Reshaping Your Council
Bournemouth residents back change to council structures
On December 23rd, a report into the future of councils in Dorset, was published, recommending that Dorset’s nine councils should be replaced by two new unitary councils. It is available here.
Based upon the weight of public opinion, financial and other analytical evidence, councillors are also recommended to agree that the two new unitary councils should comprise of the following existing local authority areas:
- Unitary A: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (including 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).
About the consultation
Public consultation results show clear backing for change to council structures in Dorset. A household survey, which is representative of the county’s population, found almost three quarters support reducing Dorset’s councils from nine to two, with over two thirds of respondents to an open questionnaire also agreeing.
In Bournemouth, 73% of those responding to the household survey backed change, with 77% of people in the open questionnaire also preferring two councils instead of nine.
Of the options for the geographical make-up of any new council, there was majority support for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to be served by one new council, with East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset & Weymouth & Portland areas served by a second new council (65% in the household survey and 53% in the open questionnaire). This was also the preferred option for people living in Bournemouth. 74% of those in the household survey and 67% in the option questionnaire backed this proposal.
What are the benefits of two councils instead of nine?
A financial review found that change delivers £108m over the six years after the transition, allowing services to be protected in the future.
A detailed study undertaken by PriceWaterhouseCoopers It found that change would:
- improve services
- provide stronger leadership
- increase efficiency
- save money; and
- be sustainable.
It also concluded that two councils would improve Dorset’s economy, infrastructure, housing, environment, residents’ health and education and skills.
What happens next?
We want to be sure that any proposal both has public support and also meets the government’s criteria for approval.
The financial assessment, the public consultation and the case for change (all available online at www.reshapingyourcouncils.uk) provide councillors with a package of robust and independent evidence they can consider.
Each council will now consider the report "Exploring Options for the Future of Local Government in Poole,Bournemouth and Dorset" with meetings taken place during January. These meetings all take place in public.
In Bournemouth, they will take place at the Town Hall on the following dates:
Wednesday 25 January 2017, 10.30am
Tuesday 31st January, 7pm
Following that, and subject to agreement, a proposal will be made to the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, who will make the final decision.
Any new councils would come into being in April 2019.