Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

CIPFA responds to Northamptonshire County Council being the subject of a Section 114 Notice

05-02-2018

The news that Northamptonshire County Council is the subject of a Section 114 Notice is not surprising for three reasons.

First, the local government sector is under enormous strain following significant resource reductions since 2010. CIPFA has advised both the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the LGA that we are likely to see other councils reach this point in the two to three years if the government does not provide a more sustainable framework for local government finances.

Secondly, in the specific case of Northamptonshire, it is a council that has traditionally received tight resources and has generally been a low-cost authority. An adverse OFSTED report placed the corporate position under strain. At the same time the number of elderly people has risen, creating budget pressures. 
 
Thirdly, the county’s transformation programme, though innovative, has not yielded sufficient savings and the council depleted its reserves in an unwise manner without alternative compensatory savings of the order needed. However, we have seen other councils suffering the same general and specific strains manage their budgets more effectively. With Northampton, it appears to have now deteriorated too far for the council to be able to manage its finances and government intervention is likely to be needed to set a path for the future.
 
ENDS