Unitary’s new Chief scoops national award for social services transformation

Anna Earnshaw, the new Chief Executive of the future West Northamptonshire Council, was named as the Corporate Director of the Year during the Municipal Journal (MJ) 2020 awards this month.

Anna Earnshaw
Anna Earnshaw

The MJ is the UK’s leading weekly magazine for the public sector and related industries and organises one of the most highly respected annual awards within local government.

Winners were announced during a virtual awards ceremony on Friday, 2 October where Anna received recognition for her work at Northants County Council (NCC) as Director of Adult Social Care (ASC) and Deputy Chief Executive.

Anna started her new role as Chief Executive of the new unitary authority on Thursday, 1 October.

Cllr Ian McCord, Leader, West Northants Shadow Authority, said: “When we appointed Anna, I said she was the best of the best. It’s very pleasing to see that opinion confirmed by a panel of industry experts.

“Anna has done some amazing things at NCC. While most of the transformation work on the new council will take place after day one, her former directorate are ending a pilot stage and getting ready to launch a brand-new adult social care service this month.

“I have congratulated Anna personally, but I think the real winners here are the people of West Northants who can have confidence that the person in charge of their local services is highly capable and widely respected by her peers.”

Councillor Ian Morris, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for adult social care said: “This is extremely well deserved award for Anna, she has been an integral part of the county council’s journey over the past few years and has worked very hard within adult social care to improve services for the people that use them. I am pleased she will be continuing this excellent work as chief executive of the new West Northants Council.”

Anna said: “It’s a real honour to receive this award from such a respected group, and to be nominated alongside such brilliant public servants. It’s not why we sign up to the jobs we do, but I was delighted when my name was called out and the recognition it brings for us as an area and all our Council staff.

“While I have been the leader of an adults’ service doing some great work to improve resident outcomes, these successes are thanks to dedicated frontline workers and senior staff who work tirelessly to do the very best they can for people across Northamptonshire.”

On Monday, 19 October NCC will launch a new Adult Social Care services with new West and North Unitary teams working in very different ways and based in new Community Hubs spread throughout the county.

The launch comes following two successful pilots Hubs in Kingsthorpe and Corby and bring together a range of support services under one roof and embeds social work staff in their communities.

Central to the new model is the ‘Three Conversations’ approach which aims to move away from the traditional ‘assessment for services’ and hand-offs and put people at the heart of what we do, focusing on what the person can do and treating people as the experts in their own lives.

Countdown to new council continues at pace with detailed blueprint

More detail has been published today on the blueprint for
the new unitary council for West Northamptonshire.

The detailed blueprint sets out an overarching view of how the services will be delivered and fit together in the new West Northamptonshire authority, including who will deliver them and from where, a plan to transfer safely and legally for go live day on April 1st and a functional view of the future organisation. These detailed blueprints build on the high-level blueprints which were agreed at the West Northamptonshire Shadow Executive meeting in August.

The focus remains on ensuring residents continue to receive
the local services they rely on.

The blueprint also sets the direction of travel for the
authority and outlines the aspirations and significant future opportunities
that will come from bringing the existing councils together to make our
communities in Daventry, Northampton and South Northants even better places to
grow up, get on and grow old.

The detailed blueprint starts with a summary of the services from each district and borough and Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) that will make up the new Unitary Council.

For district and borough
services, it is assumed that all current functions and staff for South
Northants, Northampton Borough Council and Daventry District councils will move
to the West.

NCC services will be split across the two authorities. However,
as service continuity for residents is the priority, not all county services
will be split for practical, commercial and/or legal reasons for day one.

You can see the approach for each NCC service in the blueprints
here http://bit.ly/WestNorthantsShadowExec22Sept.

Councillor Ian McCord, Leader of West Northants Shadow
Authority, said: “The detailed blueprints are an important part of the process
to ensure we can carry on delivering valued local services up to, through and
beyond go live day on 1 April.

“Our aspirations for the west of Northamptonshire continue
to grow, and we are looking to deliver new and innovative ways to improve our
services for residents and businesses.”

The detailed blueprint will be discussed during the meeting
of the West Northants Shadow Executive Committee set to take place on Tuesday,
22 September.

To access the meeting details and for other information on
the unitary programme in the west, visit futurenorthantswest.org.

Four senior appointments for West Northamptonshire’s future unitary council

In the next exciting step for the future, the West Northamptonshire shadow authority formally approved four key appointments on Tuesday, 15th September. These are key statutory positions, which will play important roles in the success of the future West Northamptonshire Authority and builds on the appointment of Chief Executive, Anna Earnshaw, announced in August.

These were recommended by the Shadow Council’s Senior Appointments Committee, who developed an open and robust selection process with Councillors and involved valuable feedback from stakeholders across health, police, partners and the voluntary sector.

Martin Henry has been appointed to the role of Director of Finance and Statutory Section 151 Officer (Chief Finance Officer). Martin is currently the interim Section 151 Officer for West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority and also the Executive Director of Finance and Property at South Northamptonshire Council. He has worked in and with local government and the wider public sector for almost 30 years and has spent nearly 15 years of that period as a Chief Financial Officer.  Martin has extensive experience of operational financial management, as well as delivering a range of successful corporate strategies and procedures.

The committee recommended that Catherine Whitehead be appointed to the role of Director of Legal and Democratic Services and Statutory Monitoring Officer. Catherine is currently the Head of Democratic, Legal and Policy/ Monitoring Officer for Wycombe District Council. She is a highly experienced lawyer who has operated at senior board level for over 15 years. She has successfully advised and delivered on unitary transition and transformation.

Stuart Lackenby has been appointed as Director of Adult Social Service and Statutory DASS officer. Stuart is currently the Director of Adult Social Care for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. He is a registered social worker and has worked in Adult Social care for over 22 years, operating at a senior level for the past 5 years. He brings considerable experience of strategic leadership planning and successful implementation of change and transformation.

Cathi Hadley will take up the role of Shared Director of Children’s Services and Statutory DCS (joint with North Northamptonshire Council). Cathi is the current Director of Children’s Services for Northamptonshire County Council and has been leading the improvement agenda over the last 10 months. She brings a wide range of both social care and business skills to the role and has worked with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Councils and spent time in provision of fostering services.

Leader of the West Northants Shadow Authority, Cllr Ian McCord, said:

“We’re delighted with our chosen appointments in these vital roles for the new West Northants Council. We’re confident that we’re creating a strong senior management team to move through this exciting programme of change and transformation and create a great authority for the future.”

The recommended appointments were presented at the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority meeting on 15th September, the papers for which can be viewed here.

West Northamptonshire Council is a new unitary council being formed as part of local government reorganisation in Northants. The eight existing councils will be disbanded and two new unitary councils will come into being from the 1st April 2021. For more information about the new West Northamptonshire Council, visit futurenorthantswest.org or follow Future Northants West on Twitter or Facebook.

Time running out on logo survey

People have just a few days left to have their say on logo designs for the new West Northamptonshire Council logo.

The survey on the three shortlisted designs ends Sunday, 6 September ahead of final decision on the logo scheduled for the autumn.

A two-minute survey on the logos can be found at:

The logos have been created by in-house designers utilising local knowledge and experience of the area while also achieving the best value for money.

Draft outline blueprint published

Another significant milestone has also been reached today with the publication of the draft outline blueprint for the future West Northamptonshire council, which will go live on 1st April 2021.

The draft blueprint sets out an overarching view of how the services will be delivered and fit together in the new West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire authorities, including who will deliver them and from where. The focus is to ensure the new councils can deliver services safely and legally from day one, making sure residents continue to receive the local services they rely on.

The blueprint sets the direction of travel for the authority and also outlines the aspirations and significant future opportunities that will come from bringing the existing Councils together to make our communities in Daventry, Northampton and South Northants even better places to grow up, get on and grow old.

Where possible and safe, service transformation will be in place from day one including improvements in in customer services and IT. Residents will benefit from a new website for the authority, more options to self-serve, and more local hubs where the councils can see residents face-to-face.

Cllr Ian McCord, Leader of the West Northants Shadow Authority, said:

“Publication of the blueprint is a significant step on the journey to the West Northamptonshire unitary authority going live next year and provides a great foundation for the detailed work that will take place over the coming months.

Working together, I am confident that we will be able to deliver services safely and legally from day one, while delivering some immediate improvements for our residents.

We are genuinely ambitious for the future of West Northamptonshire. Over the coming months we will really begin to shape the authority and how we will deliver on our aspirations for local people and West Northamptonshire.”

Draft proposals for three possible logo designs for the future West Northamptonshire Council have been unveiled and feedback is invited

In a key milestone, draft proposals for three possible logo designs for the new West Northamptonshire Council have been unveiled today and feedback invited to help shape the final design.

This new logo will be needed in plenty of time for the new Council to go live in April 2021, so the aim is to have a final design agreed in the autumn.

The three logos were devised by two in-house designers currently serving the eight partner Councils which will eventually become the two new authorities for Northamptonshire. The process has been led and shaped by the Communications and Engagement Task and Finish Group for West Northamptonshire, which includes Councillors from across Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire.

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Chair of the Communications and Engagement Task and Finish Group for West Northamptonshire, said:

“We want to get things off on the right foot in West Northamptonshire, so it was important that we carried out this work using existing design staff, helping us save costs.

“There was a great deal of detailed thinking behind the three designs, but we think it’s important that people aren’t swayed by that.

“The primary questions for us are, which of them best reflects the aspirations we have for the new West Northamptonshire Council, and is the design sufficiently memorable.

“First impressions are important but we’re also more than happy for people to spend a little time pondering which of the designs they prefer.

“We’re also very keen to receive feedback to see if they can be further refined, or whether people feel there are other elements we should consider including.”

Residents across the area will be able to complete the short survey via https://futurenorthants.citizenspace.com/west/new-west-logo from today, 17th August, until 6th September.

Anna Earnshaw appointed first Chief Executive of West Northamptonshire Council

The Shadow Authority for West Northamptonshire has confirmed Anna Earnshaw as the first chief executive for the new council, following a competitive national recruitment process.

Anna Earnshaw
Anna Earnshaw

Leader of the West Northants Shadow Authority, Cllr Ian McCord, said: “Anna has emerged as the best of the best, and we are delighted to put her forward to lead the officer team in the new West Northants Council.

“Our ambition is for a strong, efficient and financially responsible new Council – a fresh start for local government in the area. Anna will be absolutely central to the delivery of this vision.”

Anna Earnshaw is currently the Director of Adult Services for Northamptonshire County Council, and its Deputy Chief Executive, she has a career in leadership across the public and private sector, with experience of business change and transformation in addition to the social care and health agenda over the last four years.

She is expected to formally take the position from 1st October 2020, Anna is already heavily involved in the Future Northants work and programme.

Anna said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been offered this exciting opportunity to be the first CEO of the new West Northamptonshire Council.
“I am looking forward to working with the Leader and members in preparing for April 2021 as well as ensuring that all our staff and residents can feel confident about our plans to create the new Council and are excited about our future.”
The Government requires the shadow authority to appoint a permanent Chief Executive before 31st December 2020 for the new Council; which is created on 1st April 2021.

Members on the new Senior Appointments Committee and Task and Finish Group developed a national recruitment campaign in May and shaped a robust and open selection process, with the authority’s recruitment partner Penna and facilitated by its own HR team.

There was an extensive interest in this role from internal and external candidates, which concluded with a comprehensive assessment day.

Partners from health, police, education and the voluntary sector; and our own employees and trade union colleagues joined in the assessment day.

Members also fed into the assessment day and contributed to a positive and thorough decision-making process.

Cllr Ian McCord chaired the final interview panel, with Cllrs Richard Auger, Danielle Stone, Matt Golby, Chris Lofts and Jonathan Nunn.

The panel made a recommendation to the Shadow Council to agree the appointment of Anna Earnshaw as West Northamptonshire Chief Executive to the Shadow Council on Tuesday, 18th August.

Work on shaping the new leadership team continues in September with the permanent selections for the Director of Finance, Legal, Adults and the joint role of Children’s statutory officers.

Residents’ views to be sought on future council opening hours

Widespread public consultation is today launching across Northamptonshire with residents and businesses on future opening hours for the main customer services for the new West and North councils when they go live on 1 April next year. The consultation closes on 23rd August.

The proposals focus on bringing current opening hours, whether by telephone or face to face, into line across the North and also across the West, so that for example the hours offered in Corby match Wellingborough and those in Northampton match Daventry. This won’t however include those out of hours or emergency services, which will still run 24/7/365.

Residents and local businesses can give their views via the Future Northants Consultation Hub at https://futurenorthants.citizenspace.com/customer-services/csc-opening-hours-new-unitaries/

This is a relatively limited consultation, as it wouldn’t be affordable to substantially increase opening hours overall, and is therefore more about targeting the available overall opening hours in the way most convenient to those who use them.

Once the public’s views have been gathered, they will be considered alongside responses from customer service staff and trade unions, as well as from partner organisations like the voluntary and community sector, and taken to councillors to help them make decisions for the future.

Should this public consultation result in potential changes then this will be part of an employee consultation through Trade Unions so staff will be able to explore any impact on their working arrangements, but for now this is an engagement with the public what customers services will look like next year.

Richard Ellis, current chief executive of South Northamptonshire Council, who is leading this piece of work on behalf of all eight councils in the County said:

“More and more people are getting what they want from their local councils online, at any time of day, or day of the week, to fit in with their own working lives and family commitments. Many still prefer to use the phone though, or even see someone in person, and we really want to hear from local residents about which pattern of opening hours for council services would best suit them, so we can do our best to match those.”

New identity for new shadow authority

A new identity has been developed for the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, the governing body for creating the new West Northamptonshire Council.

This work has been delivered at no cost to local taxpayers, with the work done in-house using councils own talented and experienced graphic designers, rather than commissioning an external branding agency.

The shadow logo has been designed to show the distinction between north and west as the two areas start to develop their own priorities and strategies. The chosen design builds on the Future Northants brand which depicts the areas that will make up the two new councils from 1 April 2021.

A member-led working group is also developing the identity for the West Northamptonshire Council, again using in-house skills and expertise to create a visual identity that is simple, modern and distinctive.

Jonathan Nunn, chair of the communications and engagement working group for the west, said:

“It is important to us that we keep costs to a minimum on this project. As local authorities face increasing budget pressures, our residents very sensibly want us to focus our efforts and resources on delivering services that meet their needs from excellent social care to good transport links. That is why we’re using our in-house graphic designers for both of these projects, making the most of our internal talent to create clear identities without incurring extra costs to the taxpayer.”

Can you help to keep the standards high?

A keen and dedicated volunteer from the local community is being sought to help keep standards high in the run-up to the creation of the new West Northamptonshire Council.

The West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority, which is leading the work to create the new Council on 1 April next year, is looking to recruit an ‘Independent Person’ to work with its Standards Committee and democratic services officers to help promote high standards among Members and ensure public confidence in the run-up to go-live day.

Under the Localism Act 2011, the ‘Independent Person’ will have a number of roles, ranging from being consulted on the decision of how to best resolve any complaints about standards of conduct or to advise Councillors on their positions.

The role, which will run until April 2021 when the new Council is then formed, is a valuable source of wisdom and outside perspective for the Authority and will be involved in many interesting issues of ethics and governance. The post is voluntary, however travel and subsistence expenses will be payable for undertaking duties.

Councillor Adam Brown, Chair of the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority’s Governance Task and Finish Group, said: “The role of the Independent Person is a vital one as local government in Northamptonshire undergoes a huge transformation with two new unitary councils next April.

“This position carries a great deal of responsibility with the important task of helping to ensure that shadow councillors maintain the highest of standards. If you’re impartial, dedicated to your community and keen to get involved in local democracy, whether you know anything about local government or not, then we’d love to hear from you.”

The closing date for applications is 4pm on Friday 31 July 2020 with interviews being held on Friday 7 August 2020.

For further details, including an application pack, please contact:

Paul Hanson, Democratic Services Manager
email: democraticservices@westnorthants.gov.uk
Telephone: 07912 891994

Applications must be completed and returned to:
democraticservices@westnorthants.gov.uk or
Paul Hanson, Democratic Services, c/o One Angel Square, Angel Street, Northampton, NN1 1ED.