12 December 2016

Plans to look at a ‘one unitary council’ model for Northamptonshire local government will start next year following a report from Ernst and Young indicating such a model could save a county like Northamptonshire up to £29m a year.

Potential savings

The first set of potential savings are outlined in the draft budget proposals published today to start coming into effect in the year 2019 / 20 and the inclusion in the budget comes just weeks after the report by Ernst and Young was published called the ‘Independent Analysis of Governance Scenarios and Public Service Reform in County Areas.’

Cllr Heather Smith, county council leader, said: “We believe it is essential that under the current budgetary pressures that local public services are under we need to do all we can to safeguard local services and deliver value for money to our residents. Currently there is clear duplication of activity across the eight councils in the county.

“However this is not simply about how local councils are set up in isolation of all the other changes which are taking place. Rather the issue is about the complete transformation of public services.

“Based on examples from other areas of the country and recent studies, we believe the move to a single unitary authority provides the most financial benefits to the tax payers of Northamptonshire and will next year be conducting a full appraisal of the options.”

If Cabinet gives its approval, the county council’s budget for 2017-2018 will go out to a six-week consultation from Tuesday 13th December, before another report is heard by Cabinet in February. Approval will then be given at a meeting of the Full Council on February 23.