Jobs at risk in council bid to save £6m

Dorset Echo: Three-council partnership bids for transformation funding Three-council partnership bids for transformation funding

COUNCILS in Dorset look set to trim a further £6m from their budgets as they press ahead with a groundbreaking union.

Further job losses have not been ruled out as Weymouth and Portland Borough Council (W&PBC) and West Dorset District Council (WDDC), which have already joined services, press ahead with a merger with Blandford-based North Dorset District Council. It will be the first tri-council partnership in England and Wales, covering half the rural county of Dorset serving more than 235,000 people.

From plans being discussed by the councils, it look as though WDDC HQ in Dorchester will become the hub of operations.

W&PBC and WDDC have already saved £3m a year from their shared services partnership and shed more than 70 jobs. They are looking to make further cuts in light of reduced government grant.

It comes amid concerns that Weymouth is 'losing its identity' in the partnership and plans progress to move staff out of North Quay. Around 100 workers are set to move to Dorchester.

Now more staff from NDDC look set to move to Dorchester.

The three councils are hoping to make fresh savings of £6m over the next five years whilst creating a new senior management makeup.

To progress the project, they want to bid for almost £1.5m from the Transformation Challenge Award fund, set up by the government to help councils change how they work.

The first part of the bid, from NDDC, will propose the three councils share a chief executive and senior management team by next March.

No redundancies have been identified as yet, but it is understood job losses will be made at senior management level.

NDDC's chief executive Liz Goodall has already confirmed she'll be retiring at the end of the financial year.

The second bid from WDDC and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council will propose combining and developing joint services with NDDC.

The NDDC spokesman said savings would also be made in 'back office functions' such as IT, human resources and finance.

He added: “Big savings will be made by moving most of the administrative functions to the new West Dorset District offices in Dorchester.”

It is not known the implications these saving plans will have for Weymouth and West Dorset.

The councils hope the tri-partnership would give them a stronger voice on a larger stage, whilst enabling more flexible arrangements for decision making.

In a joint statement, NDDC Leader Deborah Croney, WDDC Leader Robert Gould and Mike Byatt, W&PBC spokesman for Corporate Affairs and Continuous Improvement, said: “As the challenge intensifies for local authorities to deliver continuous improvement and still better value for money; the partners are discussing joining together to get the very best from one another's achievements and experiences and to find additional ways to add value to communities at less cost.

“The partners believe that together they could provide a better and more flexible range of services, focussed on the needs and priorities of their communities and at less cost to the taxpayer.”

COUNCILLOR Francis Drake, who represents the Melcombe Regis ward for W&PBC said the bid would lead to a win-win situation.

He said: “If you have got one chief executive and one senior manager, look at the money you save. You don't need one in each area.

“If we are out to save money as a council, surely the way forward is to work as a team across different councils.”

But Cllr Paul Kimber said: “It's important the borough doesn't lose its identity in this merger; we have to work to keep that.

“Clearly this partnership has to be considered to make further savings but it's important we protect jobs and services.

“The decisions we make in light of reduced government funding will be crucial.”

A business case will now be worked up for councillors to consider in early autumn. The full bid will be submitted by October.

Comments (14)

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7:16pm Thu 3 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

It may be the first tri-whatever in Britain, but it's not particularly forward thinking, since the most obvious thing to do would have been to merge the district and county councils into one organisation.
Preferably before filling wealth creating land in Dorchester with wealth con suming offices, putting another nail in the coffin of the high street and ensuring that the Charles St retail development will never be viable. Whoever sanctioned that decision is not very commercially astute.
Ironically, its the same smiley fellow we see sitting in the photo above.
It may be the first tri-whatever in Britain, but it's not particularly forward thinking, since the most obvious thing to do would have been to merge the district and county councils into one organisation. Preferably before filling wealth creating land in Dorchester with wealth con suming offices, putting another nail in the coffin of the high street and ensuring that the Charles St retail development will never be viable. Whoever sanctioned that decision is not very commercially astute. Ironically, its the same smiley fellow we see sitting in the photo above. JamesYoung
  • Score: 13

9:00pm Thu 3 Jul 14

N E Juan says...

James, you are quite correct that merging district and county councils would save a fortune. Leicester county council recently commissioned a report (available here http://www.leics.gov
.uk/leics_unitary_ca
se_2014-02-10_vfinal
.pdf) which suggests such a merger would make annual savings of around £30 million without cutting any frontline services - over £1 million would be saved by only having one set of councillors - this may be the reason why Dorset councillors have not commissioned a similar report ...
James, you are quite correct that merging district and county councils would save a fortune. Leicester county council recently commissioned a report (available here http://www.leics.gov .uk/leics_unitary_ca se_2014-02-10_vfinal .pdf) which suggests such a merger would make annual savings of around £30 million without cutting any frontline services - over £1 million would be saved by only having one set of councillors - this may be the reason why Dorset councillors have not commissioned a similar report ... N E Juan
  • Score: 15

9:02pm Thu 3 Jul 14

cj07589 says...

Well said James, completely agree. The cynics saying turkey's don't vote for Christmas makes perfect sense doesn't ?
Well said James, completely agree. The cynics saying turkey's don't vote for Christmas makes perfect sense doesn't ? cj07589
  • Score: 4

9:03pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Fred Kite says...

Found £2million to keep Simons afloat!
Found £2million to keep Simons afloat! Fred Kite
  • Score: 0

9:33pm Thu 3 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

Fred Kite wrote:
Found £2million to keep Simons afloat!
Of course, this would be explained by saying " this came from a different fund". That, i think, is one of the biggest issues the public sector has. Money is neatly divided up into buckets and because your bucket isn't used to fund essential services directly, it's fine to spend everything you have on some vanity project.
[quote][p][bold]Fred Kite[/bold] wrote: Found £2million to keep Simons afloat![/p][/quote]Of course, this would be explained by saying " this came from a different fund". That, i think, is one of the biggest issues the public sector has. Money is neatly divided up into buckets and because your bucket isn't used to fund essential services directly, it's fine to spend everything you have on some vanity project. JamesYoung
  • Score: 1

9:34pm Thu 3 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

N E Juan wrote:
James, you are quite correct that merging district and county councils would save a fortune. Leicester county council recently commissioned a report (available here http://www.leics.gov

.uk/leics_unitary_ca

se_2014-02-10_vfinal

.pdf) which suggests such a merger would make annual savings of around £30 million without cutting any frontline services - over £1 million would be saved by only having one set of councillors - this may be the reason why Dorset councillors have not commissioned a similar report ...
Thanks. I hadn't come across that; it made for an interesting read.
[quote][p][bold]N E Juan[/bold] wrote: James, you are quite correct that merging district and county councils would save a fortune. Leicester county council recently commissioned a report (available here http://www.leics.gov .uk/leics_unitary_ca se_2014-02-10_vfinal .pdf) which suggests such a merger would make annual savings of around £30 million without cutting any frontline services - over £1 million would be saved by only having one set of councillors - this may be the reason why Dorset councillors have not commissioned a similar report ...[/p][/quote]Thanks. I hadn't come across that; it made for an interesting read. JamesYoung
  • Score: 2

10:25pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Tinker2 says...

JamesYoung wrote:
It may be the first tri-whatever in Britain, but it's not particularly forward thinking, since the most obvious thing to do would have been to merge the district and county councils into one organisation. Preferably before filling wealth creating land in Dorchester with wealth con suming offices, putting another nail in the coffin of the high street and ensuring that the Charles St retail development will never be viable. Whoever sanctioned that decision is not very commercially astute. Ironically, its the same smiley fellow we see sitting in the photo above.
Spot on james. This Tri merger is but a half way house, a stop-gap for a while. Long term must spell the creation of a proper Unitary Authority. We pay for services, not over staffed administration.
[quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: It may be the first tri-whatever in Britain, but it's not particularly forward thinking, since the most obvious thing to do would have been to merge the district and county councils into one organisation. Preferably before filling wealth creating land in Dorchester with wealth con suming offices, putting another nail in the coffin of the high street and ensuring that the Charles St retail development will never be viable. Whoever sanctioned that decision is not very commercially astute. Ironically, its the same smiley fellow we see sitting in the photo above.[/p][/quote]Spot on james. This Tri merger is but a half way house, a stop-gap for a while. Long term must spell the creation of a proper Unitary Authority. We pay for services, not over staffed administration. Tinker2
  • Score: 7

6:33am Fri 4 Jul 14

mr commonsense says...

At last sensible comment on this thread.
How can a population of 235,000 sustain 3 councils, 3 sets of Councillors etc? It is just a nonsense in this day and age. Make it one unitary authority and be done with it. What rubbish is said about losing local identity, being cost effective and providing good services is what the taxpayer really wants.
At last sensible comment on this thread. How can a population of 235,000 sustain 3 councils, 3 sets of Councillors etc? It is just a nonsense in this day and age. Make it one unitary authority and be done with it. What rubbish is said about losing local identity, being cost effective and providing good services is what the taxpayer really wants. mr commonsense
  • Score: 11

10:10am Fri 4 Jul 14

Zummerzet Lad says...

Look at the last major shake up when WDDC was formed from different councils and that included Sherborne Urban District Council not forgetting Portland merging with Weymouth. Across the border South Somerset Council was created from many councils and in all of this there still remained the less powerful Town Councils but it kept an identity.

Creating a unitary authority with DCC would not lose individual identity just less powerful councillors at town level.
Look at the last major shake up when WDDC was formed from different councils and that included Sherborne Urban District Council not forgetting Portland merging with Weymouth. Across the border South Somerset Council was created from many councils and in all of this there still remained the less powerful Town Councils but it kept an identity. Creating a unitary authority with DCC would not lose individual identity just less powerful councillors at town level. Zummerzet Lad
  • Score: 2

11:31am Fri 4 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

Zummerzet Lad wrote:
Look at the last major shake up when WDDC was formed from different councils and that included Sherborne Urban District Council not forgetting Portland merging with Weymouth. Across the border South Somerset Council was created from many councils and in all of this there still remained the less powerful Town Councils but it kept an identity.

Creating a unitary authority with DCC would not lose individual identity just less powerful councillors at town level.
Exactly. But if you listen to the various councillor's views of UAs, you'd think they were the end of democorruptcy and the next step is a dictatorship.
I keep looking at my spelling, but it seems right?
[quote][p][bold]Zummerzet Lad[/bold] wrote: Look at the last major shake up when WDDC was formed from different councils and that included Sherborne Urban District Council not forgetting Portland merging with Weymouth. Across the border South Somerset Council was created from many councils and in all of this there still remained the less powerful Town Councils but it kept an identity. Creating a unitary authority with DCC would not lose individual identity just less powerful councillors at town level.[/p][/quote]Exactly. But if you listen to the various councillor's views of UAs, you'd think they were the end of democorruptcy and the next step is a dictatorship. I keep looking at my spelling, but it seems right? JamesYoung
  • Score: 5

11:31am Fri 4 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

Zummerzet Lad wrote:
Look at the last major shake up when WDDC was formed from different councils and that included Sherborne Urban District Council not forgetting Portland merging with Weymouth. Across the border South Somerset Council was created from many councils and in all of this there still remained the less powerful Town Councils but it kept an identity.

Creating a unitary authority with DCC would not lose individual identity just less powerful councillors at town level.
Exactly. But if you listen to the various councillor's views of UAs, you'd think they were the end of democorruptcy and the next step is a dictatorship.
I keep looking at my spelling, but it seems right?
[quote][p][bold]Zummerzet Lad[/bold] wrote: Look at the last major shake up when WDDC was formed from different councils and that included Sherborne Urban District Council not forgetting Portland merging with Weymouth. Across the border South Somerset Council was created from many councils and in all of this there still remained the less powerful Town Councils but it kept an identity. Creating a unitary authority with DCC would not lose individual identity just less powerful councillors at town level.[/p][/quote]Exactly. But if you listen to the various councillor's views of UAs, you'd think they were the end of democorruptcy and the next step is a dictatorship. I keep looking at my spelling, but it seems right? JamesYoung
  • Score: 2

4:13pm Fri 4 Jul 14

weymouthfox says...

Weymouth will be well submerged in a new organisation centred on the Dorchester palace.
Weymouth will be well submerged in a new organisation centred on the Dorchester palace. weymouthfox
  • Score: 1

4:46pm Fri 4 Jul 14

westbaywonder says...

Get rid of all of them!!!
Get rid of all of them!!! westbaywonder
  • Score: -3

5:37pm Fri 4 Jul 14

PETER YELLAND says...

look after the pennies and pounds will look after themselves is well accepted.Companies look at both big and smaller costs as well as bigger items. Labour is a big cost made up of small pockets. Today I saw a council truck standing for a long time off loading bark with 1 man and a wheelbarrow. There was an entrance to the council garden in question and the truck could well have driven onto the area tipped in 2 minutes and finished the work, and gone on for another job. Any contractor would have done this so is there a reason why not in this case?
look after the pennies and pounds will look after themselves is well accepted.Companies look at both big and smaller costs as well as bigger items. Labour is a big cost made up of small pockets. Today I saw a council truck standing for a long time off loading bark with 1 man and a wheelbarrow. There was an entrance to the council garden in question and the truck could well have driven onto the area tipped in 2 minutes and finished the work, and gone on for another job. Any contractor would have done this so is there a reason why not in this case? PETER YELLAND
  • Score: 3
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