TALKS could be held to decide whether North Dorset District Council should join Weymouth and Dorchester's council partnership.

Councillors are being asked to approve formal talks to consider the potential for a three council partnership of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council (WPBC), West Dorset District Council (WDDC) and North Dorset District Council (NDDC).

The borough council teaming up with the district council, known as the shared services partnership, has saved £3 million.

One set of staff provides services for both councils, with each authority as an equal partner retaining its own sovereignty, controlling its own budgets and electing its own councillors.

Councillor Mike Goodman, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council spokesman for Corporate Affairs and Continuous Improvement said: “We have to develop new models of local government in response to changes in the way councils are now funded, but also to be positive and seize commercial opportunities that arise in the future.

“A three-council partnership would represent over 230,000 people and half the county area, giving us a more powerful voice in both Dorset and further afield to influence positive outcomes for our residents.”

Leader of West Dorset District Council Robert Gould said: “These are early days but our partnership delivery programme has always included future phases to work with others.

“A three council partnership would allow us to provide services more efficiently, take advantage of economies of scale and work together to become less reliant on Government funding.”

NDDC decided at its meeting of January 31 that talks between the three councils should be pursued