Council leaders have welcomed the year-long delay to plans to create two new unitaries in Northamptonshire.
Proposals from local government secretary James Brokenshire had envisaged the new councils being fully operational from 1 April 2020 but the unitaries will now not be established until April 2021.
Commissioners will continue to support Northamptonshire CC and a children’s trust will also be created covering the whole county to ‘ensure continued improvement of the fragile children’s social care service’.
A joint statement from the leaders of the eight councils that will be abolished said the delay ‘gives us more time to plan carefully and confidently for the future’.
It read: ‘We have been working hard towards an anticipated 2020 vesting day but that was always going to be a tight timetable to meet if we were going to transform services as well as ensuring that they were safe and legal on that date.’
In a written Parliamentary statement, Mr Brokenshire said: ‘While I recognise that a delay in implementation will mean potential savings estimated in the proposal will not be realised for another year I am clear that the extended implementation period means we can be confident that there will be a safe and effective transition to all the new service delivery arrangements across the whole of the area.’
Mr Brokenshire admitted that responses to the proposal from businesses, members of the public, parish councils and community organisations had been ‘mixed’ – with less than half of more than 6,000 people who responded to an open questionnaire supporting the two unitary proposal – but insisted the changes would ‘improve local government and service delivery in the area’.