Consultation on a reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire will start next week, with opportunities for all residents, businesses and other stakeholders in the county to have their say.
Published: Friday, 15th June 2018
All eight authorities in Northamptonshire are working on a proposal for the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government that “must command a good deal of local support” and so stakeholders across the county have an opportunity to comment before a final proposal is submitted.
Formal consultation will run from Monday, 18 June until Sunday, 22 July 2018.
This process follows a Best Value Inspection on Northamptonshire County Council, which concluded that its financial, cultural and structural problems could not be solved in isolation and recommended that plans be developed for two unitary authorities.
Leader of South Northamptonshire Council, Cllr Ian McCord said: “This situation wasn’t of our making, and wasn’t on the horizon when we formed our existing, ambitious plans for the future. But it is real, it is happening, and we do all need to make the best of the situation.That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to have their say in this official consultation on the proposal that meets the Government’s requirements. The more residents, businesses and organisations that have their say, the more likely we are to move forward with a clear focus on delivering what local people need from the new council structure. That’s what’s always been most important to me."
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has asked that the eight authorities in Northamptonshire submit a proposal that meets the following criteria:
- One county-wide unitary council is explicitly excluded as an option
- Each new proposed authority must have a population substantially in excess of 300,000
- The proposal must be based on existing council boundaries.
People are being encouraged to have their say by going online from Monday to complete a questionnaire.
There they will also find a detailed consultation document that fully explains the proposal.
Paper copies of the consultation document and the questionnaire will also be available in every library and local council office from Monday, 25 June.
A representative telephone survey will be carried out and a series of focus groups with invited residents will also take place across the county, as well as engagement with other stakeholders.
Other consultations by the local media and by individual councils may take place at the same time. It is really important that people respond to the official Local Government Reform Northamptonshire consultation being run by all eight Northamptonshire councils so that their comments on the proposal will be officially considered.
In addition to the criteria set out by the Secretary of State, Government has stated:
- Only one proposal will be accepted, not a range of options
- It must demonstrate clear potential for savings
- It must command a good deal of local support
- Due consideration should be given to recommendations in the Best Value Report
- Any solution should prioritise the Government’s wider housing and growth agenda
- Extensive consultation must be carried out