|West Northamptonshire Council has commenced its annual canvass, and every property in our area will be receiving a Canvass communication shortly either through email or letter.
The canvass is a legal requirement, enabling the council to maintain a current and precise electoral register.
Being on the register is essential for adults to be able to exercise their right to vote in elections and referendums. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in jury service selection and facilitates credit checks for various purposes, including mortgage applications.
Residents who have provided their email addresses to the council will receive branded emails from West Northamptonshire Council next week. The emails, which come from firstname.lastname@example.org and contain step-by-step instructions on how to check, confirm and/or change your details online. If you do not respond within the timescale, you will receive a letter to your property. Some properties will also be receiving a form to complete. We would ask you to respond to the email/ form as soon as possible, to save the cost of sending a reminder.
Anna Earnshaw, Electoral Registration Officer for West Northamptonshire Council, said: “It’s really important that people keep an eye out for their email or form and follow the steps to confirm their details. This is the quickest and easiest way for people to update their details and means that we do not have to send reminders.
“It only takes a couple of minutes to respond, and saves you being contacted by our team who will be in touch by text, email or in person if you don’t reply.”
If you’re not currently registered to vote you can easily register online at www.gov.uk/registertovote or you can call 0300 126 7000.”
If you do not receive a letter or canvass form next week, then your property will be receiving a letter through the post in early August where you will need to check the details on the form.
To ensure a smooth canvassing process, the council advises residents to remain cautious of phishing, scam, or spam emails. West Northamptonshire Council will never request personal or banking details via email. In case of any doubts or concerns, individuals are encouraged to contact the helpline at 0300 126 7000.
While the canvass communication does not serve as a registration form to vote, individuals who are not currently registered to vote can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
For more information about the Canvass and its purpose, please visit https://www.westnorthants.gov.uk/canvass
Local government in Northamptonshire is changing. The existing system, which has been in place since the 1970s, is like a three-tier cake. The bottom layer is parish and town councils which typically cover one village or town. The middle layer is borough and district councils, which are responsible for things like planning applications, collecting the bins, tourism, and dealing with benefits. The top layer is the county council, which is responsible for things like social services, education, and highways.
From 1 April 2021 the top two layers of the cake are being replaced with one layer, known as unitary councils. There will be two in Northamptonshire: North Northamptonshire Council, and West Northamptonshire Council. Parish and town councils remain as they are.
West Northamptonshire Council will cover the area currently covered by Daventry District Council, Northampton Borough Council, and South Northamptonshire Council. The area contains the towns of Northampton, Daventry, Towcester and Brackley and nearly two hundred villages and hamlets. West Northamptonshire Council will be one of the larger unitary councils in England. It will be responsible for all the services currently being provided in the area by the district, borough, and county councils.
The main reason for replacing the district, borough and county councils with unitary councils is to save money. Northamptonshire County Council had well-publicised financial issues in 2017 and 2018, which led to a government inspection of the council. The inspector’s report recommended that creating unitary councils was the best solution.
Most people will not notice any difference, certainly in the first few years of the unitary councils. In fact, great efforts are being made to ensure that is the case. For example, the lorry collecting the rubbish might have a different logo on it, but the bins will still be collected. Council services will continue as normal, and any changes will be gradual.
From 2021 you will see three lines on your council tax bill. You will pay an amount for the parish or town council that looks after your village or town, an amount for Northamptonshire Police, and an amount for West Northamptonshire Council for all the council services it provides. The amount you pay to each body is set by that body.
West Northamptonshire Council will have 93 councillors, who will be chosen at the local elections on 6 May 2021. Some will be people who have been district, borough, and county councillors before; others will be new. Anyone over 18 and living in West Northamptonshire can put themselves forward to be a councillor. The councillors elected in 2021 will serve a four-year term of office and may seek re-election in 2025.
Council meetings are held in public, and all the information, reports, and papers for the meetings are published on the council’s web site. Councils are open and democratic bodies and are accountable to the people they serve.
If you are interested to find out more about the changes happening to local government in Northamptonshire please visit https://futurenorthantswest.org/