Updates will appear below as major developments occur.
Update 2 Jan 21
A Simple Guide to LGR (Written by NCALC)
All Change for Councils in Northamptonshire
Local government in Northamptonshire is changing. The existing system, which has been in place since the 1970s, is like a three-tier cake. The bottom layer is parish and town councils which typically cover one village or town. The middle layer is borough and district councils, which are responsible for things like planning applications, collecting the bins, tourism, and dealing with benefits. The top layer is the county council, which is responsible for things like social services, education, and highways.
From 1 April 2021 the top two layers of the cake are being replaced with one layer, known as unitary councils. There will be two in Northamptonshire: North Northamptonshire Council, and West Northamptonshire Council. Parish and town councils remain as they are.
West Northamptonshire Council will cover the area currently covered by Daventry District Council, Northampton Borough Council, and South Northamptonshire Council. The area contains the towns of Northampton, Daventry, Towcester and Brackley and nearly two hundred villages and hamlets. West Northamptonshire Council will be one of the larger unitary councils in England. It will be responsible for all the services currently being provided in the area by the district, borough, and county councils.
The main reason for replacing the district, borough and county councils with unitary councils is to save money. Northamptonshire County Council had well-publicised financial issues in 2017 and 2018, which led to a government inspection of the council. The inspector's report recommended that creating unitary councils was the best solution.
Most people will not notice any difference, certainly in the first few years of the unitary councils. In fact, great efforts are being made to ensure that is the case. For example, the lorry collecting the rubbish might have a different logo on it, but the bins will still be collected. Council services will continue as normal, and any changes will be gradual.
From 2021 you will see three lines on your council tax bill. You will pay an amount for the parish or town council that looks after your village or town, an amount for Northamptonshire Police, and an amount for West Northamptonshire Council for all the council services it provides. The amount you pay to each body is set by that body.
West Northamptonshire Council will have 93 councillors, who will be chosen at the local elections on 6 May 2021. Some will be people who have been district, borough, and county councillors before; others will be new. Anyone over 18 and living in West Northamptonshire can put themselves forward to be a councillor. The councillors elected in 2021 will serve a four-year term of office and may seek re-election in 2025.
Council meetings are held in public, and all the information, reports, and papers for the meetings are published on the council's web site. Councils are open and democratic bodies and are accountable to the people they serve.
If you are interested to find out more about the changes happening to local government in Northamptonshire please visit https://futurenorthantswest.org/.
Update 16 Nov 20
New logo signals fresh start for public services in West Northamptonshire
The proposed final logo design for the upcoming West Northamptonshire Council has been published today, Monday, 16 November.
The final iteration of the design was created after almost 2,000 people took part in a survey on three initial drafts.
The most popular designed was modified to take into account comments made during the survey and will be presented to the West Northants Shadow Executive on Tuesday, 24 November.
If approved, it will become the symbol of the new council and will be used on buildings and letter heads for many years to come.
Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Chair of the West Communications and Engagement Task and Finish Group, said: "We're really proud of this recommended design for the future West Northamptonshire Council – and I hope people throughout our communities will be too.
"We're very grateful for the comments that local people made, which I believe improved the final design greatly.
"We feel it provides a strong and distinctive identity for the new West Northamptonshire Council, but with recognition of our proud tradition, and if approved, we look forward to seeing it rolled out in the New Year."
Cllr Ian McCord, Leader of the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, said: "The local council shake up is a great opportunity for a fresh start and a bright future and a logo is a small but important part of creating a new council.
"This design signals a new start for public services in the area while also recognising what was good about our past – that there is a shared desire to work together to make this a good place for people to live.
"I'm extremely pleased so many of you took the time to take part in the survey. It demonstrates that residents care about this change to a Unitary council and I don't intend to disappoint them."
The logo was created by talented in-house graphic designers, to avoid any further cost to the taxpayer.
Three interlinking rings represent the joining of the current council areas being incorporated into West Northamptonshire – Northampton Borough, South Northants and Daventry. The colour of each ring is the primary colour of each existing council logo.
A simplified outline of Northamptonshire's 'Rose of the Shires' emblem surrounds the rings to represent the county's heritage, and is a feature added in response to public feedback.
The new logo is to be used widely, conforms to accessibility standards and is designed to be visible to everyone, including people with visual impairment.
On 1 April 2021, the eight existing councils in Northamptonshire –Corby, Daventry, East Northants, Kettering, Northampton, Northamptonshire County, South Northants and Wellingborough – will be replaced with two brand new unitary councils, one covering West Northamptonshire and the other covering North Northamptonshire.
The unitary councils will be responsible for all Local Authority services provided to residents and businesses in their areas, providing more efficient service delivery and greater opportunities to transform services and increase value for money. Many services currently delivered by the County Council will be split between the two new councils.
Update 5 Oct 20
Vesting Day is less than 6 months away. This is when West Northamptonshire Unitary Authority will take over local government services from Northants County Council and the three District/Borough Councils in the area (including SNC).
In recent weeks focus has been on ensuring the new council will be "safe and legal" as from day 1. This means ensuring there is no hiatus in the provision of essential services (e.g. social care) from 1 April 2021 onwards.
Items of note include:
- A new CEO (Anna Earnshaw) has been appointed.
- A senior management team has been recruited.
- Most principal council contacts for PCs and the public will remain as they are on 2 April – after Vesting Day.
- Any reorganisation, relocation and rationalisation will occur in the following months and years.
- Council Tax Harmonisation will take place, but details are currently unknown.
- The first election for councillors of the unitary will go ahead as planned on 6 May 21.