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When does your business need to contact the council?

There will be times your business will need to get in touch with certain council services, either for advice or for certain processes. This will include licensing, planning, health and hygiene, building control, commercial waste and general business support.


The local authority deal with a wide range of different Licences, permits and registrations and the Licensing service can offer help, support and advice on licensing need and requirements, including opportunities for individuals to run a small business via the street trading scheme.

Commercial Waste and Recycling

The DWP cover Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland and can provide information and advice for businesses about how to dispose of commercial waste safely and responsibly.

Business waste can be any materials created through commerce or industry, needing disposal, and can include materials destined for further use.

By recycling, businesses could pay 50% less than sending your waste to landfill, help conserve valuable resources and reduce your carbon footprint.

Business Rates

The local authority Revenues and Benefits service collects business rates on behalf of government but can also offer advice on the various reliefs that are available, such as small business rate relief. Information is also available on the rateable value of your property.

All business properties have a rateable value, which is determined by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an executive agency of the Inland Revenue.  The current property revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2010, the rateable value is representative of the annual rent the property could have been let for on the open market as at 1 April 2008. Revaluations take place every five years.

Find further advice and information on Business rates and rates reliefs.

Advice is also available for those who are either self-employed, or are employed in local businesses and who are on a low income and need help paying their rent or council tax.

Health and hygiene

The local authority Business Regulation and Support service can offer advice on what you need to know when starting or running a food business and the requirements that need to be followed to ensure you comply with the law. They offer specialist knowledge and advice on matters relating to food safety, health and safety and port health.

The service offers advise to those wishing to start or register a new food business, inspections and guidance documentation. All food businesses who supply food direct to the final consumer are rated following their routine food hygiene inspection. Food business operators must ensure all food handlers are supervised, instructed and trained in food hygiene matters as necessary, for help please see the Food hygiene training.

In support of local businesses, the service produces an online newsletter 'Gut Reaction newsletter' for food businesses in Dorset. Gut Reaction is aimed at supplying up to date and topical information to local food businesses on food hygiene, health and safety, health initiatives and waste management, amongst other issues.

Health and safety for businesses

The role of the local authority service is to protect the public health and public safety in our local communities. This involves working with businesses and the public so that their activities do not have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of others.

Protection of the environment

The service aims to proactively protect air quality, land quality and water quality (bathing waters and water supplies), and respond to public health issues and complaints, such as excessive noise, odours, smoke, drainage problems etc. It offers businesses advice about how to contribute and comply with legislation and also respond to complaints from people who suffer problems whilst at work.

Trading standards

Trading standards give expert advice and guidance to Dorset businesses on a wide range of trading standards matters.


You should check whether you need planning permission for your business before you start any development. 

Developments that may need planning permission include:

  • changing the use of premises
  • extending existing premises
  • building new premises
  • working from home

Building Control

Building Control offers technical guidance and advice to businesses in respect of complying with national building regulation standards when undertaking a variety of building works or alterations. The service ensures through an inspection framework that these standards are met.

Economic Development

The Economic Regeneration team can offer support and advice on; starting a new business, finding new business premises, employment and skills, finance opportunities, local business networking, events and workshops for businesses in Dorset. To contact your local Economic Development team visit Economic development

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