09 December 2014

The biggest change in public services for 125 years is outlined in Northamptonshire County Council’s Council Plan published today.

Transforming into a smaller organisation

In a bid to move entirely away from the traditional model of local government the papers published today show how the council aims to move away from directly delivering services into a ‘Next Generation’ model where a far smaller organisation would remain to commission other new organisations to carry out activity to help it achieve its goals for the county.

Services currently run directly by the council would leave its direct control and become separate stand alone organisations free to compete with others for council contracts to deliver those services designed to achieve the twin aims of safeguarding the council’s most vulnerable and creating greater wellbeing in the county.

Leader of the council Cllr Jim Harker said: “The traditional model for the council and local service delivery is unsustainable. Quite simply it can no longer work and is outdated. The method of largely paying for local services through government grant no longer stacks up and in Northamptonshire our demand is far outstripping our income as we continue to play our part in tackling the national deficit.

“We are also serving citizens with a totally new set of expectations of how they receive goods and services and individual choice. For these reasons we are embarking on a completely new model for the completely new landscape we now operate in. It is no exaggeration to say this is the biggest transformation of services in Northamptonshire since the creation of this council 125 years ago.”

The Council Plan is published today along with the budget proposals for the next financial year and beyond which begin to show how the council will transform itself into the new organisation.

The Council Plan explains it aims to retain a much smaller organisation – which will commission others to achieve its outcomes.

Four new separate organisations

This would see the creation of four new separate organisations over the next five years which will be employed by the council to deliver for the county.

These could be:

  • A Child Protection Services Mutual – to deliver services to protect vulnerable children
  • Accountable Care Organisation – to deliver services to protect vulnerable adults
  • Wellbeing Community Organisation – to deliver health and wellbeing services
  • Place Shaping Company – to deliver services to improve Northamptonshire as a place.

Cabinet member for finance Bill Parker said: “These organisations would be free to win contracts with other organisations and generate additional income – much like we have seen with our back office services through the LGSS model. By winning new contracts and earning extra income LGSS has systematically reduced the costs of these services to the county council. The Next Generation Model would look to expand this spirit across our front line.”

In addition to these new large organisations other services would be able to form new enterprises either as private businesses, social enterprises, charities or as part of the voluntary sector to win contracts to deliver work on behalf or either the council, the new service delivery organisations or any other organisation or market.

Cllr Harker said: “This is all about setting these services free from direct council control. Free to find new income streams and new markets which will help not only protect these services from spending cuts but also by using this income to off set their cost to the council taxpayer.

“The budget published alongside these plans today begins to show the first steps of what this might look like financially. What you won’t see is one budget proposal which outlines huge savings based on this plan. Rather this is the only way we can set ourselves up for the future and it is this plan which underpins all budget proposals.”