Javid: Northants will continue to make most of own decisions

29 Mar 18

Northamptonshire County Council will continue to make most of its own decisions, a letter from the local government secretary has revealed.

Government commissioners being sent into the council to control its finances will carry out their work over the next two to three years, Sajid Javid also said in correspondence to Northamptonshire's acting chief executive Andrew Quincey two days ago.

“In practice, most decisions will continue to be made by the authority,” Javid wrote.  

He added: “The commissioners will exercise their functions until the point at which it is anticipated that a long term solution, such as the restructuring process, is complete.”

Javid said that the commissioners should focus on three key areas: governance and scrutiny of strategic decision making, the authority’s strategic financial management, and the appointment and dismissal of statutory officers.

Although the authority will make the majority of decisions, Javid noted that: “Where concerns are raised by a statutory officer, to ensure proper decision making, matters will be referred to the commissioners for decision or advice.”

Two commissioners will be assigned to the council, one to focus on governance and scrutiny and the other to look at strategic financial planning and budgetary control.

In a speech to the House of Commons on Tuesday 27 March, Javid announced he intended for government commissioners to take control of the council's finances, saying this was being done under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999.

This was in response to a report published by government inspector Max Caller, which found that the council’s structure made “oversight difficult and accountability blurred”.

Caller’s recommendation that Northamptonshire should be split into two unitary councils was accepted by the council.

The county council’s finances have been under continuous scrutiny since it became the first local authority last month to issue a ‘section 114’ order of its kind in 20 years.

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