Consultation on a re-structure of local government in Northamptonshire will now start on Monday 18 June with opportunities for all residents, businesses and other stakeholders in the county to have their say. The start date has been delayed by a few days as details are still being finalised.
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 18 June until 22 July 2018. This is a couple of days earlier than originally planned to enable the responses to be analysed thoroughly, and still provides 5 weeks for everyone to have their say.
The Government’s invitation to submit a proposal 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.
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 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 to complete a questionnaire at www.futurenorthants.co.uk.
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. Please check your council website for details of other venues of where and when you can pick up a copy.
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 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