Today (23 November 2016) the winter issue of the free paper ‘Your Dorset’ dropped through my letter box. This is the main article. It describes progress so far, the organisation of the consultation, and what is to come. The diagram at the bottom is from the newspaper, and shows all aspects of the consultation:
Thousands of people across Dorset have given their views on the biggest possible changes to our local government for a generation.
Between 30 August and 25 October the Reshaping Your Councils consultation asked local residents, business and groups to have their say about whether to reduce Dorset’s councils from nine to two or to keep them the same.
We wanted to find out what matters most to you and which of the proposed options you felt could best save money and protect local services.
What has happened so far?
Staff and councillors from the nine councils in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole went on the road, visiting dozens of towns and villages. We spoke with thousands of people all over the county.
Everyone had a chance to complete a questionnaire, either online or on paper. A postal survey was sent to 20,000 random households in Dorset by external research company Opinion Research Services (ORS).
And we held workshops to seek the views of groups ranging from the Dorset youth councils to businesses and parish councils.
Dorset’s nine councils will now consider the results of the consultation and the cases for and against change before deciding how to move forwards.
Cllr Robert Gould, Leader of Dorset County Council, said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who took part in the consultation. I am pleased with the level of responses we’ve had.
The opinions that have been collected from members of the public will play a really important part in shaping the decisions that councillors from the nine councils will make in January. We are grateful to everyone who took the time to give us their feedback.”
What happened next?
The completed questionnaires are being analysed by ORS.
On 5 December, all councillors of the nine Dorset councils received a report on the consultation results alongside the financial and business cases for each option. The report is also published at www.reshaping yourcouncils.uk
On 15 December, the council leaders met to see if they could agree to recommend one of the options to their councils. Each of the individual councils will then meet during January to vote on it. If the councils agree to go ahead with one of the options to create two new councils to replace the existing nine, they will submit a proposal to the Government in February.
Find out more about what happens next at the website www.reshaping yourcouncils.uk