This Thursday (5 January 2017) marks the start of formal debate and scrutiny by all Dorset councils of the proposals for changing the county’s local government structures.
A full report setting out on the evidence for local government reorganisation in Dorset was published on Friday 23rd December 2016. Borough of Poole’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee will discuss the report in a meeting that is open to the public, at the Civic Offices starting at 7pm on 5 January. This is the first of 24 meetings across Dorset’s nine councils – all open to the public – at which the evidence will be scrutinised and the proposals debated.
The report, jointly authored by the six Dorset Chief Executives, recommends that elected members of each council agree that a submission be made to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government requesting that Dorset’s nine councils should be replaced by two new unitary councils.
Based upon the weight of public opinion, financial and other analytical evidence, councillors are also recommended to agree that the two new unitary councils should be comprised of the following existing local authority areas:
Unitary A: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, plus the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in this area.
Unitary B: East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland, plus the services currently provided by Dorset County Council in this area.
Matt Prosser, Chief Executive of the Dorset Councils Partnership, and Chairman of the Dorset Chief Executives Group said on behalf of the Dorset councils’ six chief executives:
“Members have had the full package of evidence – the financial assessment, the consultation results and the case for change – since 5 December, giving them good time to review and digest the content. These meetings are an opportunity for all councillors of every council to debate and discuss the evidence, in their sovereign councils, the report and its recommendations in public, with each authority’s Full Council making a final decision later in the month. Only once each Council has reached a decision will we be able to submit a proposal to the Secretary of State.”