In Cumbria we have a two tier local government. Bigger county-wide issues such as education, highways and social services are provided by Cumbria County Council whilst six district or borough councils provide more local services to the communities they serve e.g. street cleaning, refuse collections and planning. We have a legal responsibility to provide certain services such as bin collections, whilst other things like providing parks and gardens is discretionary. This means we are not obliged to provide them, but we can if we have sufficient funds and wish to do so.
What the council has to do and what it may choose to do:
The council is obliged to undertake a number of statutory functions. These services have to be provided and the council needs to adequately resource them. The main ones are listed below.
- Building Control
- Development Control
- Support services for homeless people
- Providing Disabled Facilities Grants to enable people to live independently in their home
- Waste Collection and Recycling - we provide weekly bin collections as well as a number of sites around the borough where people can bring items to be recycled
- Tree safety - it is our job to make sure trees do not cause a hazard to people or drivers
- Stray dogs - we collect stray dogs and take them to a rehoming kennels.
- Food safety and water sampling
- Health and safety
- Council Tax and Non Domestic Rates collection and Housing Benefits service - we collect your council tax and can also provide advice and guidance
- Elections registration and administration - we maintain the electoral roll for the borough and administer elections.
- Licensing - we provde licences for all types of operations from taxis to pubs, clubs and gaming
- Land charges register
- Cemeteries (burial)
- Financial services - we are strictly governed in terms of what we can and cannot spend money on.
- Internal Audit - all our actions are closely monitored and scruitinised to make sure we follow correct procedures.
Anything over and above the statutory functions are discretionary services. Whilst we are not obliged to provide these services we may choose to do so, run them in partnership or they may be services that other members of the community offer. With the stringent budget cuts that we are currently experiencing, it is likely that more of these services will be run by others in the coming years.
Discretionary services include:
- Car parks - we continue to provide car parking throughout the borough. For a full list see our car park page.
- Public conveniences - we no longer provide any
- Economic development - we have scaled down the services that we are able to provide
- Recreation and leisure - we no longer provide any direct srvices
- Museums - the Beacon is currently in talks with Sellafield over its future
- Tourism - we no longer provide a Tourist Information Centre - leafelts are provided at other outlets
- Grants to voluntary organisations - we are currently reviewing which organisations we can continue to support
- Parks and gardens - we have had to cutback on most of our activity in this area
- Crematorium - we continue to provide a service at the Distington Hall crematorium
- Arts development - we no longer provide this service
- Buildings and land management - we continue to provide this service
To find information about your local councillor, you can either enter your postcode in the My property section (from the menu on the green bar at the top of the page) or go to the Your council section, then scroll down to Copeland councillors.
Things we do not do
We do not provide any of the following services, these are provided by Cumbria County Council
- Fixing potholes and maintaining roads and pavements
- Births, marriages and deaths
- Social services