By philsawford on November 17, 2019

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Dear Elector

Re: Desborough St Giles Ward by-election 12th December 2019

With all the attention, understandably, on the General Election it would be easy to miss this by-election in our little community but Local Government is also an important part of our system as local councils are closer to the people when decisions are made that affect local communities. For local government in our area everything is about to change.


At the moment, the seven Borough and District Councils in Northamptonshire are due to disappear in May 2021 to be replaced by North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire Unitary Councils. The North will cover Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough.

Elections are due to be held in May 2020 to elect a ‘Shadow Council’ for the new Unitary Councils and there will be an overlapping period of twelve months before the current Boroughs and Districts come to an end.

From May 2021 current 3rd tier councils (Town and Parish) will become 2nd tier councils and Desborough will fit in to this new structure alongside Burton Latimer, Thrapston, Oundle, Irthlingborough, Finedon, Raunds, Rothwell, etc. Steps are already being taken to form new Town Councils in the bigger communities that do not currently have a Town Council (Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough).


No one expects Kettering Borough Council to launch any major projects or come forward with any large scale strategic initiatives or significant policy changes during this period. However the framework for the new Unitary Council is being developed and what happens over the coming months will have an important impact on the future of local services.


What duties, responsibilities, local services and costs might be passed to 2nd tier authorities? The simple answer is that no one really knows at this stage but it is important that Desborough has a seat at that table and a strong voice in that room as these key decisions are made.


The impact of these changes is serious and studies of other areas that have ‘gone unitary’ (Cornwall, County Durham, Dorset) clearly show that the whole process is not simple or straightforward. It may well take years before the changes settle down and new arrangements are established. Getting things right from day one may be the objective but decisions made over the coming months will have an impact on local communities that could last for many years.


The process will need all the experience that local government can offer and a huge level of cooperation to ensure that our communities get the kind of council services that they need and deserve in the future.


It is important that your local democratically accountable representatives have the skills, knowledge and experience to take on the huge challenge that is on the horizon and this is the part where you have important choices to make.


Phil Sawford

Promoted by – Rosemary Sawford on behalf of Phil Sawford (the Labour Party candidate for the St Giles Ward) both at 46 Federation Avenue, Desborough, Northants, NN14 2NX.

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