How are councils in Dorset organised now?

There are currently nine local authorities providing council services in Dorset:

Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole are unitary authorities, providing all council services for residents in their area.

Dorset County Council provides some council services for residents across the whole of the rest of the county, including education, highways, libraries and social services.

Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council provide other council services for residents in their area, including parks, revenues and benefits, housing, leisure and planning.

CouncilNumber of residentsNumber of councillors
Bournemouth Borough Council194,50054
Christchurch Borough Council49,10024
Dorset County Council (delivers services across Dorset, excluding Bournemouth and Poole)420,60045
East Dorset District Council88,70029
North Dorset District Council70,70033
Borough of Poole150,60042
Purbeck District Council46,20025
West Dorset District Council100,70042
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council65,20036

In Dorset, each of the nine councils has a political Leader, but there are six Chief Executives:

  • Christchurch and East Dorset District Council are two separate councils politically, but have already made efficiency savings by having a single workforce, including one Chief Executive.
  • North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council are three separate councils politically, but have already made efficiency savings by having a single workforce, including one Chief Executive.

In addition, all Dorset’s councils have worked hard to save money and become more efficient since austerity measures began.

While these arrangements have served Dorset well, Dorset’s councils now think it is time to look at a different, more cost-effective approach for the future. Read about why we need to change, and the proposals for change.