West Dorset District Council to end Cabinet-style rule

PUBLISHED: 10:48 10 May 2016 | UPDATED: 11:12 10 May 2016

Cllr Anthony Alford

Cllr Anthony Alford


Electors vote to change the way the authority is run - replacing the executive committee with a new body

There will be some changes to committee structures at West Dorset District Council following a referendum last week into its governance arrangements.

Thge poll, which was triggered under the law by a petition, asked voters ‘How would you like West Dorset District Council to be run?’

A total of 16,534 people voted for the option: ‘By one or more committees made-up of elected councillors. This would be a change from how the council is run now’.

The other option, which attracted 8,811 votes was: ‘By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of other elected councillors. This is how the council is run now.’ The turnout was 32 per cent.

The change to be implemented in May 2017 was outlined at the meeting of West Dorset District Council’s Full Council earlier this year. Details are available at: dorsetforyou.com/referendum-commitees-west

The development of this outline will be carried out in the year ahead and changes to the constitution drawn up. Features include:

A Strategy Committee will replace the Executive Committee. This committee’s size will be decided by the full council, but it could have a larger membership than the current seven

The new strategy committee will also be politically proportionate, which means that seats are allocated in accordance with party size. West Dorset District Council currently has 30 Conservatives and 12 Liberal Democrats.

Councillor Anthony Alford, continues as Leader of West Dorset District Council until tomorow (Thursday May 12) when as usual the annual meeting of council elects its leader for the year ahead.

Councillor Anthony Alford said: “All councillors across our council will continue to work hard for the people of West Dorset whatever committee system is in place. We look forward to continuing to serve our communities.”

He added: “The costs were regrettable, but we received a petition signed by over 6,000 people and under the law that triggered a referendum which required us to give the rest of the 80,000 electorate the democratic right to decide if they wanted the council to have different committee structures. We did all we could to limit costs and saved about £50,000 by holding the vote at the same time as the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.”

In a separate development arising from work together with our colleagues in the Dorset Councils Partnership, certain changes will be considered at West Dorset District Council’s meeting tomorrow to streamline governance arrangements and bring them into alignment with its partners. The changes to the constitution have been drafted and can be implemented immediately. More details are available at: dorsetforyou.com/committees/west

More information about the changes to the committee structure, which were proposed and now have been given the go-ahead, is available here: dorsetforyou.com/referendum-commitees-west

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