Reshaping Your Council

Six Dorset councils supporting 'Future Dorset'

Six councils (Bournemouth, Dorset County, North Dorset, Poole, West Dorset, and Weymouth & Portland) have supported the public mood and backed a change to local government structures in Dorset.  

  • Six of Dorset’s nine existing councils back this proposal, with 75% of voting members in favour
  • 73% of residents support change
  • 65% of residents support proposed geographical composition
  • 89% of businesses back change, as does the Dorset LEP

The proposal is to create a 'Future Dorset' comprising two new unitary councils

  • Unitary A: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (including the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in Christchurch).
  • Unitary B: East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland (including the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in this area).

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What are the benefits of two councils instead of nine?

The proposal of two unitary councils for the county – one for urban Dorset and another for the rural parts of the county – is a way to protect local services, generate further economic growth and provide structure to local councils around the community they serve and represent.

  • A financial review found that change delivers £108m over the six years after the transition, allowing services to be protected in the future. 
  • A detailed study undertaken by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that change would improve Dorset’s economy, infrastructure, housing, environment, residents’ health, education and skills.

What happens next?

Secretary of State for Local Government & Communities Sajid Javid has been formally requested to back a proposal by six of Dorset’s nine councils for major structural change in the county.

Dorset’s three upper tier councils - the councils that spend the greatest percentage of the county’s local government money and represent every resident of the county, Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole – are supporting this proposal, along with North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland councils.

If the Secretary of State agrees and the change is approved by Parliament during 2017/18, decision-making bodies would be appointed to determine the structure, budget and service delivery models of each new Council. These would be made up of councillors from all existing local authorities.

The new councils would 'go live' in April 2019, with full elections in May 2019. 

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For more information visit Future Dorset

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