit or write to us, we have three offices:
    • Barrow: Town Hall, Duke Street, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, LA14 2LD
    • Kendal (registered office): South Lakeland House, Lowther Street, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4QD
    • Penrith: Voreda House, Portland Place, Penrith CA11 7BF
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