News - Reshaping Your Councils - The future shape of local government in Dorset

NEW - Monday, 19th September 2016 // UPDATED - Friday, 16th December 2016

UPDATED - Friday, 16th December 2016

Local government reorganisation - update on Dorset leaders' meeting 15/12/16

Email from Jane Portman - Deputy Chief Executive, Bournemouth Borough Council
16th December 2016
Local government reorganisation - update on Dorset leaders' meeting 15/12/16

As you will be aware, the leaders of all nine Dorset councils met yesterday to review the findings of the commissioned work into the exploration of options for local government in Dorset.

I am writing to inform you that a report on proposals to replace the county's existing nine councils with two new unitary authorities will be considered by councillors across Dorset in January. The dates of our council meetings can be found below.

A full report on the evidence for local government reorganisation will be published on Friday 23 December.

A news release on the leaders' meeting will be published shortly.

Dates and times of our council meetings in January

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday 9 Jan, 5pm
Town Hall, Bournemouth

Cabinet
Wednesday 25 Jan, 10.30am
Town Hall, Bournemouth

Special Council
Tuesday 31 Jan, 7pm
Town Hall, Bournemouth

NEW - Monday, 19th September 2016

After months of work across all nine Dorset councils, the public consultation on the future shape of local government in Dorset is about to start. As a member of staff at Bournemouth Council no doubt you will have a keen interest in the options and the final outcome.

Called 'Reshaping your councils', the consultation will ask staff, residents and other stakeholders, such as businesses, community groups and, where they exist, parish and town councils, for their views on a range of options. These options are:

Option 1
Retaining all nine councils

Option 2
Two new unitary councils for Dorset

2a Large conurbation: Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset
Small Dorset: North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland

2b Medium conurbation: Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch
Medium Dorset: East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland

2c Small conurbation: Bournemouth and Poole
Large Dorset: Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland

Why do we need to change?

Dorset's nine councils spend £920million a year delivering services. This year, the amount of money the Government passed on to Dorset’s councils to run services was £51.9million. That's £142million less received in Government funding today than in 2010/11.

Despite all our hard work to make Bournemouth more efficient - by 2019/20, Dorset’s councils will have made savings over 10 years of almost £200million - the reality is that the current structure of local government is not sustainable. A further £30.4million must be found between 2019 and 2025. The reality is that many services will have to change drastically, or even stop altogether if savings cannot be made. It is now essential that change is considered in order to minimise cuts to services beyond 2019/20, and ensure councils are sustainable for the future.

Whilst £30.4million may seem a relatively small proportion of overall budgets, it is this on top of the £200m already saved that makes considering change a priority now.

No decisions have yet been made about the future shape of councils in Dorset, so we can't say exactly what the impact will be on individual staff. However, we do know that two new unitary councils in Dorset would mean fewer staff in senior management (including there being two Chief Executives instead of six) and support services. There would also be significantly fewer councillors than the 330 currently across the nine councils.

Reshaping your councils will see 20,000 questionnaires sent out to residents across Dorset, as well as an online version available for anyone to complete. This will be live from 30 August to 25 October. I will make sure that staff are kept informed, and there are public roadshows at locations across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole. You will be able to find more details, including the questionnaire, at reshaping-your-councils.uk (live from 30 August).

Please do take the time to get involved in this consultation and have your say.