Mini eUpdate from Northants CALC
To Member Councils in Northamptonshire: [Please circulate to all councillors]
It’s been a tough week for people: Lockdown, the terrible death rate still, the January blues, the weather. Try to keep your chin up, and stay safe. Peeking out through the doom and gloom, there are some positives, not least our activity with new parish and town councils (see below). Here’s a round up of some key points…
Local Elections 2021
Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked in the House of Commons to “…confirm that it is his intention that the local elections in 2021 will go ahead as scheduled on 6 May”. His response was “Of course; that is what the law provides for, although we will obviously have to keep it under review.” The caveat caused concern that the elections might be postponed, and indeed some people suggested that they should be. After calls for urgent clarification, Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith MP answered an urgent question on Wednesday confirming that the elections are scheduled for 6 May 2021 and that “There should be a high bar for any delay.” Of course, there can’t be absolute certainty that the elections will proceed – after all, we can’t be absolutely sure what will be happening with the pandemic next week let alone in five months – but the government has made it clear that the elections will be on 6 May 2021 if at all possible. Chloe Smith added “We have worked closely with the Electoral Commission on the production of guidance to aid all involved. This guidance is based on the latest public health advice and will be updated as necessary ahead of the polls.”
First Appointments at New Councils
We have been busy this week organising interviews for the first permanent clerk to Northampton Town Council, and we are delighted to announce that Marion Goodman will be recommended for appointment as the Town Clerk to Northampton Town Council. The recommendation will be received by a meeting of the town council to be held on 27 January 2021. Marion is the Director of Customers and Communities and Interim Assistant Chief Executive at Northampton Borough Council, so she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of Northampton and its communities. Meanwhile, Kate Houlihan has been confirmed as the Interim Clerk at Kingsthorpe Parish Council and Far Cotton and Delapre Community Council (FC&DCC), who both held their inaugural meetings this week. Kate is currently Clerk to Raunds Town Council and will take up her new position from mid-February.
Testers Wanted For Unitary Web Sites
Would you like to be a part of the Northamptonshire Website Research Group? The Future Northants Programme and FutureGov are looking for clerks, councillors and any residents to review some of the first ideas for the North and West Northamptonshire Council websites and gain early feedback to take into consideration as the new sites are designed. If you are interested in taking part, please click https://bit.ly/3bFx8th to register your interest.
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) Draft Budget
The first ever draft budget for West Northamptonshire Council is out for consultation. In a joint statement Cllr Ian McCord, Leader of the West Northants Shadow Authority and Anna Earnshaw, Chief Executive, West Northamptonshire Council said “The formation of West Northamptonshire Council is a fresh start for this area of our county and the budget consultation offers people the chance to be part of our plans for the future. By uniting the councils in the west of the county we can pool our many strengths and move positively forward so we can deliver quality services efficiently. We want to hear what people have to say to make sure we get it right.” Proposals also included a Council Tax increase of 4.99%, comprising 1.99% core tax and a 3% adult social care precept. Responses can be submitted through the online survey at: https://futurenorthants.citizenspace.com/west/budget-2021-2022. The deadline for completing this questionnaire is midnight on 2 February 2021.
We are looking forward to the LGR Q&A events next week. Thank you very much to all those that have registered (57 for West, 48 for North). I look forward to seeing you there!
I hope you have a good weekend.
Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils
Tel: (Office) 01327 831482