Your Residents Association Newsletter

Community Matters Issue 2 - July 2017

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Local Schools

DCC has been busy updating the school term dates page on Dorset-for-you in response to feedback from parents. They have simplified the information so it is easier to read and understand. You can find details of current and future terms up to 2018, bank holiday information and term dates here

If you're eligible for 30 hours of free child care, you must apply and take your eligibility code to your provider by 31 August 2017 to claim in September. You can only get the funding at the start of each term. If you miss the deadline for the autumn term, you will get the funding at the start of the next (1 January).

If you're already accessing extra hours or plan to in the future, DCC would like to hear from you. DCC say: please take our survey.

Police Use of Force Survey
Dorset Police would like to hear your views on police use of force.
From July 2017, police forces will be required to regularly publish data on their officers’ use of force during duty.

This will include documenting a range of methods used by police, including forms of restraint, handcuffing, use of Taser and deployment of an irritant spray.
This national change in the publication of data will ensure that police are open and accountable to the communities they serve.

It will give you the opportunity to feedback on and challenge this data and gain an insight into the tricky situations police officers face every day.
Ahead of this innovative approach, they would like your views on use of force. The survey will only take a brief time to complete and will give you the opportunity to share your views on this key area of police business that rightly warrants scrutiny.
You can fill out the survey here
Changes at the Fire and Rescue Service
Our local Fire and Rescue Service has a new Chairman – our old friend Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of East Dorset District Council – who has been a member of the Fire Authority for the last 12 years.
Funding for the fire service historically comes from two principal sources: A Central Government grant, and a levy (technical name “a precept”) on the local council tax.

So, for every £100 of Council Tax that you pay each month about £74 goes to DCC, £11 to CBC, £11 to fund the Police, and £4 to the Fire and Rescue Service (similar story in East Dorset; in both Bournemouth and Poole substitute your council for DCC + CBC).
Central Government has been intent upon reducing their contribution whilst at the same time capping how much you the taxpayer must contribute.

A classic financial squeeze that has seen a 17% reduction in fire service funding since 2010, according to the National Audit Office.
Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of East Dorset Council and new Chairman of our Fire and Rescue Service
Speaking about his new role Councillor Spencer Flower said:

I am looking forward to working with the Chief Fire Officer, other members of the Strategic Leadership Team and Authority colleagues to continue delivering a safe, strong and sustainable fire and rescue service for the communities of Bournemouth, Dorset, Poole, Swindon and Wiltshire.”

“The Fire and Rescue Service has dealt extremely well with reductions in Central Government grant settlements since 2010. There has been no reduction in front line fire services provision.”

“Savings have come initially from within the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service and more recently from the economies of scale that result from the combination with the Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. We have harvested savings year on year with more to come. We are in a strong place because we have embraced change.”

What concerns us is the future level of service. DCC has spent more money than it has taken in every year for the last three years and if nothing is done we are likely to see a repeat performance in 2017-18. Similar funding problems are evident in both Bournemouth and Poole.

Here we have a scenario for potential further real terms reductions in the funding of our Fire and Rescue Service. The Service is already aware of the reductions in Central Government that are scheduled for the next two years and is planning accordingly.

We wish Councillor Spencer Flower well as he manages a demanding situation and look forward to hearing from him next year (when Council Tax levels are being set) as to how he managed in 2017-18 and how he sees the service operating in 2018-19
The Need for Change

At their July 2017 Council Meeting CBC Councillors were presented with a progress report dated May 2017 relating to the Corporate Plan 2016-20.

Under the heading “Balanced Medium Term Financial Strategy” they were reminded that East Dorset (EDDC) has a projected budget shortfall of at least £632,000 in 2019-20 and CBC has a projected budget shortfall of at least £213,000 in 2019-20.

These budget gaps are caused primarily by cuts to funding imposed by central government. In 2017-18 EDDC will receive zero revenue support grant and CBC will receive only £8,000. Neither council will receive any grant from 2018-19.
Councillors were informed that the position may deteriorate if funding is directed away from lower tier authorities like CBC and EDDC to address budget pressures within such areas as adult social care in DCC, which spends money on behalf of both EDDC and CBC in these areas.

One reason for looking at EDDC together with CBC is that these two councils already share an administration.

That means there is limited scope for further cost savings within that organisation and Councillors must look in new directions like other
Councils across England that have been forced by the actions of Central Government to become innovative.

Forward-looking authorities are already working towards the complete reinvention of the way in which they operate.

Amongst things progressive councils are investigating is demand management – that is looking to find ways of using early intervention to head off the ever-increasing rise in demand in such things as children’s services and adult social care.

They are generating new income by property investment and other entrepreneurial activity.

They are deploying innovative IT to do things cheaper and interactively with the tax payer. 


Underpinning this movement is reorganisation, joint working and collaboration
For such initiatives to succeed councils must ensure that high calibre officers have common shared objectives combined with scope and authority to act on their own initiative. It means challenging the inertia and conservatism that can be particularly prevalent in local authorities.


It means moving away from the old hierarchical Victorian structures to organisations more suited to modern technology and the skills of both the modern worker and the tax payer. It involves interacting directly with the tax payer using intelligent computer software.

New Working Groups

An organisation that involves Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole Councils called Future Dorset Board has suggested the establishment of two joint committees – one for each of the proposed new unitary areas. 

EDDC and Purbeck have been invited to join the rural “Dorset Area” one whilst CBC has been asked to join the urban “Coastal Area” one, along with Bournemouth and Poole. 

The six Leaders whose councils support the proposal for reorganisation submitted to the Secretary of State established the Future Dorset Board

Before they did that, local government reorganisation had been discussed by all nine Leaders. However, with three councils resolving not to support the proposal (CBC, EDDC, Purbeck), the Future Dorset Board provided a new forum in which to progress work associated with the proposal. 

On our website, you will find a slightly edited version of their proposal or for the full report go to Dorset-for-you.

In summary, the key provisions are as follows.

The proposal recognises that three of the nine councils have decided not to support the submission of a case for the creation of two new councils
It provides them with an opportunity to take stock and consider whether they wish, through participation in a joint committee, to be able to influence the work being undertaken to prepare for any new unitary council.
The preference of the Future Dorset Leaders is that all councils, irrespective of whether they oppose the formation of new councils, should have the opportunity to influence plans being made in anticipation of and in preparation for local government change.

We have previously reported to you that talks between Bournemouth and Poole have been progressing.

For the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area it is proposed that the initial membership of the joint committee should comprise 8 members from Bournemouth Borough Council, 6 members from the Borough of Poole, 2 members from Christchurch Borough Council and 2 members from Dorset County Council (to address the issue of transferring CBC away from DCC). 

The first objectives of the Joint Committee will be to identify and promote collaborative and joint working between Councils. There is no secure future for CBC unless they do this as covered earlier in this newsletter.

Second, to take steps to prepare for the formation of a new Council by transferring the functions, assets and liabilities of Bournemouth, CBC and Poole councils over to the new body. Nothing you will note about Bournemouth “taking over” Christchurch or Christchurch “losing its assets”.
Third, to transfer the relevant functions, assets and liabilities of DCC that relate to Christchurch over to the new council. This will involve negotiation and is obviously very important to residents of Christchurch.

Fourth, to agree a process for council tax harmonisation between Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Evolving to a situation where Council Tax rates are the same for each band of properties right across the new authority from Poole to Christchurch.

Fifth, the preparation of an implementation plan

East Dorset Council has already decided to participate in the Future Dorset initiative.

It is a key element of the plan that if CBC does not agree to re-engage with the Future Dorset proposal, the Joint Committees will still be set up and DCC officers will represent Christchurch residents

Watch this space for future developments
Local Lottery Grant

St Catherine’s Hill contains evidence of man’s activity from the Stone Age to the present day.

The site was used during both World Wars, particularly for training in trench warfare during the First World War.

As we reported last month, the Friends of St Catherine’s Hill have received a £10,000 National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for their project: “History of the Hill, Christchurch Remembered”.  We were pleased to join with other local organizations in supporting the bid.

The project focuses on raising awareness of the use and importance of St Catherine’s Hill during the First World War. A key part of the project will be the delivery of an on-site community ‘History Day’, taking place on Sunday 24th September this year. 

Community Matters is produced and edited by a team of local residents who try to present you with the facts that will both keep you informed and enable you to make up your own mind on local issues
Jumpers and St Catherine's Hill RA






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