Service disruptions and Brexit among risks highlighted by Corby Council against 2020 unitary transition

Corby Council has highlighted a number of risks to the planned unitary 2020 transition.
Corby Council has highlighted a number of risks to the planned unitary 2020 transition.

Time constraints, pressure on staff and service disruptions are among risks highlighted by Corby Council against next year’s planned unitary transition.

The Labour-run authority, which is against the whole idea of unitary governance in Northamptonshire, has made public its serious concerns about scrapping all eight of the county’s council’s next April and replacing them with two super councils.

Other risks listed include the possibility of a snap general election or a second Brexit referendum which the authority says would divert Government attention away from Northamptonshire’s unitary transition.

Corby Council is instead advocating an ‘evolutionary approach’ with a four-year transition period.

The Government is currently consulting on the unitary proposal and the suggested timetable is to set up ‘shadow authorities’ this May.

In November the Government announced the postponement of the borough council elections due in 2019.

A report that will go before Corby Council’s full council meeting on January 16 says: “The delays experienced in the reorganisation process so far results in far less time than originally considered necessary for a successful launch of the proposed two new unitary authorities. As discussed elsewhere with the financial imperatives now apparently resolved, or in the process of being so, is there a pressing need for an April 2020 launch with sub optimum services a possibility.”

If Corby councillors decide to back the report, the recommendation to delay will be put on the desk of Secretary of State for Local Government James Brokenshire. It is not known whether the other seven councils are aware of or agree with Corby’s suggestion.

All councils in Northamptonshire have been reluctant to move towards a unitary governance system. Central government strongly suggested this was the way forward after the financial collapse of Northamptonshire County Council last spring.