COUNCILLORS will be asked to show their support for plans to implement the biggest change to local government in decades.

West Dorset District Council (WDDC) is set to meet on Thursday (Jan 4) to hear an update on the Future Dorset project.

It comes after Secretary of State for communities and local government Sajid Javid said he was minded to approve the plans, which will see WDDC and Dorset County Council, as well as neighbouring councils, combine to form a unitary authority.

Councillors at a meeting of the full council at South Walks House in Dorchester will be asked to recommend the leader of the council, Cllr Anthony Alford, writes to Mr Javid setting out the council’s continued support for the Future Dorset programme.

They are also recommended to instruct the letter sets out concerns over the lack of time for any slippage, and ensuring the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are given enough resources to support the local authority through the process.

Consultation on the plans will continue until Monday, January 8, and after this, the secretary of state is expected to announced his final decision – either to implement the proposals, to amend the plans or to not proceed at all.

If the Future Dorset project goes ahead, the new organisation would be created in April 2019.

A report to go before councillors states: “The secretary of state considers both positive and negative representations so it is critical that councils and partners reiterate their commitment to the proposal during this period.”

A joint committee has been established to help the process of moving towards a unitary authority, and the report adds that a number of ‘task and finish’ groups have recently been created to smooth the way in a number of areas, including bringing council tax into line across the area covered by the unitary authority.

Councillors will be told that council tax harmonisation is ‘a highly technical area, and also a highly political one 

Another task and finish group will oversee the electoral boundary review.