Find our responses to questions we know you've been asking
We issued a perception survey to local residents to find out what you know about Dorset Council and how the changes might affect you. We’ve compiled a number of answers to commonly asked questions that we know you have been asking and answers will be added to as future decisions are made. We've grouped them into topics for you:
Shaping Dorset Council
Q: What is Dorset Council? Has it replaced my local council?
A: From 1 April 2019, Dorset Council is an entirely new organisation and covers the areas previously covered by Dorset County Council (except Christchurch), East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. All of these councils ceased to exist from 1 April 2019.
Q: What are the benefits of creating a new Dorset Council?
A: There are several reasons why we’ve come together as one council:
- to protect important services for residents including bins, housing, road maintenance, schools, and social care
- to reduce costs and give better value for money by cutting duplication
- to give Dorset a stronger voice nationally which will help attract business investment and government funding, and support local economic growth.
Q: Will major projects led by the previous councils continue under Dorset Council?
A: The new councillors, once elected in May, will be responsible for making decisions on major projects across the area.
Services and Council Tax
Q: Have my bin collections changed?
A: Dorset Waste Partnership continue to deliver waste services across the Dorset Council area. Your collection days are the same, and there are no changes to household recycling centres. Dorset Waste Partnership will continue to deliver waste services in Christchurch for an interim period of at least one year from 1 April 2019.
Q: Has there been any change to Council Tax?
A: Councillors approved the first budget for the new Dorset Council. All residents in the new Dorset Council area will pay the same Council Tax rate from 1 April 2019. This is called Council Tax Harmonisation. This avoids residents in one part of the new council area contributing more to the cost of services than others.
Q: Have parking charges and permits changed in my area?
A: Councillors have agreed to keep existing car parking criteria, charges and permits the same from day 1. Similar to other services, this could change after the elections if there is appetite to create a single parking policy for Dorset Council.
Q: Is Dorset Council maintaining previous levels of services or will this change or be reviewed?
A: We have worked hard to make sure that services continue as usual. Once the new council is elected in May, they will be responsible for making decisions about whether there is a need to change how services operate.
Q: When will the first elections to Dorset Council take place?
A: Voters in the Dorset Council area will elect their new councillors on Thursday 2 May 2019. Closer to the time, you’ll be able to find out who is standing in your ward and where your nearest polling station will be.
Q: How do I find out who my councillors are?
A: Until the elections on 2 May 2019, you’ll still be represented by your current district or borough and county councillors. Find out who your current councillors are.
After 2 May 2019, we’ll update the website with the councillors elected to Dorset Council.
Dorset Council will have new electoral ward boundaries. You can find out more about these on the website of The Local Government Boundary Commission for England
Q: How do I register to vote in the Dorset Council elections?
A: You can register to vote at Gov.UK. You only need to register to vote once so you don’t need to register for each election, but you will need to register again if you’ve changed address, name or nationality. You can also use this service to change the way you vote (e.g. in person, by post or by proxy).
You can contact your local Electoral Registration Office to find out if you’re already registered to vote.
You don’t need to update your details on the electoral register as a result of the change in council.
Q: How will decisions about my area be made?
A: Once the new councillors are elected in May, it will be for them to decide how Dorset Council operates, including any arrangements for area based working.
Q: What’s happening to town and parish councils?
A: Town and parish councils haven't been involved in the reorganisation of local government in Dorset and will continue as usual. A new Weymouth Town Council has also been created and they will serve local residents from 1 April 2019.
Some town and parish councils have approached the district and borough councils to request the transfer of some assets to them, such as public toilets or open spaces, before 1 April 2019. To make sure that these transfers were consistent across the area, the Shadow Executive Committee – set up to oversee the organisation – agreed that in general all assets required for the delivery of council services and those capable of generating income will be transferred from the previous councils to Dorset Council. This is because Dorset Council needs to retain this income to provide a wide range of services for the local area.
Q: How can I get involved in shaping the new council?
A: We have set up a new People’s Panel to help residents have their say on council services and plans. There will be different ways you can get involved including online surveys and focus groups.
If you would like to join the People's Panel, please provide your details
Contacting the council
Q: How can I get in touch with Dorset Council?
A: You can contact the council in the same way as you did before – whether that’s online, by phone, email or in person. This website is always the best place to check for the correct details for the service you’re looking for and we keep the site and other information updated with any changes.
Q: Where is my nearest Dorset Council office?
A: You can find us in the same place you would have visited your previous council. These include:
However, if you’re looking for a particular service, it’s best to check our contact details to find out the best way to get in touch.