Residents, businesses and other stakeholders in the county are reminded to have their say as consultation on a re-structure of local government in Northamptonshire continues until 22 July.
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”, so stakeholders across the county have an opportunity to comment before a final proposal is submitted.
A detailed explanation of the consultation and a questionnaire can be found online at www.futurenorthants.co.uk and paper copies of both are available in libraries, council offices and other local venues. Please check your council’s website for details of venues where you can pick up a copy.
The Government’s invitation to submit a proposal follows a Best Value Inspection of Northamptonshire County Council, which concluded that its financial, cultural and governance problems could not be solved in isolation and recommended that plans be developed for two unitary authorities.
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:
- A single county-wide unitary 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.
A representative telephone survey, focus groups with representative groups of invited residents and engagement with other stakeholders are also taking place.
Other consultations by the local media and by individual councils may take place at the same time, so it’s really important that people respond to the official Local Government Reform Northamptonshire consultation being run by all eight Northamptonshire councils for their comments on the proposal to be 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