Northamptonshire CC will establish an improvement board that will work closely with government commissioners to improve the county’s finances and governance ahead of reorganisation.
The troubled county, which recently issued the first Section 114 Notice for two decades, is facing government intervention following years of concerns about its finances. A government-commissioned Best Value inspection report in March exposed concerns about local financial planning and forecasting.
As one of his last responsibilities as local government secretary, Sajid Javid, recently appointed as the new home secretary, said he was ‘minded’ to send in commissioners to work alongside the county to improve its performance.
A formal announcement on the commissioners is expected after the forthcoming local elections.
In the meantime, Northamptonshire has set to work on its improvement agenda.
The new improvement board will be made up of local councillors and officers, as well as representatives of the area’s borough and district councils, other stakeholders and external advisers.
The county confirmed that the new board would ‘work alongside the commissioners’.
Bringing members of local boroughs and districts on board will be crucial. It is expected that Northamptonshire will be subject to a major boundary reorganisation as ministers seek solutions to its problems – with local MPs known to favour a two-unitary model for the future.
Cllr Matthew Golby, Northamptonshire’s Conservative leader, said: ‘We are committed to making the necessary improvements to our financial management and governance as highlighted by the Best Value inspection.
‘Establishing an independent board is a key part of our journey as it will enable us to ensure the agreed improvement actions are implemented and help restore public and stakeholder confidence in the council.’