Milestone meeting marks next chapter for new council

Published: Wednesday, 03 June 2020

Councillors in West Northamptonshire have the chance to work together on a ‘fresh start and bright future’ for residents as part of the new shadow authority which met last night.

The call came from its newly-appointed Leader Councillor Ian McCord who addressed Members at the first meeting of the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, which has been set up to lead work to create the new unitary council on 1 April next year.

Councillors from Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire and the county council’s western areas took up their seats as new Shadow Authority members to decide a range of key issues at the online session.

Speaking to fellow Members at the meeting Cllr McCord said: “Making this change to a West Northamptonshire unitary council has one purpose – to give local people and local government a fresh start and a bright future.

“Let us work in a spirit of cooperation to resolve the issues we face. Whatever party we belong to, let’s all sit on the same side of the table and solve the problem together. We have just one chance and little time to get it right.”

At the meeting, councillors approved a series of interim senior officers, required by law, to steer forward preparations for the new council until permanent positions are filled later this year.

George Candler has been appointed Interim Chief Executive, with Susan Zeiss Interim Monitoring Officer and Martin Henry as Interim Chief Finance Officer (Section 151).

Mr Candler is Chief Executive of Northampton Borough Council, Ms Zeiss holds the role of General Counsel at Northamptonshire County Council and Mr Henry is Executive Director for Finance at South Northamptonshire Council.

At last night’s meeting, councillors also agreed the shadow authority’s Constitution – the legal framework which sets out how it will be run and do business – along with the Code of Conduct for the 132 Members that sit on the Shadow.

They also received and endorsed the membership of the authority’s new Shadow Executive (similar to Northampton Borough Council's Cabinet), which will head up the authority’s preparations for the new Council, and decided the membership of other shadow committees for Overview and Scrutiny, Standards and Senior Appointments.

The West Northants Shadow Executive is set to hold its first meeting online next week (Tuesday, 9 June).