Consultant's wage could have paid for a 'mobile One-Stop shop' in hard-to reach parts of Northampton

Councillor Danielle Stone believes neighbourhood co-ordinators should be reinstated.
Councillor Danielle Stone believes neighbourhood co-ordinators should be reinstated.

Northampton's One-Stop shop is no good to "a single parent in Briar Hill or the Eastern District" the town's Labour group leader has said in a bid to bring back neighbourhood co-ordinators in the town.

Last week the Chron revealed Northampton Borough Council hired consultant Ian Gray on a £1,300 wage-a-day for a six-month period, netting the interim regeneration chief more than £200,000.

But this week Councillor Danielle Stone, the leader of the Labour opposition group, has said the money would be better spent reinstating neighbourhood officers to help harder-to-reach parts of the town.

In a statement made to the full council this week Councillor Stone claimed just one pilot scheme in the town would come in at a fraction of Mr Gray's six-month wage - £120,000.

Effectively they would act as a mobile One-Stop shop, which is currently based at the Guildhall and offers a range of over-the counter council services as well as a police enquiry desk.

Councillor Stone said: "We need to bring back Neighbourhood co-ordinators, increase the number of wardens and develop outreach services.

"We need to work more closely with the voluntary sector, with health, the police and other agencies.

"The One Stop shop is brilliant, but it’s no good to a single parent in Briar Hill or the Eastern District with no transport and no childcare."

The co-ordinators would be bookable by appointments and would be able to arrange for benefits, debt and jobseekers advice.

They would also be able to aid women suffering from domestic abuse by getting them in touch with the relevant authorities.

And the co-ordinators would be free to attract grant funding for certain areas, by applying to the National Lottery and other schemes.

Councillor Stone continued: "A good coordinator-as we know- having employed them in the past, is able to bring in new money and cover their own costs over time.

"So the cost of Neighbourhood working would decrease over time while the value would go up.

"The help and support that they can put into neighbourhoods will reduce demand, further down the line, for expensive and scarce resources."