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Your questions answered

Find our responses to questions we know you've been asking

We issued a perception survey to local residents to find out what you know about Dorset Council and how the changes might affect you. We’ve compiled a number of answers to commonly asked questions that we know you have been asking and answers will be added to as future decisions are made.  We've grouped them into topics for you:

Shaping Dorset Council

Q: What is Dorset Council? Is it replacing my current local council?

A: From 1 April 2019, Dorset Council will be an entirely new organisation and will cover the areas previously covered by Dorset County Council (except Christchurch), East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. All of these councils will cease to exist from 1 April 2019.

Q: What are the benefits of creating Dorset Council?

A. There are several reasons why we’re coming together as one council:

  1. to protect important services for residents including bins, housing, road maintenance, schools, and social care
  2. to reduce costs and give better value for money by cutting duplication
  3. to give Dorset a stronger voice nationally which will help attract business investment and government funding, and support local economic growth.

Q: Will major projects led by the previous councils continue under Dorset Council?

A: The new council, once elected in May, will be responsible for making decisions on major projects across the area.

Services and Council Tax

Q: Will my bin collections change?

A: Dorset Waste Partnership will continue to deliver waste services across the Dorset Council area. Your collection days  will stay the same as they are now, and there are no changes to household recycling centres. Dorset Waste Partnership will also continue to deliver waste services in Christchurch for an interim period of at least one year from 1 April 2019.

Q: Will there be any changes to Council Tax?

A: A report outlining the budget proposals for the new Dorset Councilhas been published, ahead of Shadow Executive Committee on 11 February. Councillors will be asked to approve the budget proposals before going to full council on 20 February for final agreement. This includes information on how the Council Tax is set.

It is proposed for all residents in the new Dorset Council area to pay the same Council Tax rate from 1 April 2019 – the first day of the new unitary authority’s existence. This is called Council Tax Harmonisation. This avoids residents in one part of the new council area contributing more to the cost of services than others.

Council Tax arrangements are being finalised and we’ll be able to share more information at the end of February.

Q: Will parking charges and permits stay the same in my area?

A: Yes, councillors have agreed to keep existing car parking criteria, charges and permits the same for day 1. Similar to other services, this could change after the elections if there is appetite to create a single parking policy for Dorset Council.

Q: Is Dorset Council committed to maintaining current levels of services or will these be reviewed?

A: Teams across the existing councils are working hard to make sure that services continue as usual on Day 1 of Dorset Council. Once the new council is elected in May, they will be responsible for making decisions about whether there is a need to change how services operate.

Democratic process

Q: When will the first elections to Dorset Council take place?

A: Voters in the Dorset Council area will elect their new councillors on Thursday 2 May 2019. Closer to the time, you’ll be able to find out who is standing in your ward and where your nearest polling station will be.

Q: How do I find out who my councillors are?

Until the elections on 2 May 2019, you’ll still be represented by your current district or borough and county councillors. Find out who your current councillors are.

After 2 May 2019, we’ll update the website with the councillors elected to Dorset Council.

Dorset Council will have new electoral ward boundaries. You can find out more about these on the website of The Local Government Boundary Commission for England 

Q: How do I register to vote in the Dorset Council elections?

A: You can register to vote at Gov.UK. You only need to register to vote once so you don’t need to register for each election, but you will need to register again if you’ve changed address, name or nationality. You can also use this service to change the way you vote (e.g. in person, by post or by proxy).

You can contact your local Electoral Registration Office to find out if you’re already registered to vote.

You don’t need to update your details on the electoral register as a result of the change in council.

Q: How will decisions about my area be made?

A: Once the new councillors are elected in May, it will be for them to decide how Dorset Council operates, including any arrangements for area based working.

Q: What’s happening to town and parish councils?

A: Town and parish councils aren’t involved in the reorganisation of local government in Dorset and will continue as usual. A new Weymouth Town Council will also be created on 1 April 2019.

Some town and parish councils have approached the district and borough councils to request the transfer of some assets to them, such as public toilets or open spaces, before 1 April 2019. To make sure that these transfers were consistent across the area, the Shadow Executive Committee – set up to oversee the organisation – agreed that in general all assets required for the delivery of council services and those capable of generating income will be transferred from the previous councils to Dorset Council. This is because Dorset Council needs to retain this income to provide a wide range of services for the local area.

Q: How can I get involved in shaping the new council?

A: We are setting up a new People’s Panel to help residents have their say on council services and plans. There will be different ways you can get involved including online surveys and focus groups.

If you would like to join the People's Panel, please provide your details

Contacting the council

Q: How can I get in touch with Dorset Council?

A: You will be able to contact the council in the same way as you do now – whether that’s online, by phone, email or in person.

This website is always the best place to check for the correct details for the service you’re looking for and we keep the site and other information updated with any changes.

Q: Where is my nearest Dorset Council office?

A: For 1 April, the offices of the previous councils will become Dorset Council offices, so you can find us in the same place you would have visited your previous council. These include:

However, if you’re looking for a particular service, it’s best to check our contact details to find out the best way to get in touch.

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