Option 1: Retaining all nine councils

Key features:

  • This option would result in a deficit across the whole county of £30.4 million, meaning that collectively the councils would have to find at least a further £30 million in total between 2019 and 2025, and probable further savings beyond this time.
  • There would be a sense of familiarity by keeping the current arrangements.
  • Potentially larger rises in most households’ council tax bills in the medium-term.
  • This option puts council services that we know the public want at significant risk. Many services would need to be cut even more from 2019 onwards, and it is likely that councils would focus primarily on providing the most important services, such as adult social care and child protection.
  • Would continue to pay for senior management and back-office functions across all the existing councils.
  • Would continue with 330 councillors across the nine councils.
  • Maintains existing complicated local government structures with a two-tier system in the Dorset County Council area and two unitary councils in Bournemouth and Poole.

Financial implications by 2025 of retaining all nine councils

Dorset County Council shortfall of £11 millionChristchurch Borough Council - balance of + £0.1 millionTotal deficit of £14.9 million across the Dorset County Council area
East Dorset District Council - shortfall of £0.3 million
North Dorset District Council - shortfall of £1 million
Purbeck District Council - shortfall of £1 million
West Dorset District Council - shortfall of £1 million
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council - shortfall of 1.2 million
Bournemouth Borough Council - shortfall of £10.1 million£10.1 million
Borough of Poole - shortfall of £5.4 million£5.4 million
Total shortfall across the whole of Dorset£30.4 million


The predicted levels of council tax increase across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole in 2019/20 under option 1:

  • Bournemouth 3.99%
  • Christchurch 3.79%
  • East Dorset 3.76%
  • North Dorset 3.92%
  • Poole 3.99%
  • Purbeck 3.81%
  • West Dorset 3.88%
  • Weymouth & Portland 3.67%
  • Estimated council tax increase based on 3.99% increase for unitary and county councils, and 1.99% or £5 a year (whichever is higher) for district and borough councils.
  • This does not include council tax that households pay to Dorset Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority or any precept set by Town and Parish Councils.