Borough Council outlines plans for Local Government Reform

Published: Thursday, 31 May 2018

Northampton Borough Council will outline its plans for Local Government Reform at a Full Council meeting on Monday, 4 June.

At the meeting, Councillors will discuss plans to work with the other county, districts and borough councils on a draft unitary proposal for consultation, along with agreeing the budget needed to complete this work.

The plans being discussed will include developing a proposal set against the criteria, as detailed in the formal invitation from the Secretary of State. This criteria supports the creation of two unitary councils across Northamptonshire, with each council covering a population of 300,000 people or more.

The Borough Council is also highlighting the potential option to undertake a community governance review, which could see the creation of a parish council for the town of Northampton. This parish council would seek to protect the town’s assets and civic traditions, including the annual election of a Mayor.

A significant amount of work is needed to progress the draft proposal and related public consultation by the submission deadline, which has recently been extended to 31 August.

PWC have been procured to assist with the development of the proposal, Opinion Research Services to undertake the consultation and a Programme Director has been appointed to coordinate all of the works, on behalf of the eight local authorities.

The Borough Council is therefore proposing to allocate a budget of up to £100,000 to complete these works, with delegated authority to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader.

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “Working towards a proposal for a new unitary council that will replace Northampton Borough Council is not something we would otherwise be asking for. However, the firm guidelines set out by the Secretary of State, in his invitation letter following the Best Value Inspection Report, including the requirement to have a population of 300,000 or more, has determined the direction we must take.

“We therefore need to act fast to ensure that the town’s best interests are captured in the draft proposal that we intend to submit by the new deadline in August.

“Although we are pleased to have secured more time, we still only have three months to draft the proposal and consult with the public.

“We feel that the money suggested for this work, which will be allocated from general fund reserves, will allow us to achieve this.”