Northamptonshire County Council

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Northamptonshire County Council
Coat of arms or logo
Matt Golby, Conservative
Since 2018
Deputy Leader
Cecile Irving-Swift, Conservative
Since 2018
Seats 57 councillors
Northamptonshire County Council composition
Political groups
     Conservative (43)
     Labour (11)
     Liberal Democrat (2)
     Independent (1)
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2017
Next election
May 2021

Northamptonshire County Council is the county council that governs the non-metropolitan county of Northamptonshire in England. It was originally formed in 1889 by the Local Government Act 1888. The county is divided into 57 electoral divisions, which return a total of 57 councillors. The council has been controlled by the Conservative Party since 2005. The leader of the county council until her resignation in 2018 was Heather Smith, who had been elected to the post in May 2016.[1] The headquarters of the council is County Hall in Northampton.

As a non-metropolitan county council, the council is responsible for education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport policy and fire services, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning.

In early 2018, the Council announced it was effectively insolvent. Subsequently, a report by Government Inspectors concluded that problems at the council were so deep-rooted that it should be abolished and replaced by two smaller authorities. To save money, Northamptonshire Council is planning to cut services for vulnerable people, including vulnerable children.[2] Some of the proposed cuts have been found unlawful by the courts.[3]


Northamptonshire County Council was first formed in 1889 as a result of the Local Government Act 1888, covering Northamptonshire, with the exceptions of the borough of Northampton, which became a county borough, and the Soke of Peterborough, which was made its own administrative county. This arrangement changed in 1974 when, following the Local Government Act 1972, a newly constituted Northamptonshire County Council was formed for the non-metropolitan county of Northamptonshire. First elections to the new authority were in April 1973, and the council took office on 1 April 1974.

From its recreation in 1974, the county council has administered the entire ceremonial county of Northamptonshire, including Northampton. This does not include the area of the Soke of Peterborough, which has been included in the ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire since 1974. During 1990s local government reform, Northampton tried to obtain unitary authority status, but failed.[4] Northamptonshire now has three tiers of local government: the county council; seven lower-tier councils, comprising four borough councils (Corby, Kettering, Northampton, Wellingborough) and three district councils (Daventry, East Northamptonshire, South Northamptonshire); and more than 250 parish councils.


Northamptonshire County Council has operated executive arrangements in the form of a Leader and Cabinet system since 2001. In December 2008, the council chose to adopt the revised Executive Leader and Cabinet arrangement.

The Council is currently composed of 57 councillors, each representing a single-member division. Elections are held every four years; the next election is due to take place in 2021.


Northamptonshire County Council's cabinet is composed of seven Conservative councillors and the Conservative Leader of the council. Cabinet members work closely with the directors and professional officers of the council to ensure the successful implementation of the decisions they make.[5]

Title Councillor
Leader of the Council Matt Golby
Deputy Leader of the Council Cecile Irving-Swift
Finance Michael Clarke
Adult Social Care Sandra E. Naden-Horley
Public Health and Wellbeing Cecile Irving-Swift
Transport, Highways and Environment Ian Morris
Children's Services, Families and Education Victoria Perry

Districts and Boroughs[edit]

Northamptonshire has three tiers of local government: the county council, seven district or borough councils, and over 200 parish councils. In urban areas, the work of the parish council is likely to be undertaken by the county or district council.[citation needed] The seven district councils in Northamptonshire are:

These district councils are responsible for local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism.

Political control[edit]

Political control of the non-metropolitan county has been held by the following groups:

Election Party
1973 Labour
1977 Conservative
1981 No overall control
1985 No overall control
1989 No overall control
1993 Labour
1997 Labour
2001 Labour
2005 Conservative
2009 Conservative
2013 Conservative
2017 Conservative

The council comprised 57 councillors representing the county. Each councillor typically served for a four-year term, representing an electoral ward. Each ward elects one councillor by the first past the post system of election. The composition of the county council, following the 2017 election, was 43 Conservative councillors, 12 Labour councillors, and 2 Liberal Democrat councillors. The next election is to take place in May 2021.

District Ward Party Councillor
Corby Rural Conservative Sandra Naden-Horley
Corby West Labour Julie Brookfield
Kingswood Labour John McGhee
Lloyds Labour Bob Scott
Oakley Liberal Democrat Chris Stanbra
Braunston And Crick Conservative Malcolm Longley
Brixworth Conservative Cecile Irving-Swift
Daventry East Conservative Amy Howard
Daventry West Conservative Richard Auger
Long Buckby Conservative Steve Osborne
Moulton Conservative Judith Shephard
Woodford And Weedon Conservative Robin Brown
East Northamptonshire
Higham Ferrers / Rushden North Conservative Jason Smithers
Irthlingborough Conservative Sylvia Hughes
Oundle Conservative Heather Smith
Raunds Conservative Dudley Hughes
Rushden Pemberton West Conservative Michael Tye
Rushden South Conservative Andy Mercer
Thrapston Conservative Wendy Brackenbury
Burton And Broughton Conservative Chris Smith-Haynes
Clover Hill Conservative Bill Parker
Desborough Conservative Allan Matthews
Ise Conservative Victoria Perry
Northall Labour Mick Scrimshaw
Rothwell And Mawsley Conservative James Hakewill
Wicksteed Conservative Scott Edwards
Windmill Labour Eileen Hales
Abington And Phippsville Labour Danielle Stone
Billing And Rectory Farm Conservative Andrew Kilbride
Boothville And Parklands Conservative Mike Hallam
Castle Labour Winston Strachan
Dallington Spencer Labour Gareth Eales
Delapre And Rushmere Independent Julie Davenport
Duston East Conservative Suresh Patel
Duston West And St Crispin Conservative Matthew Golby
East Hunsbury And Shelfleys Conservative Andre Gonzalez de Savage
Headlands Labour Arthur McCutcheon
Kingsthorpe North Conservative Sam Rumens
Kingsthorpe South Labour Jane Birch
Nene Valley Conservative Lizzy Bowen
Riverside Park Conservative Stephen Legg
Sixfields Conservative Pinder Chauhan
St George Labour Rachel Cooley
Talavera Liberal Democrat Dennis Meredith
South Northamptonshire
Brackley Conservative Fiona Baker
Bugbrooke Conservative William Brown
Deanshanger Conservative Allen Walker
Hackleton And Grange Park Conservative Michael Clarke
Middleton Cheney Conservative Rebecca Breese
Silverstone Conservative Ian Morris
Towcester And Roade Conservative Adil Sadygov
Brickhill And Queensway Conservative Jonathan Ekins
Croyland And Swanspool Conservative Graham Lawman
Earls Barton Conservative Rob Gough
Finedon Conservative Gill Mercer
Hatton Park Conservative Malcolm Waters
Irchester Conservative Martin Griffiths


Early in 2018 the county council announced that it "was effectively insolvent."[6]

In March 2018, a government-appointed investigator’s report into financial and management failures at the authority recommended the council be broken up. It said the problems at the council were so deep-rooted that it was impossible to rescue it in its current form, and to do so “would be a reward for failure”. It recommended that ministers send in a team of external commissioners to take over the day-to-day running of the council until it can be broken up and replaced with two new smaller authorities. The report rejected the council leadership’s claim that it had been disadvantaged by government funding cuts and underfunded. It condemned the council’s attempt to restructure services by outsourcing them to private companies and charities (the Next Generation Programme). It described the council's budgeting as “an exercise of hope rather than expectation”.[7]

Subsequently the council's Leader, Heather Smith, resigned.[8] Robin Brown, Councillor with the finance brief was later sacked. [9]

To save money, Northamptonshire Council is planning to cut services for vulnerable people including vulnerable children.[10] Austerity measures are blamed for the insolvency, as is the council's refusal to raise council tax despite the rising costs of providing social services. For half a decade the council used 'accounting ruses' and used financial services inappropriately. In future the council is to provide the legal minimum of services, focused on the most vulnerable—though it is unclear what the minimum will be, or how vulnerable people will be required to be to receive services. The council must find savings of £70m out of its £441m budget during the coming few months, and further savings of £54m during 2019-20.[11]

Cuts are being considered for children's services, adult services (investigating learning difficulties, fees, charges and NHS contributions), road maintenance and transport (including school buses), waste management, and culture; staff redundancies are also being considered.[12] There are to be planned widespread cuts to jobs and services, owing to a funding shortfall of £70m.[13] Proposed cuts to Northamptonshire's library service were challenged in court. A judge reminded the councillors that they have a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. The judge ruled that the council had not put enough time and effort into establishing whether the reduced service would meet their statutory duties, and ruled the cuts could not currently go ahead as proposed.[14]