So what is happening at Northamptonshire County Council? With all the news that's being generated and the constantly changing situation, we wanted to give you a bullet-point guide that we hope you'll find useful.
Members of the Council (Councillors)
- The County Council is run by 57 elected members (currently 12 Labour, 43 Conservative and 2 Lib Dem).
- The Conservatives have been in control since 2005.
Best value inspection (January – March 2018)
- The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government appointed Max Caller CBE to carry out an Inspection of Northamptonshire County Council (NCC).
The Inspector's Report
What did the Minister say about the report in Parliament?
- “For a number of years, NCC has failed to manage its budget and has not taken effective steps to introduce and maintain budgetary control.”
- “Savings targets were imposed without understanding of demand, need or deliverability..."
- “Individual Councillors appear to have been denied answers to questions that were entirely legitimate to ask..."
- “It is clear that some Chief Officers did not consider that they were in any way accountable..."
- “The problems faced by NCC are now so deep and ingrained that it is not possible to promote a recovery plan that could bring the Council back to stability and safety in a reasonable timescale.”
- You can read the statement by the Communities Secretary on the independent inspection report on Northamptonshire County Council's website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/northamptonshire-county-council-statement
What happens next?
The Proposed Intervention Package Includes:
- An invitation to affected Local Authorities (so the Borough and District Councils, as well as the County Council) to make proposals for a local government restructuring to a "unitary model".
- A unitary model combines the functions currently carried out at the County Council level and the District/Borough level of local government).
- Commissioners be put in place to ensure that the Authority can carry out its day to day business in a “safe, lawful and value for money way” whilst "shadow authorities" work to establish the proposed new unitary structure.
Where does all this leave us?
- There are currently lots of questions, and we haven't yet got all the answers.
- The end of democracy in the county in the short term?
- Two unitary authorities? (North Northants and West Northants)?
- North Northants to include the Borough of Corby, the Borough of Kettering, East Northants District and the Borough of Wellingborough?
- Local government elections due in 2019 postponed?
- 318 Borough/District Councillors and 57 County Councillors replaced with 47 in North Northants and 42 in West Northants in unitary authorities?