Government lays unitary legislation before Parliament

Published Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Government legislation required to create two new unitary councils in Northamptonshire has been laid before Parliament.

The document, known as the Northamptonshire Structural Changes Order 2019 (SCO), sets out how the two new unitary authorities will be formed to replace the existing eight councils on 1 April 2021.

The Draft Order will now be considered and debated by both Houses of Parliament and if approved, should become legislation by the end of the year. 

The Structural Changes Order confirms the following details:

  • The names of the new unitary authorities will be North Northamptonshire Council (covering Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough) and West Northamptonshire Council (covering Northampton, Daventry District and South Northants areas)
  • The existing eight councils will be wound up and abolished on 1 April 2021 when the two new unitary councils come into effect
  • Two temporary Shadow Authorities – one each for the North and West – will be formed in May 2020 with responsibility for delivering the new unitary councils and setting their first budgets and council tax.  Until then, the joint committees currently in place in the North and West will continue to take responsibility for putting unitary plans in place.
  • Elections for the unitary councils will be held in May 2020 – councillors will serve a five-year term, with their first year on the shadow authorities. There will be 78 councillors elected for the North and 93 for the West.
  • Parish council elections will go ahead in May 2020 too but the district and borough elections will not take place so current members will serve until their existing councils are abolished.

The draft Order also makes it clear that future governance arrangements, including overview and scrutiny, will be for the new councils to decide once they go live on 1 April 2021.

To view the full Order visit http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2019/9780111190968/contents

Northamptonshire’s county, district and borough councils are working together with partners on a programme to ensure the two new unitary authorities are delivered on 1 April 2021 with better quality, integrated services for residents across the county.

The Future Northants programme involves councillors and staff from all eight authorities working together to prepare for the new unitary councils and ensure the transformation of public services across the county.

To find out more about and keep up-to-date on Northamptonshire’s unitary preparations, visit futurenorthantsnorth.org or futurenorthantswest.org