We asked, you said, we did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We asked

The first draft budget for West Northamptonshire Council was approved for consultation by the Shadow Executive on 5 January 2021.

The following summarises the main features of the proposed draft budget:

  • A balanced budget achieved in challenging circumstances
  • The protection of existing service levels
  • No reductions in any service provision
  • Efficiency savings of £13.4m
  • Average Council Tax increase of £6.20 per month for a band D equivalent property
  • Incorporation of contingencies to mitigate the potential uncertainties associated with the first year of operation
  • Preservation of all current capital schemes across West Northamptonshire

The draft budget was subject to a full public and business consultation exercise which ran for four weeks from 6 December 2021 and closed on 2 February 2021.

The consultation focused on the draft budget proposals that would likely affect residents and service users. However, respondents were invited to comment on anything within the draft budget.

You said

Using the various means available to consultees, local people and organisations contributed to the West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation 457 times. 

Council Tax harmonisation proposals:

  • 54.72% respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree that all Council Tax Bands A–H should be harmonised for residents of West Northamptonshire, while 33.47% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 45.85% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree that the Council should use an Average Council Tax approach to recalculate the Council Tax Bands A–H, while 38.34% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 45.41% said they would prefer the harmonisation to be introduced within the first three years, with 17.90% saying they would prefer harmonisation within the first year. However, 23.58% said they would rather harmonisation be implemented as late as possible and opted for year seven

Council Tax increase proposals:

  • 47.58% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed general Council Tax increase of 1.99%, while 39.20% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 40.18% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed 3% precept increase for Adult Social Care, while 44.64% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree

Housing Revenue Account (HRA) proposals:

  • 48.06% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed increase to rent by 1.5% on average across the Council’s housing stock in line with national government policy increase, while 26.22% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree
  • 43.00% of respondents said that they strongly agree or tend to agree with the proposed increase to general service charges by 0.5%, increase, while 19.50% said they strongly disagree or tend to disagree

For more information about the responses to the West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation, please see Appendix I – West Northamptonshire Council Draft Budget 2021-22 Consultation Analysis Report from the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority meeting on 23 February 2021.

We did

On Tuesday 23 February 2021, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority approved a budget of £326.6 million to provide services to residents and businesses in West Northamptonshire.

For more information about the 2021 to 2022 budget for West Northamptonshire, please see the:

We asked

From April 2013, each Local Authority has been required to determine a LCTRS, which replaced the national Council Tax Benefit scheme.

Prior to 1 April 2021, each District and Borough in West Northamptonshire had a different LCTRS that gives different levels of support to working age people. From April 2021, the current schemes will end and a new scheme will need to be agreed.

At the meeting on 27 October 2020, the Shadow Executive agreed six proposals, for consultation purposes only, and approved a consultation period of six weeks.

The consultation ran from Monday 2 November 2020 until midnight on Sunday 13 December 2020 and included an online form open to all residents, stakeholders and people representing organisations.

The proposals that were included in the consultation are shown below:

  • Proposal 1: Level of contribution for working age claimants. The proposal for consultation was to harmonise the minimum contribution to 26.5% of Council Tax liability for working age people
  • Proposal 2: To disregard 100% of War Widows and War Disablement income
  • Proposal 3: Removal of the family premium for new claims
  • Proposal 4: To limit the child allowance to two children when assessing new claims for LCTRS
  • Proposal 5: To apply a minimum value to the income of those people who are self-employed when assessing LCTRS
  • Proposal 6: to harmonise the rates of non-dependant deduction to the prescribed amounts set by Government

You said

The West Northamptonshire Council Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS) Consultation 2021-22 received 368 responses of which 309 were fully completed.

159 responses were from Local Council Tax Reduction recipients and 123 from other Council Taxpayers. The remaining responses were from people representing organisations and housing associations or from people who preferred not to say.

Feedback on the six proposals:

1. Level of contribution for working age:

  • 43.28% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 43.27% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

2. War Widows and War Disablement:

  • 74.62% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 6.04% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

3. Family Premium:

  • 50.47% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 15.89% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

4. Child allowance in the calculation of LCTRS:

  • 57.82% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 15.62% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

5. Minimum self-employed income:

  • 44.34% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 18.87% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

6. Non dependant deductions:

  • 59.05% answered that they strongly or tend to agree with the proposal
  • 7.94% answered that they strongly or tend to disagree with the proposal

For more information about the feedback received, please see the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (LCTRS) Consultation Results report.

We did

A greater level of feedback was received to proposal one, the level of contribution of 26.5% to be paid by working age customers. There was a moderate level of support for this proposal as detailed in the report on the consultation outcome.

Having considered the consultation process and the ongoing economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, a 20% scheme was recommended for adoption moving forward.

On Tuesday 26 January 2021, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive Committee: 

a) Noted the contents of this report and the previous report received by the Shadow Executive on 5 January 2021;

b) Agreed, under 3.2.2 of the report, the following proposals:

  • Proposal 1 - The minimum level of contribution was set at 20.0%;
  • Proposal 2 -War widows and war disablement income to be disregarded;
  • Proposal 3 - Removal of the family premium for new claims;
  • Proposal 4 - Limit the child allowance to two children when assessing new claims;
  • Proposal 5 - Apply a minimum level of income to those people who are self-employed;
  • Proposal 6 - Harmonise the rates of non-dependant deduction to the prescribed amounts set by Government; and

c) Granted delegated authority to the Section 151 Officer to make amendments as required to the Local Council Tax Reduction Regulations up to and including 31 January 2021 including the income uprating announced by MHCLG. 

For more information about the West Northamptonshire Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2021-2022, please see the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive Committee meeting papers of 26 January 2021.

We asked

The West Communications & Engagement Task and Finish Group were given a Brief, in June 2020, to come up with ideas for a Visual Identity / logo for the new West Northamptonshire Council.

The Consultation Hub was utilised to facilitate a widely publicised survey for residents, members and staff to give their opinions and suggestions on the 3 shortlisted draft logos.

The ‘Have your say on the new West Northamptonshire Council logo’ survey ran for 3 weeks from 17 August to 6 September 2020.

You said

The ‘Have your say on the new West Northamptonshire Council logo’ survey received 1,740 responses. 

  • The favoured design received 576 votes
  • The second design received 342 votes
  • The third design received 283 votes

539 respondents did not give a preference.

The preferred design was that of four interlinked rings, but as to be expected, there were also some very useful comments and suggestions which were used to create the final version of the logo.

Suggested amendments following survey comment analysis:

  • Include three rings in the design, not four – although the new West Northamptonshire Council will also include NCC, this wasn’t something which was clear with the four rings design
  • Some comments drew similarities between the logo outline and the county rose emblem. Adapting the design to incorporate the rose emblem could address other comments which stated that the logo lacked relevance and historic links to the county

For more information on the ‘Have your say on the new West Northamptonshire Council logo’ survey, please see:

We did

On Tuesday 24 November 2020, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive Committee:

  1. Approved the final logo design;
  2. Noted that this design was shaped around the feedback from the online logo survey which went out to staff, Trade Unions, Cllrs, partners and the public; and
  3. Noted the use of talented in-house staff in the development and iteration of the logo throughout and avoidance of any extra cost to the FN Programme and the taxpayer

Amendments following survey comment analysis:

  • Three interlinking rings show the joining of South Northants Council, Daventry District Council and Northampton Borough Council into one West Northamptonshire Council
  • The colour of each ring is the primary colour of each existing council logo – SNC - Blue, DDC - Green and NBC – Red
  • A simplified outline of Northamptonshire’s ‘Rose of the Shires’ emblem has been added to give a clear link to the county and its heritage, plus a nod to the current Northamptonshire County Council Rose Logo

We asked

Prior to 1 April 2021, each sovereign council in the West Northamptonshire area had their own customer services opening hours.

In June 2020, the Programme Delivery Group approved in principle the harmonisation of hours for customer services opening hours for the North and West Northants subject to consultation with the public on preferred hours.

The consultation was limited to four options to manage expectations and enable the customer services opening hours to be harmonised with minimal impact on resources. Respondents had the options of:

  • 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • 9:30am to 5:30pm
  • I don’t mind

The ‘Customer Services opening hours in the new Northamptonshire unitary authorities’ survey took place from the 27 July to 23 August 2020.

You said

In total, the ‘Customer Services opening hours in the new Northamptonshire unitary authorities’ survey received 1,225 responses from residents of Northamptonshire.

Feedback on preferences:

  • 8:30am to 4:30pm preference – 157 responses
  • 9:00am to 5:00pm preference – 181 responses
  • 9:30am to 5:30pm preference – 131 responses
  • I don’t mind / no preference – 151 responses

There was a clear preference of 9:00am to 5:00pm from respondents in West Northamptonshire.

We did

On Tuesday 27 October 2020, the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive Committee approved the recommended customer services opening hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm for West Northamptonshire Council.

The analysis of consultation feedback alongside the telephony call volume data informed the recommended opening hours.

For more information about the approval of the customer services opening hours for West Northamptonshire Council, please see the: