Interim statutory roles
As part of the set up phase of the Shadow Dorset Council, we have been undertaking the recruitment process for interim roles to the statutory posts of Head of Paid Service, Section 151 Officer and Monitoring Officer. These roles are separate to the substantive roles for the new Dorset Council which, although open to the interim appointees, will be filled through a separate process. As interim posts the individuals retain their existing terms and conditions of employment and salary. Following a robust selection process involving the leaders of the six councils, supported by South West Councils, the following recommendations for appointment will be made at Thursday’s ( 7 June 2018) Shadow Council meeting:
Interim Head of Paid Service – Matt Prosser
Interim Section 151 Officer – Jason Vaughan
Interim Monitoring Officer – Jonathan Mair
Matt Prosser is currently the Chief Executive of Dorset Councils Partnership, Jason Vaughan is Strategic Director & Chief Finance Officer for Dorset Councils Partnership and Jonathan Mair is Service Director for Organisational Development, Dorset County Council.
Parliament gives official go ahead to create new Dorset Councils
On Wednesday 23 May 2018, the Parliamentary process to create two new councils in Dorset concluded, with the legislation being passed in both Houses of Parliament.
The two new councils for Dorset, one serving the Dorset Area and one serving the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Area will now start to be formed. The current nine councils will cease to exist on 31 March 2019, with the two new councils coming into effect on 1 April.
The leaders and Chief Executives of the current eight councils who have consented to local government have welcomed the news, and can now really start the process of transitioning to the two new authorities.
The two Joint Committees, which have been meeting since last summer, will now disband to make way for two ‘Shadow Authorities’, one for each of the new council areas.
At the first meeting of each of these two shadow authorities, statutory officers will be appointed on an interim basis. The three roles to be appointed will be head of paid service, monitoring officer and chief finance officer. Members will also need to be elected to various, relevant committees. Each shadow authority will take responsibility for, and oversee the implementation plans for the new councils.
The budgets for the new councils will be set a meeting in early 2019.
The shadow authorities are not involved in ongoing service delivery, as these functions remain with the nine councils that currently exist, and will then transfer to the appropriate new council in April 2019. The focus for staff for the next 11 months is to continue to deliver services between now and then, and to make plans for smooth continuity on day one of the new councils.
The Dorset Council’s Shadow Authority is made of 206 seats, occupied by 174 existing councillors. The first meeting will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday 7 June 2018, at South Walks House in Dorchester.
The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Shadow Authority is made up of 125 seats, occupied by all 120 existing councillors from those areas. Their first meeting will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 6 June 2018, at Bournemouth University.
Committee of councils working collaboratively across Dorset meets for the first time
Leaders and councillors from six of the nine Dorset councils have met to begin cross-council discussions on the future of council services in Dorset.
The Dorset Area Joint Committee (DAJC) is made up of representatives from Dorset County Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
Of the six councils that are represented on the committee, two of them, East Dorset District Council and Purbeck District Council, decided earlier this year not to support the ‘Future Dorset’ proposal which seeks to reduce the nine current councils in Dorset to two unitary authorities.
While they maintain they are not supportive of ‘Future Dorset’, they have agreed that having a place on this joint committee enables them to fully participate in discussions about the future of public services in Dorset.
While all of Dorset’s councils await a decision from central Government on ’Future Dorset’, this joint committee will look to find solutions to the shared challenge that all councils face: to continue to deliver valued public services against a background of declining resources.
During the meeting on Wednesday 20 September 2017, Cllr Rebecca Knox, Leader of Dorset County Council was elected as Chair of the committee, with Cllr Anthony Alford, Leader of West Dorset District Council, elected as Vice-Chair.
After the meeting Cllr Knox said: “Throughout the meeting, I was pleased to see the spirit of joint working from everyone. During our discussions and workshops we have identified some unique and exciting opportunities which I look forward to exploring at future meetings.
“This is an ambitious programme which will require much hard work and commitment from members but if we work together, there is the possibility that we could create some really positive changes which could benefit our residents, partners and businesses of Dorset.”
Prior to this first formal meeting taking place, members of the committee met during the summer and agreed the areas of greatest importance that their collaborative work will be focused on.
Among the agenda items the committee discussed were plans to develop collaborative working arrangements and the future work of the committee.
Full minutes of this meeting, further details about the committee and its planned future meeting dates and agendas can be found at http://www.dorsetareacouncils.wordpress.com