West Northamptonshire Council has launched a campaign to ensure local residents and businesses are prepared for its launch on 1 April 2021.
Northamptonshire currently has eight councils, one county and seven district, however, this will change from next month, with Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire councils merging to form the unitary West Northamptonshire Council.
The county’s four other districts (Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough) will merge to form the new unitary North Northamptonshire Council.
The new unitary councils will be responsible for all public services provided to residents in their areas, with these currently being split between Northamptonshire County Council and the seven district councils.
A new system of local government for Northamptonshire aims to provide a more efficient service delivery for the area’s residents and businesses, with considerable opportunities to develop and transform services to improve outcomes and increase value for money.
Northamptonshire Children’s Trust, which was launched in November last year, will act on behalf of the two new unitary councils to provide vital services for youngsters across the county.
The first elections to the councils will take place on 6 May 2021, with 93 council seats up for grabs in West Northamptonshire and 78 councillors to be elected in North Northamptonshire.
Two shadow authorities were set up to lead the preparations for creating the two councils in May last year.
At the launch of the campaign, West Northamptonshire Council’s CEO, Anna Earnshaw said that this was a “publicity campaign for residents and businesses”, in order to make them aware of the changes in local government and stated that she believed the new authority would “thrive in the Covid world”.
Leader of South Northamptonshire Council, Councillor Ian McCord said the new council will have a physical presence in various locations across the area “on day one certainly”, but also said that “the newly elected 93 (councillors) will make that decision”.
Mr McCord also stated that the co-locating of a mix of public services in council buildings would lead to a “much better delivery of services across the whole of our patch” and that “we are on track for this”.
The new West Northamptonshire Council will have around 2,800 staff, with 1,000 moving from the district authorities and the rest from the county council.