First North Northamptonshire unitary meeting happening next week

The meeting will take place next week at Kettering council.
The meeting will take place next week at Kettering council.

The first meeting of the committee that will make moves to set up the new unitary council for North Northamptonshire will meet next Monday (June 24).

Preparations for the new authority – which will be created in April 2021 – are now under way, with a group of 15 councillors from across the four borough councils and the county council meeting at Kettering Council on June 24 to begin the process of setting out how the new unitary will operate.

The committee and its associated working parties will prepare reports for the shadow authority which will be created in May next year.

Elections to this authority will take place in early May next year and the 78 councillors elected will then automatically become the elected representatives on the new unitary when it begins in April 2021.

The borough, district and county council will still continue to exist, which means that some councillors if elected to the shadow authority next May could hold positions on a parish council, a borough council, the county council and the new shadow authority.

The 15 councillors who will make up the joint committee are: Cllr Tom Beattie, Cllr Jean Addison and Cllr Kevin Watts from Corby Council; Cllr Russell Roberts, Cllr Mick Scrimshaw and Cllr Ian Jelley from Kettering Council; Cllr Victoria Perry, Cllr Jonathan Ekins and Cllr Jason Smithers from Northamptonshire County Council; Cllr Stephen North, Cllr David Jenney and Cllr John Farrar from East Northamptonshire Council and Cllr Martin Griffiths, Cllr Tom Partridge-Underwood and Cllr Andrew Scarborough from Wellingborough Council.

That means there will be 10 Conservative councillors, and five Labour councillors. There will be no Liberal Democrat or independent representation.

Four working parties will be created to look at the governance of the new authority, how much councillors are paid in allowances, who the new senior officers will be and the terms of reference for the new shadow authority.

The suggestions they make will be voted on at the first meeting of the shadow authority in May 2020.

The chief executive for the joint committee will be Graham Soulsby, current chief executive at Kettering Council, Mark Dickenson from Kettering Council will act as the finance officer and Paul Goult from Corby Council will take on the monitoring officer responsibility.

The unitary council is being brought in because of the failings of Northamptonshire County Council, which ran out of money in April 2018. The Government ordered all eight councils in the county to consider unitary governance and all apart from Corby Council voted for the proposal.

Alongside the north unitary there will be a unitary council in the west.

The meeting is being held at the council offices in Bowling Green Road, Kettering at 6.30pm and is open to the public.