Further information about options 2a, 2b and 2c

Would there be fewer councillors under any new arrangements?

There are currently 330 councillors serving residents across the whole of Dorset. Two new unitary councils covering the whole of Dorset would require significantly fewer councillors. If a decision is made to create two new unitary councils, the Boundary Commission would review the number of councillors needed to properly represent all the people living within each council’s area.

And what about staff?

If the decision is made to move to a two-unitary council structure the number of staff in director and senior manager posts and back office/corporate functions such as Finance, HR and IT would reduce. For example, instead of six Chief Executives as there are currently, there would be two.

What would happen to existing towns’ historical and civic arrangements?

Each of the towns within Dorset has its own unique character. These would continue as towns, and local civic arrangements for each would be maintained, contributing to the preservation of each town’s heritage.

Established ceremonial positions of Mayor would remain. In the same way that local history and traditions are currently preserved within district councils (just like the mayors of Wimborne, Verwood, Ferndown, which exist in East Dorset) so they would be preserved within any new authority.

Accessing your council

Dorset’s residents having access to their council is a priority for all Dorset’s councils. However, if the future set-up of local government in Dorset were to be two unitary councils, there would be no need to maintain all the councils’ current buildings. Whatever the outcome, Dorset’s councils will continue to encourage residents to access, pay for, order and complete more online, in order to protect frontline services.

Current council tax levels

  • Bournemouth: £1,293.33
  • Christchurch: £1,453.77
  • East Dorset: £1,471.10
  • North Dorset: £1,380.74
  • Poole: £1,257.86
  • Purbeck: £1,441.19
  • West Dorset: £1,398.53
  • Weymouth & Portland: £1,553.14

Council tax harmonisation

If a new local government structure is implemented across Dorset, councils would need to undertake a council tax harmonisation process to make sure that, within an agreed period of time, all residents of one council area pay the same. Some work has already been done to assess the impact of council tax harmonisation. This assumes an approach in which, over a 20-year period, the lowest council tax rate from a former council within the new council’s area, is increased by the maximum allowable rate and council tax rates in the other former council areas are increased by a lower rate, so that the council tax rates in all areas within a new unitary council eventually become the same.

If it is decided to create two unitary councils, each new unitary council would be responsible for setting its own council tax level every year.

Business rates

Business rates are unaffected by a restructure of local government in Dorset.