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Next Steps To Be Discussed In Tri Council Merger

WDDC

10:33am 12th January 2015

Councillors will discuss next steps for the ground-breaking partnership between North Dorset (NDDC), West Dorset (WDDC) and Weymouth and Portland (WPBC) Councils at a Shared Services Committee on 15 January 2015.

The agenda includes a timetable for forming the partnership, consideration of collaboration agreement principles plus approval of proposed pay for a shared chief executive following recommendations by the Local Government Association (LGA).

The collaboration agreement is a binding commitment by the three councils to enter into partnership and needs to be approved by each authority's Full Council - set to meet in February 2015.

It protects the interests of each council, sets out management arrangements, confirms WPBC as the host employer and lays out a mechanism for development of the partnership in the future.

The LGA salary recommendation follows a review into the joint chief executive role, and recognises that this is a unique role for the first partnership of three councils in the country to have one Head of Paid Service for a single workforce.

The report benchmarks against comparable public sector roles and responsibilities and proposes an annual salary of £130,000 - inclusive of allowances and out of hours working.

The councils previously employed three chief executives costing over £300,000 a year and now propose employing a single chief executive on £130,000.

The three councils need a shared  chief executive to receive £600,000 for 2014/15 from the Government's Transformation Challenge Award (TCA).  The councils have also been awarded £1.5million for 2015/16 from the fund.

The shared chief executive will deliver the partnership's business plan, which sees the councils reduce costs by £6 million by 2020.

Together the three councils have 117 councillors who represent a population of 235,000 plus 700 employees and combined annual budgets of around £130million.

In a joint statement Leader of North Dorset District Council Deborah Croney, Leader of West Dorset District Council Leader Anthony Alford and Chairman of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Management Committee Mike Byatt said:

"This promises to be an important year for our councils as we continue to meet funding challenges head-on and transform our services to meet the needs of our communities.

"Sharing one chief executive for three councils instead of employing one each is a good example of how we can work more strategically and reduce costs.

"This shows we are being efficient with our finances and innovative in the way we deal with the challenges facing local government."

NDDC chief executive Liz Goodall has announced her retirement for February 2015 and it is expected that a joint chief executive for the three councils will be announced around that time.

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