Agenda item

Future Northants Programme Update


The Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) gave the Committee a presentation on Future Northants - Programme Update. The salient points were highlighted.


In response to questions around Trade Unions, Change Champions and their demographics, the Committee heard that all service areas across the Authorities were represented by a Change Champion; the Change Managers were working well, organising their own events, getting information out to staff and feeding back concerns. It was explained by the Director of People for NCC, that Trade Unions had been provided with draft proposals and further meetings with them had been arranged.


In response to a question around assets, the Committee heard that the Structural Changes Order (SCO) stipulated that there must be agreement regarding the division of assets by the “go live” date. It was noted that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) would not interfere with these arrangements if they were resolved locally.


The Committee was informed that the LGA had appointed a “critical friend” who had been through the unitary process before; this representative met regularly with the four Chief Executives of the Sovereign Councils and produced notes; these were not published, however, the Chief Executive, NCC, agreed that a report detailing the results of the LGA review would be beneficial. They further heard that their roles in respect of decision-making were clearly set out in the Terms of Reference (ToR). Members would be given sufficient information to be able to make those decisions. There would be touchpoints throughout the design process where details could be fed back to the wider membership and a full briefing at the blueprint stage, allowing Members to be engaged with the final sign-off of the programme. It was explained that the SCO was an order of interest and was expected to be passed through Parliament in 4-6 weeks. MHCLG would be meeting with the Leaders of the Sovereign Councils on 22nd January 2020 where it was hoped that further information would be given in respect of the SCO.


In response to a question around the various service contracts, it was explained that designing the organisations would precede the Financial Strategy; at that stage it would become clear whether the new organisations could carry out their duties and the blueprint for an affordable organisation model would be built. Regarding the highways contract, it was agreed by the Leaders that the contract would go out to tender in the next few weeks. An update would be brought to the Leaders Oversight Board in February 2020. The public would also be notified of this in the coming weeks, along with a notice for an extension of the current highways contract.


Councillor Richard Auger commented that when pricing up services, the West Northamptonshire Joint Committee needed to understand that they would not know how much money they had to spend, so as many options as possible were necessary so that when the Shadow Authority was created, it had an opportunity to choose services based on price.




1.    That the contents of the report be noted.

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