Eight existing councils in Northamptonshire are to be abolished and replaced by 2 new councils of North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire to improve the delivery of public services across the county.
Announced by Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP today (14 May 2019), the new North Northamptonshire authority will cover the existing districts of Kettering, Corby, East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough. The West Northamptonshire authority will cover the existing districts of Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire.
The new authorities will replace the current 2-tier system of local government and will be a significant step towards ensuring residents and businesses across Northamptonshire can in future have the sustainable high-quality local services they deserve. The new councils will align transport, housing and environment services and improve education and skills provision.
Communities Secretary the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
I welcome the continued commitment of Northamptonshire’s councils and their partners to driving forward the changes to local government in their area which I have confirmed today.
The 2 new authorities of North and West Northamptonshire will usher in a new era for the county, transforming the way services are delivered so every resident can have confidence they will receive the high-quality public services they both expect and deserve.
The Education Secretary is minded, if there are new unitary authorities, to establish a new Children’s Trust to deliver children’s social care across the county on behalf of the new councils.
The Trust will ensure continuity by centralising children’s social care and follows a recommendation from the Children’s Commissioner Malcolm Newsam in a report published today. His recommendation is based on Children’s Trusts having enabled effective local services for children in need, including in Doncaster, Slough and Birmingham as evidenced through recent inspections.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
Supporting vulnerable children and families must be the first priority of any government, so they can get the protection they need.
The decision marks an important step for everyone living in Northamptonshire, and by creating a children’s trust to deliver children’s social care across the 2 new counties, we will be able to provide the continuity and stability that families deserve.
The 2 new authorities will be fully operational from 1 April 2021, with elections taking place in May 2020 to shadow authorities to ensure a smooth transition.
Read the full Written Ministerial statement.
Following an independent inspection of Northamptonshire county council which recommended local government in the county should be reorganised, the Secretary of State invited the Northamptonshire councils to submit proposals for unitary structures to replace the existing 2-tier system.
Seven of the 8 councils submitted a proposal to the Secretary of State for the establishment of 2 new unitary councils in Northamptonshire. The government then conducted an 8 week consultation with all 8 councils, residents in Northamptonshire and the wider local government sector in November 2018. The consultation received a total of 386 responses.
The proposal for establishing the new councils were assessed against the criteria they are:
- likely to improve local government and the delivery of services across the area of the proposal, giving greater value for money, generating savings, providing stronger strategic and local leadership, and which are more sustainable structures
- command a good deal of local support as assessed in the round overall across the whole area of the proposal
- based on a credible geography, consisting of one or more existing local government areas and having a population that at a minimum is substantially in excess of 300,000
The government’s consultation supplemented the consultation exercise undertaken on behalf of the Northamptonshire councils by the independent Opinion Research Services which included face to face workshops, a representative telephone survey of Northamptonshire residents and an open questionnaire.