South Northamptonshire council merge could lead to job losses

Mary Clarke
Mary Clarke

A Northamptonshire council could face redundancies as it prepares to share some of its services with other local authorities.

South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) has announced plans to share some back office roles, such as HR, IT and finances, with Cherwell District and Stratford-on-Avon District councils.

As part of the move, the three councils will benefit from a £900,000 cash boost from the Government’s Transformation Challenge Award 2015-16, and a further £475,000 to share with South Staffordshire Council.

According to SNC, joining the three councils will “increase efficiency and quality” of local services.

A spokesman for the council said: “All three councils are committed to minimising the potential for any compulsory redundancies. Any post within all three councils that naturally becomes vacant will be reviewed for further opportunities for joint working and greater efficiencies, which would also help to minimise the potential for any compulsory redundancies.”

SNC has already been sharing senior management with Cherwell for several years, generating an overall saving of £3 million per year.

But, the council spokesman confirmed, “it is a priority for all three councils that they retain local identity and uniqueness and we do not envisage any major changes to things like waste collection, for example.”

Cllr Mary Clarke, leader of South Northamptonshire Council, said: “Joint working has proved a big winner and now it’s time to explore the further possibilities that are opening up to us.

“The councils will use this funding to deliver new forms of governance, ensuring services are commissioned jointly.

“We will look to move beyond shared support services and explore access to professional advice to ensure our governance proposal is legal, flexible and democratically accountable.”

Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “Our objective is to improve the quality of services for all three councils whilst reducing the cost of providing them - a winning scenario for residents in all three districts.

“Our approach will encompass the benefits of shared working and the flexibility offered by alternative delivery models.”

Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Cllr Chris Saint, added: “Councils are still being challenged to make substantial savings whilst improving frontline services.

“Cherwell has been at the forefront of this by increasingly sharing services with South Northamptonshire.

“Now we want to look at further joint working with Cherwell and South Northamptonshire and the role of all three councils as pioneers in this area had been recognised by the Government with this award.”