Local government in Northamptonshire is facing its biggest change in over 40 years.
The eight existing councils – Wellingborough, Corby, Daventry, East Northants, Kettering, Northampton, Northamptonshire County and South Northants – will be replaced with two brand new unitary councils on 1 April 2021.
Government legislation has now been passed to create a new West Northamptonshire unitary council serving the areas of Daventry District, Northampton and South Northants, and a new North Northamptonshire unitary authority serving Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and East Northants. These two new councils will start providing services to the residents and businesses of Northamptonshire in April next year.
Why are changes being made?
The existing eight councils are working together on preparations to create the two new councils. The new unitary councils will be responsible for all public services provided to residents in their areas – currently these are split between the district and borough councils and the county council, which can seem fragmented to residents, as well as being more costly to deliver in some cases.
Joining these services up in a unitary system will provide more efficient service delivery for our residents and businesses, with considerable opportunities to develop and transform services to improve outcomes and increase value for money.
The plans also include creating a Children’s Service Trust that will act on behalf of the two new unitary councils to provide vital services for youngsters countywide.
What are the next steps?
Following the postponement of elections this May for the new unitary councils due to the Covid-19 pandemic – the response to which is a top priority for all councils in the county – an alternative approach and new legislation has been made by the Government to enable the creation of the new authorities next year as planned.
In May 2020 two North and West Shadow authorities will be set up to lead the preparations for creating the two unitary councils. Instead of being made up of newly elected councillors, they will combine the membership of the existing district, borough and county councils.
The elections to the new unitary councils will then place on 6 May 2021.
With many council resources countywide focused on dealing with the Covid-19 response, the scope of the Future Northants Programme is currently being reviewed to understand what needs to and can be delivered to create the new unitary councils on 1 April 2021.
New information will be added to this site so please visit regularly for the latest updates. To find out more about the unitary process, go to the Information section.