Members of East Dorset District Council have voted to be involved in the debates and decision-making, leading to the potential creation of a new structure for local government for the Dorset area, by taking up seats on a joint committee being set up from September.
The vote to be involved in the debates and decision-making of the potential new structure for local government in Dorset was given at the full council meeting of East Dorset District Council on 10 July.
Cllr Simon Tong, portfolio holder for change and transformation, said: “After a full and detailed debate, East Dorset District Council has voted to take part in cross-county discussions on the future of local government in Dorset.”
Approval was given on the condition that the joint committee comprises of six members from Dorset County Council and two members from each district and borough council, in the proposed new Dorset area, that choose to take up their seats. This means there could be a total of 16 councillors sitting on the committee.
According to East Dorset District Council, the decision to join the committee does not change the vote taken by members in January not to support the Future Dorset proposal. It means that East Dorset councillors are able to influence plans and have voting rights moving forward. Should the Secretary of State announce he is ‘minded to’ support the Future Dorset proposal it would be for councillors to then decide if they wish to review their original decision.
Cllr Tong added, “We voted in January not to be part of the Future Dorset submission and that decision stands. However, members recognise that the interests of East Dorset residents will be best served if our council takes up its seats so that we are able to share in these discussions while we await the decision of the Secretary of State.”
The role of the committee will be to look at things such as council tax harmonisation, the disaggregation of services and budgets for any new authority that might be created.
The recommendation was amended to include reference to the fact that East Dorset reserves the right to explore alternative options whilst sitting on the Dorset area joint committee.