Draft legislation is now online

The draft legislation that will both dissolve the existing councils and create two new unitary authorities is now available to view online:

The Dorset (Structural Changes) (Modification of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007) Regulations 2018; and


These set out the duties of the Shadow Authority, including what must legally be achieved during the ‘shadow period’ – from the passing of statute to 1st April 2019 when the two new councils come into being.

Legal process to create two new councils begins

The parliamentary process to dissolve Dorset’s existing nine councils and create two brand new unitary authorities got underway, on time, today. (Thursday 29th March 2018).

Known as a Structural Change Order (SCO), the legal document that will eventually be approved through both Houses of Parliament has now been officially submitted by the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Cllr Janet Walton, Chair of the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Joint Committee said, “It is excellent news that the Government has presented the SCO today.  This is a significant step in the creation of two new councils for Dorset and marks the first stage in a formal process of scrutiny and debate through the House of Commons and the Lords, before we expect the Order to be in force in early June.”  She continued, “Once the SCO is approved and until the new council exists, a Shadow Authority will meet, made up of all 125 members from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole councils, as well as five members from Dorset County Council.  We expect the first meeting of the Shadow Authority to meet some time in June, within 14 days of the approval of the SCO.” Read more

Sajid Javid’s full statement approving Future Dorset

“My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (Sajid Javid) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

“On 7 November I told the House that I was minded to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the locally-led proposal I had received for improving local government in Dorset, and I invited representations before I took my final decision.

“Having carefully considered all the representations I have received and all the relevant information available to me, I am today announcing that I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, that locally-led proposal to replace the existing nine councils across Dorset – two small unitary councils of Bournemouth and Poole and the two tier structure of Dorset County Council and the district councils of Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset, and Weymouth & Portland by two new councils.

“These new councils are a single unitary council for the areas of Bournemouth, Poole, and that part of the county of Dorset currently comprising the Borough of Christchurch, and a single unitary council for the rest of the current county area.

Read more

Future Dorset Council Leaders give reaction to Secretary of State’s decision

Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, Cllr John Beesley: “I am extremely pleased that the Secretary of State has acknowledged the strength of the case we collectively made for a new structure of local government in Dorset, and approved the plans submitted to him. One council serving the established urban area of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will help to protect essential frontline services, will serve all residents far better than the structures we have today, and will be able to positively & strongly represent the area at a national and strategic level, for the benefit of residents and businesses.

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Final go-ahead given for two new Dorset councils

In an historic moment for public services in Dorset, the government has given the green light to plans to create two new unitary councils in Dorset.

Local Government Minister, Sajid Javid, announced today that he will progress his initial ‘minded to’ decision to create two new unitary authorities in the county, replacing the existing nine councils.

Each authority will deliver all local government services in their respective areas. One will cover Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, and the other will serve the rest of the county. Subject to legislation, the new councils will come into existence in April 2019.

This change will help protect local services, generate further economic growth, reduce costs, and provide more efficient, brand new councils structured around communities.

Read more

Sajid Javid’s reply to Bournemouth’s representations

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid has responded to the Leader of Bournemouth Council in a letter dated 16 January 2018, regarding representations concerning Future Dorset proposals.

In his letter, Mr. Javid stated: “I will carefully consider your representations before I take my final decision on the proposal.”

View a copy of the letter:
16 01 18 Letter from Sajid Javid

Representations to the Secretary of State

All six councils behind the Future Dorset proposal have now made representations to the Secretary of State, reconfirming their support for the proposal, setting out again the strength of the case made and the invalidity of any alternatives, and urging the Secretary of State to make a final decision to approve implementation as soon as possible.

Here are links to each Council’s representation:
Borough of Poole Council
Bournemouth Borough Council
Dorset County Council
North Dorset District Council
West Dorset District Council
Weymouth & Portland Borough Council

Sajid Javid speech praises Future Dorset

Speaking at the County Councils Network earlier this month, Secretary of State Rt Hon Sajid Javid recognised the widespread support for Future Dorset, and reflected on why changes in local government are needed to make it fit better with people’s lives in the 21st century: “I announced that I’m minded to support the plan for […]

Preparing to create two new councils

Two Joint Committees have been set up, based around the two new council areas.  Every Council in Dorset is represented on the Joint Committees, which will take all the key decisions needed locally to create the new councils.  Joint Committee meetings are held in public, and minutes and agendas are published online at the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Joint Committee website, and the Dorset Area Joint Committee website.

Business and other partners’ reactions to the Secretary of State’s announcement

Reaction to Secretary of State announcement:

“A consistent approach to infrastructure and housing planning will make the county more attractive to businesses wanting to relocate. Businesses also clearly see the operating efficiencies that can be achieved with a streamlined approach to the structure and number of local authorities in the county. The DCCI believes that two councils for Dorset will help to facilitate this and welcomes the Secretary of State’s announcement today.” Ian Girling, Chief Executive, Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry

“With our focus on current and future jobs needs, we equip students to get the jobs they want in growing industries. Working with just two councils to facilitate this will make it easier to match skills to our regional industries.” Diane Grannell, Chief Executive, Bournemouth and Poole College of FE

“The Trust Board fully supports the creation of two new unitary councils in Dorset. We have concluded that this proposal is the best way forward. We look forward to working with the new Council structure in Dorset both during the transition and in the new structures going forward, as part of the Dorset Sustainability and Transformation Programme (STP)”. Debbie Fleming, Chief Executive, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

“Dorset’s vibrant county economy has a wide range of sectors, from manufacturing, to production, to service industries. Businesses want strong representation for their area and consistent policies – two councils for Dorset will make this happen.” Anthony Woodhouse, Hall & Woodhouse

“The number of separate local authorities in Dorset at present makes partnership working complex – the unification of services such as housing and social care would improve people’s health and well-being. Therefore, the CCG welcomes the government announcement today.” Tim Goodson, Chief Officer, Dorset CCG

“This proposal will help improve things further by helping to plan the housing needs of the type of people who will live and work in Dorset – young families and first time buyers who want to get on the housing ladder instead of the rental sector.” Mandy Williams, Director of Operational Resilience & Risk, Operations and Delivery, Nationwide Building Society