Reshaping your councils

Reshaping Your Council – The Results

Reshaping Your Council – The Results

The consultation has been completed and the results have been published. We have put the summarised conclusions below although the Full Document and a bigger Summary Document are available.

Reshaping your councils Overall conclusions

1.63 The outcomes of this exercise are more consistent than is usually the case in complex statutory consultations; and the findings suggest that the restructuring of local government in Dorset is not generally a deeply controversial matter – though there are certainly some strong feelings in some areas.

1.64 Overall, across both the quantitative and deliberative means of consultation, there was clear and even emphatic support for moving to two councils.

1.65 The singular exception to that generalisation is Christchurch where the open questionnaire showed that a majority of respondents opposed reducing to two councils (54%) as well as opposed options 2a (67%), 2b (57%) and 2c (60%). However, in the more representative household survey in Christchurch support for two councils was much higher (63%) and residents also supported option 2b strongly (64%). Moreover, in Christchurch the shift from less positive to more positive views was particularly pronounced in the residents’ workshop, where nearly two-thirds of the participants ended by approving a reduction to two councils. The findings of all means of consultation are important, of course; but in this case the open questionnaire is a less than perfect guide to the balance of general public opinion across Christchurch.

1.66 In general, across all the areas of Dorset, there was an emphatic preference for option 2b as the fairest and most balanced of the three. In contrast, 2a was considered too unbalanced, unfair and unsustainable, whereas 2c was described by many as potentially creating a council that was ‘too small’.

1.67 The alternative options proposed during the consultation are interesting, but the councils will have to decide how practical some of them are; and their very diversity indicates the need to focus on clear and relevant options that will provide the desired efficiencies.

1.68 Despite the general consistency of the positive findings summarised above, the consultation does not mean that the local government in Dorset must be reformed, for the councils may have sound reasons for not proceeding. But equally, the overall balance of opinion expressed through the consultation should not prevent them going ahead if (on the basis of all the available evidence) they are minded to do so. The evidence of the consultation is that there is widespread public support for the restructuring of local government.