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Desborough is a rapidly expanding and changing town situated in Northamptonshire, with 8045 electors (1st February 2016). An additional 700 homes are planned to be provided over the next few years as identified in the Rothwell & Desborough Area Action Plan 2009 produced by Kettering Borough Council. Key sites within the town have also been identified by the Borough Council for regeneration as detailed in the Desborough Urban Design Framework 2004. In addition Desborough "Greenspace" is 22 hectares of land designated as a public open space.Desborough is one of the founding 12 members of the Charter of European Communities and through this has links with 26 other EU members. Through the Desborough and District Twinning Association the town is twinned with Neuville de Poitou in France and with Bievre in Belgium.

Desborough Town Plan Website

Desborough Town Council has committed, on behalf of the town, to the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Desborough (known as Desborough Town Plan). This plan will help local people shape development within their community and establish general planning policies for the development and use of land in the town.

Community Grant Scheme

Desborough Town Council has a small budget for the award of grants which are awarded to local groups annually in May and October.

Latest News

Build-A-Councillor

Have you heard of Build-a-Bear? It is a shop where children can go to build their perfect furry friend. They decide what they would like – the furriest fur, the biggest heart, the brownest eyes – and then they assemble the parts to create their perfect bear. What has this got to do with parish and town councils I hear you ask?! Well the concept can apply to building the perfect councillor, and the perfect councillor team. Of course, it's not quite as easy as going to a shop and assembling the parts, but councils and communities have an opportunity at election time or when there is a casual vacancy to fill to think about what would make the perfect councillor, and to then go out and find it. More »

The concept was developed into a presentation that was delivered at the AGM of the Society of Local Council Clerks Northamptonshire Branch in September and then to the SLCC National Conference in October. Just over 100 parish and town clerks attended across the two events and as part of the presentation they were asked to describe their "perfect councillor", the results were quite surprising.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of the skills, qualities and attributes of the "perfect" councillor identified during the presentation:

- Communicative and responsive (e.g. to e-mails sent out by Clerk)

- A good listener and a skilled communicator

- Be generally honest and decent

- Prepared for meetings (e.g. has read the agenda and papers in advance)

- A team player, not trying to control everyone else

- Focused on and passionate about the community

- Available for meetings and accessible in between meetings

- Be skilled and knowledgeable and confident

- Have vision and be forward thinking and proactive

- Ability to think strategically and to understand the council's strategy and to think long term (more than four years!)

- Be knowledgeable on the council's financial position and forward plan

- Be flexible and prepared to consider different routes to the same goal

- Understands their responsibilities and takes them seriously

- Accepts corporate responsibility

- Understands the role of officers and that the council is an employer

- Not always focused on one issue, but interested in everything

- No personal agendas or vanity projects

- Don't treat council as a personal fiefdom. Be focused on community outcomes

- If dual or triple hatted, don't bring principal authority agenda or politics to parish/town council

- Know when the time is right to retire/resign

- Respect the professional knowledge and objectivity of officers

- Understands the powers of the council and that it is spending public money

- Willing to learn and develop and undertake training

- Come up with and be open to new ideas, and challenge old working practices and demonstrate leadership

- Stay awake and alert in meetings

- Be supportive of staff and understand the constraints of the job and be approachable and available

- Have respect for the contracted working hours of officers and recognise the right of employees to a work/life balance

- Willing to participate and get involved – don't sit back

- Be polite and respectful to other councillors and officers

- Treat others with respect and dignity; no inappropriate contact or comments

- Understand and abide by the Code of Conduct

- Be committed, enthusiastic, have a positive outlook and a can-do attitude

- Be computer literate and willing to work electronically

- Understand and accept how (slowly!) local government works and be patient but tenacious

- Have a sense of humour!

Having listed the skills, qualities and attributes of the perfect councillor (and it turned out to be a slightly longer list than just having the furriest fur), three key opportunities to influence the makeup of the councillor team were identified:

recruitment, induction and training

Recruitment is an opportunity to set out what the council and community wants in terms of a person specification for the ideal councillor. Of course, anyone over the age of 18 is entitled to be a councillor if they meet the eligibility criteria, so it is not possible to use the listed attributes to exclude someone from taking office. However, a carefully crafted recruitment notice goes a long way to attracting good candidates.

Consider the following text for example:

"As a councillor representing your community you will help keep it a great place to live and work. You will be supported in your role and will be expected to undertake training. You should be comfortable working electronically. You should have a positive outlook and a can-do attitude and be willing to work as part of a team."

Training, or continuous professional development, is essential for all councillors.

There are no easy answers or quick wins, but accepting the concept that there is a person specification for the role of councillor, and that recruitment to that role or development of persons already in that role, is away of influencing the make-up of the council, means that over time and with a little effort the council can gradually raise its game and become a stronger, better and more united team.

Danny Moody, Chief Executive, Northants CALC » Less

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 08:14 by Administrator

A Time To Innovate, Create and Experiment

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a beautiful butterfly.

Perhaps it is the power of positive thinking that is the only thing to cling on to at the moment as the state of public services gets worse and worse.

On 19 October 2017 Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) announced a raft of proposed cuts to public-facing services such as libraries, trading standards, children's centres and highway maintenance. The cuts are the first £10 million tranche of savings designed to take approximately £40 million out of the 18/19 budget. Understandably, the public reaction has been one of anger and dismay and "Save Our [Insert name of service to be cut here]" campaign groups have sprung up across the county in recent months. More »

But does the county council have any choice? Like all local authorities, the county council has statutory duties, and for a county council that means big-ticket items such as adult social care and child protection. It's difficult to find savings in those areas. Unfortunately, any service that is discretionary - a nice-to-have - is likely to feel the axe.

The concern though is that the old adage "a stitch in time saves nine" may come back to haunt us. For example, yes, the county council could reduce the money it spends on smoking cessation programmes now, but that means more people with lung cancer in the future, placing a greater burden on public health and the NHS.

What appears to be a "saving" now may be anything but in five, ten, twenty years from now.

Another quote that seems apt for the time is "Be thankful for the hard times for they have made you" and if we are looking for a glimmer of hope it is that necessity is the mother of invention. Doing things in the same old way is untenable, so we have to innovate, create and experiment. A good example is the mobile library service, which is one of the services threatened with withdrawal.

Now don't get me wrong, I have every sympathy with those that use the service and are concerned, even worried, that it might disappear, but everyone I speak to about it says the same thing… it's not about books, it's about social isolation.

Well, if that is true then there is an opportunity here to think differently. If the problem is social isolation then the solution is probably not driving a lorry-load of books around the county. If the problem is well understood then the solution canbe designed accordingly, and the solution is more likely to lie in "Big Society" than in the public sector. Communities are good at addressing social isolation; in fact it's one of the things they do best.

One of the big issues though is timing. Professor Jerry Stoker from Southampton University said five or six years ago "What we need is an intelligent redesign of public services. What we will get is arbitrary red lines through budget headings without thinking through the consequences". How right he was. But it's never too late to start: Northants CALC has submitted a response to NCC's consultation that calls on the county council to convene a public services summit, and member parish and town councils tell us they are amazed that such a thing has not been a routine fixture in the calendar. If we are "all in it together" then the sooner we all start talking to each other properly, the better.

Danny Moody, Chief Executive, Northants CALC » Less

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 08:01 by Administrator

Devolution for Northamptonshire

There have been recent discussions about re-organising the local government structure in this county. Our county MPs share the view that the County may be best served by a two hub unitary model – one hub in the north of the county and the other in the west.

The current format of seven district councils [aka boroughs], together with the county council, has been in place since 1974. Each of the seven districts and the county council has its own premises, operational and support staff, managers and chief executives. Some of the services delivered are unique to each authority, but there are some service areas which overlap. More »

The over-riding logic behind unitary authorities is saving money by reducing duplication in staffing, premises and service deliveries. Bring on unitary status for our county then - actually it is not a simple transfer model.

If a unitary model is adopted in this county, there would need to be a very careful skills audit of all of the current local authority staff, to ensure that essential services were able to be maintained, without interruption, in the [new] consolidated authority. Once established all parishes and residents, living in the north of the county, would communicate with their [northern] unitary hub.

Massive savings are possible and opportunities may filter down for parishes to run some basic maintenance services, like grass cutting and street cleaning. Will this happen soon – unlikely in the next four years, but it is on the agenda. » Less

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 07:55 by Administrator