Councillors progressing preparations for a North Northamptonshire unitary council have backed a plan of action to recruit senior managers that will head the new shadow authority.
At their first meeting of 2020 in the Corby Cube on Thursday evening (16 January), Members of the North Northamptonshire Joint Committee also welcomed the robust and transparent financial process put in place for the Future Northants unitary programme, which is working to create two new unitary councils in the county by 1 April 2021.
The Committee supported proposals for appointing the chief officer roles required by law to be filled when the new North Shadow Authority is created in May this year. These arrangements include putting in place a series of ‘caretaker’ positions for a Head of Paid Service, Chief Finance (Section 151) Officer and Monitoring Officer from May, then appointing permanently to the posts later in the summer.
Members also endorsed a report that set out the programme’s financial baseline position – the starting point of assumed costs for creating the new councils and potential savings that could be made.
The baseline figures estimate required investment of £43.5m, which includes £18m of Business Rates Pilot funding, to transform and move across their services to form the two new authorities, which could achieve a possible yearly budget saving of £85.9m. Members heard these were being used as benchmark figures to monitor and report future financial progress and are therefore likely to change.
The Committee also received updates from the Joint Committee’s working groups that have been progressing key pieces of work on governance and other arrangements needed to set up a Shadow Authority for North Northamptonshire, which would deliver the new unitary council.
Chairman of the North Northamptonshire Joint Committee Councillor Martin Griffiths said: “It’s clear from the reports and updates received by the Committee that work is really gathering pace towards the creation of a new unitary council for North Northamptonshire on 1 April 2021.
“This is a huge task within a very tight timescale so it’s reassuring to see the robust and transparent processes that are already in place to manage and monitor the progress being made. I would like to thank all councillors and members of staff and councils for their hard work on the programme so far and look forward to the positive journey ahead towards shaping an exemplary new authority.”
The North Northamptonshire Joint Committee is made up of 15 councillors representing Kettering, Wellingborough, Corby and East Northants councils and the County Council. The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Monday, 10 February at 6.30pm at East Northamptonshire Council in Thrapston. Agendas and papers for this meeting will be available nearer the time at www.kettering.gov.uk/meetings/committee/52/north_northamptonshire_joint_committee