Six Dorset Councils have mandate to ask Secretary of State to change local government structures

All nine councils in Dorset have now considered a report and accompanying detailed package of evidence setting out a proposal to replace the county’s nine councils with two new unitary authorities. 

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.  The proposal is to create two new unitary councils based on the following existing local authority areas:

  • Unitary A: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (including delivering 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).

Matt ProsserReshaping Your Councils, Chairman of the Dorset Chief Executives Group, said:  “We are passionate about the Dorset of the future. We are collectively committed to doing the right thing for our residents and for the whole of the county – to protect services, to raise Dorset’s profile, to grow the economy, and to generate prosperity and an enhanced lifestyle for all those who live here. All the evidence shows that this proposal will do just that and more, and we will use the mandate given to us by six of the councils wisely to effect positive change. .

“We now have a mandate from our councils and we have the backing of the public and other stakeholders.  That is clear from the consultation results.  Now, we have a duty to respond to that mandate and secure a sustainable and even brighter future for Dorset. We are resolved in our commitment to a county that is healthy, prosperous, vibrant and inclusive for generations to come.  We now need to determine the next steps in achieving this opportunity of a lifetime.”

Dorset’s Council Leaders will meet on 8 February.  At this meeting, those councils supporting change will agree the formal proposal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid, asking him to use the powers available and replace Dorset’s nine councils with two new unitary 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.

Public consultation results show clear backing for change to local government structures in Dorset in both the representative household survey and the open residents questionnaire, with the proposed boundaries also being the most favoured. Deliberative and qualitative research found that the business community, voluntary sectors, residents’ groups and town & parish councils also primarily mirrored these results.

A detailed study undertaken by PriceWaterhouseCoopers cites a compelling case for local government reorganisation in Dorset.  It found evidence that replacing nine councils with two would benefit the economy, improve services, be good for people’s health & wellbeing, help education & skills in Dorset and improve the county’s infrastructure, housing and environment.

9 thoughts on “Six Dorset Councils have mandate to ask Secretary of State to change local government structures


  1. My wife & I voted for option 2, along with the majority in East Dorset. Therefore, why do the dinosaurs on EDDC go against the will of the people & refuse to back the new sustem?

    Yours digustedly.


  2. This document is biased, it makes no mention of the fact that three authorities are not in favour of this.
    How are the people of Christchurch to fight against this forcing through of an undesirable solution?


    1. This purpose of this news story was to inform people that six councils had supported local government reorganisation in Dorset and would be making a submission to the Secretary of State. All three councils who do not support the proposal have issued their own press releases – Christchurch, East and Purbeck – which are all available on the newsroom.


  3. East Dorset is an area of two distinct characters; one is urban (Wimborne, Ferndown,and Corfe Mullen, for example; the other, being the rest of East Dorset, being rural. Therefore, to me it would make more sense to split East Dorset and put the urban part into Unitary A and the rest in Unitary B.


  4. Quote:- your assertion..
    “Public consultation results show clear backing for change to local government structures in Dorset in both the representative household survey and the open residents questionnaire, with the proposed boundaries also being the most favoured. ”
    NO THEY DID NOT!! The consultation was totally inadequate, the sample size too small, the information regarding the subject of the consultation too limited , the options that should have been available not given .
    THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY!!
    I want to be represented by people who share my town and its values, character and history.
    I have played a significant part in boosting Dorset s prosperity through Avionics developments, and have lived in Dorset for a total of 53 years, and I wish it to continue to prosper. Economies of scale by merging and sharing services is fine, but decisions that affect changes of character and experience of my town must be made by my representatives.
    Christchurch cannot by joined to Bournemouth without destroying the ability of its residents to protect the character of their own town.


  5. I am very pleased that Christchurch, Purbeck and East Dorset have not agreed to join into two unitary authorities for Dorset.
    I fully support fully integrated purchasing of goods and services, where appropriate, and with the effective monitoring of agreed Service Level Agreements with suppliers. I also fully support all the work that has been going with EDDC and Christchurch Councils sharing many back office functions, thus reducing costs.
    It is very evident that Christchurch Council and residents were not supportive of merging with Poole and Bournemouth.
    Those councils which were against these proposals should not be bullied into submission by the Secretary of State, provided that those dissenting can continue to provide a robust Business Case.


  6. So the powers that be want Xchurch to be swallowed by B/mouth and Poole in my opinion that will be a disaster it will mean that our rates in Christchurch will rise and services will suffer further Not good news.


  7. This reorganisation will largely benefit those councils who have failed to manage their income in the past. A prime example is Bournemouth who, for political reasons of their own, have not increased Council Tax for 5 years. I cannot see that this behaviour will change and that any potential savings will be swallowed by continued mismanagement by the same individuals within the new structures.

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