Union launches 'Northamptonshire Needs To Work' campaign to secure future of local services under new councils

'Employees are concerned new authorities will repeat mistakes the County Council made' warns Unison secretary

Union leaders fear local services in Northamptonshire could deteriorate and the expertise of dedicated staff lost without investment in councils' workforce when three new local authorities are formed next year.

North Northamptonshire Council and West Northamptonshire Council will replace eight county, district and borough councils from from April 2021.

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In addition, a new Children’s Trust will deliver social services for children on behalf of the two councils.

Plans to scrap the existing local authority structure were revealed in 2018 after the county council effectively went bankrupt and claims earlier this year said the move would save the two new council's around £85million a year.

But many fear streamlining and merging departments from the eight former councils will lead to job losses.

And council workers' trade union Unison says residents and council staff across the county will be watching closely to ensure Northamptonshire’s new local government structure brings about genuine public benefits and are not a cloak for cuts to vital community services.

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Northamptonshire branch secretary Kevin Standishday said: “This massive change for local government, with the formation of the two new councils and a Children’s Trust, is a perfect opportunity to undo the mistakes which led to the county council’s bankruptcy.

“We need well-resourced services run by staff who are properly paid and looked after.

"This will end the recruitment problems of the past and mean we have a county which works for the benefit of every resident, including staff who live and work here too.”

Unison, which supports more than 5,000 workers county-wide. is launching a campaign today (Thursday) called Northamptonshire Needs to Work.

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It highlights the value of high-quality community services and the importance of retaining the staff who deliver them.

The campaign kicks off with an online petition calling for a commitment from councillors to invest in services and the workforce.

Unison is urging residents across the county to support its aims, to ensure Northamptonshire has proper services that meet the needs of the community after the creation of the new authorities.

Wellingborough branch secretary Yolande Morgan added: “Employees at the current borough councils are concerned the new authorities will repeat mistakes the County Council made.

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“These include misspending council tax-payers’ money on agency staff and vanity projects, rather than investing in services and retaining current staff as the borough councils have been trying to do. Lessons have to be learned.”

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