Dorset

Dorset council partnership: 'No big job cuts expected'

North Dorset HQ Image copyright Mike Faherty
Image caption Moving staff from the ageing North Dorset District Council offices could save money

The leader of a council merging with others in Dorset, and awarded £1.5m by the government, has said he does not foresee big job losses.

The "tri-council partnership" of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, North Dorset and West Dorset district councils hopes to save £6m by 2020.

West Dorset District Council leader Robert Gould said there were "no plans for large-scale job reductions".

The government funding is to facilitate the cost of the merger.

This includes developing an IT system compatible across the councils.

But Ken Attwooll, assistant branch secretary of the union Unison, said it had been given "little information and detail".

'Inefficient and wasteful'

According to Mr Gould, most savings will come from removing senior management roles.

"All our services will be under review, but it is about working more efficiently and having a single chief executive and management team which will make significant ongoing savings."

The councils are also looking to move from older offices, which they will sell to raise additional capital.

"North Dorset have a very old headquarters in Blandford, which is inefficient and wasteful and an asset that can be used for the regeneration and redevelopment of the local economy," Mr Gould said.

"They will move some of their staff into our headquarters in Dorchester, a modern efficient building.

"Weymouth and Portland have agreed to dispose of their North Quay offices, a prime site on the edge of the harbour which can bring great economic benefits."

In a statement about the merger Unison South West said it recognised the "opportunities it may create" and that "such arrangements may help to secure the long-term viability of the councils".

It said: "Staff have already been hit by significant reductions in the workforce, increased workloads, job evaluation, service reviews, relocations, a lack of pay awards.

"Therefore, managing any future changes without causing further detrimental impacts on the remaining core staff will be critical."

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