Help us understand your priorities

Closes 20 Oct 2019

Opened 23 Sep 2019

Overview

The next 18 months represent a critical stage for the future of public services in Northamptonshire.

During this time work will be completed to transform services and replace the county’s existing eight councils with two new unitary authorities.

In order for this to be a success it is essential that those services currently provided by Northamptonshire County Council are placed on a firmer financial footing to make sure the two new unitary councils don’t inherit the significant issues faced by the authority.

This needs to happen before the new councils are created to make sure they start life with transformed, affordable services and a balanced budget.

To help us in this work we want your views on what you consider to be the priorities. We want to know what services you feel are most important to you, your family and your communities, how you rate these services and what improvements could be made.

We are asking these questions now and will repeat this every six months to make sure we are aware of your views on an ongoing basis.

What We Spend Now

Detailed explanations of what services are included in each of these areas are provided in the survey.

This is how our budget is currently split between services:

spend pie chart

This does not include the following significant areas of spend which are paid for entirely through government grant:

Schools: £606m
This is the money spent on the day to day running of all the county’s schools

Public Health: £33.9m
This is the money which is spent on a whole range of services and initiatives aimed at improving the health of the population as a whole. This includes:

  • Weight management
  • Smoking cessation
  • Drug and alcohol services
  • Health screening
  • Immunisations and vaccines

Not including these areas the total net budget for the council is therefore £417.7m.

To help pay for all these services last year the council collected a total of £303.3m of council tax.

The remainder is paid for by business rates, and something called the New Homes Bonus.

How Does This Compare With Other Councils?

The latest figures show how much we spend on services compared to other county councils.

These are summarised in the chart below. Each service area is given a rank of how much is spent in Northamptonshire compared to all 26 county councils.

Next to each service area is a number. This shows how much the council spends compared to all 26 county councils with 1 being the highest spender and 26 being the lowest.

council spend diagram

So for example the council is ranked 19 out of 26 for the amount it spends on Environmental and Regulatory services.

The Challenge
The financial difficulties of Northamptonshire County Council are well known.

For a number of years the council was spending more than its approved annual budget.

As a result of this and wider failings the Government has appointed two Commissioners to oversee the finance and governance of the council. It has also appointed a third Commissioner to oversee improvements in Children’s Services.

There has needed to be urgent work to repair the damage and last year the council balanced its books with a small underspend for the first time in several years.

However despite this progress, because of how fragile the finances are, further work is required. We have developed a Transformation Programme – combined with the work to move to Unitary Councils – which aims to deliver key improvements, and efficiencies in county council services before the changes to council structures.

As we continue with this work we want to hear from you about your priorities and views on council services. Of course there will be many different points of view about which services are most important and because of our fragile financial position we can’t make any promises at this stage about any services, but we think it is vital we hear your views.

 

Give Us Your Views