I attended a presentation last night by the Chief Exec and Leader of East Dorset District Council on the changes due to take place before 1st April next year. Representatives from various Town and Parish Council’s across East Dorset were there.
There’s so much to do in a short period of time but the overriding message is that most of the initial ‘work’ will be done on the structure of the Councils rather than changing services. So we may not notice much difference to start with, that will come after the structure is in place.
You may have different Councillors though. There will be a Boundary Review taking place over the summer, so this may mean lines are drawn in different places with potentially fewer Cllrs overall. Currently there are 206 ‘seats’ across all those Councils involved. 2019 was due to see local elections anyway, it may just be that the areas that Cllrs cover differ which may mean unfamiliar names on the ballot papers.
There will also be conversations with Town and Parish Councils on any impacts the changes may have, particularly in relation to community assets.
This is assuming of course that having a new Secretary of State this week, does not change the timetable in place!
The nature of this change in structure of the County and District Councils in Dorset, is unprecedented. Whilst similar changes have taken place, they haven’t been quite the same and certainly not in such a short period of time! I think there’ll be some head scratching this year!