First meeting of new West Northamptonshire shadow council to take place in June

The first meeting of the shadow authority that will become the new West Northamptonshire Council will take place on June 2.
Four councils are merging to make a new unitary authority that will be known as West Northamptonshire Council.Four councils are merging to make a new unitary authority that will be known as West Northamptonshire Council.
Four councils are merging to make a new unitary authority that will be known as West Northamptonshire Council.

The meeting, which will be held virtually by Zoom at 7pm, will see the interim leaders, senior officers and committees all confirmed for the duration of the shadow council, which will launch officially as the new unitary council on April 1 next year, just before elections are due to be held.

The new unitary will effectively merge the services of four councils in the west of the county. Northampton Borough Council (NBC), South Northamptonshire Council (SNC), Daventry District Council (DDC) and the much larger Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) will all be abolished to make way.

South Northants leader Councillor Ian McCord has already been confirmed as the new leader of the shadow authority, with NBC leader Councillor Jonathan Nunn acting as his deputy.

The Conservative executive committee (cabinet) has also already been announced publicly, with two members of each of the four councils being included.

New papers from the upcoming agenda reveal some important new roles have also been filled – subject to approval at the first meeting.

Northampton Borough Council’s chief executive, George Candler, is set to be given the nod as the new CEO (head of paid services) for the shadow. Susan Zeiss, the monitoring officer for NCC, will take on the same role for the new unitary. And South Northants’ chief finance officer, Martin Henry, will take on the same role, but on a much larger scale at the new council.

The leaders of opposition parties are also set to be confirmed. Councillor Danielle Stone (NBC) will be the leader of the Labour group, with Councillor Wendy Randall (DDC) her deputy. Councillor Chris Lofts (SNC) will be the leader of the Liberal Democrats, with Councillors Sally Beardsworth (NBC) and Jonathan Harris (DDC) sharing the deputy role. Councillor Julie Davenport (NBC) will be the spokesperson for the independent councillors, with Councillor Caryl Billingham MBE (SNC) deputising as required.

The shadow councillors, who are the existing members for all the current councils, are also set to agree the political make up of the committees. Three such committees will be set up, with the overview and scrutiny committee featuring 12 Conservatives, four from Labour, and one each from the Lib Dems and independents.

Other committees to be set up will include a Standards Committee and a Senior Appointments Committee.

The meeting will also confirm a constitution and Code of Conduct for the new council, appoint an Independent Remuneration Panel to determine councillor allowances, and confirm the meeting dates up until the official launch next spring.