Go ahead for two unitary councils for Dorset

Local Government Minister Sajid Javid. Picture SUBMITTED

Local Government Minister Sajid Javid. Picture SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

Local Government Minister Sajid Javid agrees plans to replace the current nine regional authorities

The Government has given the go ahead for plans to create two new unitary councils in Dorset.

Local Government Minister, Sajid Javid, announced today (Monday, February 26) that he will progress his initial ‘minded to’ decision to replace the existing nine regional authorities, including West Dorset District and Dorset County councils.

Each unitary authority will deliver all local government services in its respective areas.

One will cover Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, and the other will serve the rest of the county.

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Subject to legislation, the new councils will come into existence in April 2019.

This change is designed to protect local services, generate further economic growth, reduce costs, and provide more.

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In a joint comment, the nine council leaders said:

“This is an historic day for public services in Dorset. Now we have received this decision, we can collectively focus our efforts, through the established joint committees, on creating two brand new councils.

“This will be a challenge but we will work hard to ensure our communities receive the services they expect and deserve.

“Our strong track record of partnership working in Dorset, whether through shared chief executives and management teams or joint service delivery, demonstrates our ability to put in place creative and innovative ways of working, and shows we will always put the provision and preservation of essential frontline public services and the interests of our residents first.

“This is about so much more than the reorganisation of council structures in Dorset. The opportunity to change the way we provide services will help us save money, give greater accountability to council tax payers and service users, and protect public services for future generations.”

Cllr Rebecca Knox, chairman of the Dorset Area Joint Committee and Leader of Dorset County Council said: “On behalf of the Dorset Joint Committee I am delighted that we have been given this opportunity to create a new council for the heart of the county across Dorset. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remodel local services with our communities and partners to be responsive, innovative and above all else, efficient and effective.

“As a Joint Committee we have already begun the work needed to take this huge step forward to providing better, joined-up services, that make sense for residents across the breadth of the county area. We have a strong financial case and will take this work forward making clear decisions at our meetings, supported by our task and finish groups. We are committed to building on our positive collective work to develop a thriving economy, support and encourage aspirations for our young people and deliver services that make a positive difference to people’s lives.

“We will work with our colleagues in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole to make sure individuals who rely on our services, staff and services are transferred in a seamless and positive way.

“Local Government Reform offers an opportunity to move to shared and collective delivery, with a democratic mandate that can act quickly as we work even more closely with our communities and partners to make sure Dorset is a great place to live and work. The way forward for Dorset will focus on investing in our future, good education, a growing economy and good service delivery. It is what our staff strive to deliver, what our residents need, and why councillors carry out the work they do.”

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