ALL the indications* point to the new Dorset (Unitary) Council having already made the choice to make all major decisions through the discredited, democratically-deficient and, in West Dorset at least, democratically-overturned system of Cabinet governance.

With this system all the most important and significant decisions of the new council will be decided by a handful of elected and selected members of the one party which gets the most seats in the May 2019 local elections.

From my own recent experience of this system, serious and meaningful debate on matters of great consequence to all Dorset residents and council tax payers will be reduced to a few comments from those members who represent the “minority’ or smaller groups and/or parties in the council chamber.

Members representing the “majority” party will be whipped into unwavering support of their Cabinet’s decision – their only function being to raise their hands in support of a decision already made by the few of their number who hold Cabinet portfolios.

This system, which lacks both transparency and openness, was voted out in the public referendum, held in West Dorset in ****. **,000 voters, in this part of rural Dorset, chose the more balanced and truly representative system of committee governance which allowed other members of smaller groups to play their part fully in the all-important decision-making process.

Studies of management practices have shown that better decisions are made by bodies comprising people from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of views.

Are we, once again, going to have to fight for a better system of governance? Will it be necessary to use precious public funds to hold yet another referendum?

Or will the new Council reconsider its choice of governance and make the vital changes necessary for a more representative and democratic body BEFORE the May 2019 elections ?


Dorchester Town Council

*The current use of a Shadow Cabinet and the unbelievable speed with which full Shadow Council meetings are conducted – I understand the last full Shadow Council meeting took just 25 minutes.