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Dorset Council merger set-up could cost an extra £400,000 in temp staff

An additional £400,000 may be required to finalise the creation of one new council as part of a local government shake-up in Dorset.

Costs to set up the new Dorset Council— comprised of Dorset County, East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, Weymouth & Portland, and West Dorset councils after the merger of the local authorities was given the green light in May— were explained to shadow council members on Monday.

Shadow council members were told by the officer in charge of the merger process, Keith Cheeseman, that the extra funds could be needed to pay for additional temporary staff, due to current staff members already being tied up to maintaining services for the current councils.

The LDRS reported that Cheeseman said despite the potential of an increase in costs, the process is at a “very early stage,” and could go down, as well as up.

Cheeseman noted that unless the staff members could be released from their current duties to work on the merger then he may have to hire temporary staff to compensate for this shortfall— and said told the Shadow Dorset Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee that the sum was his “best guess.”

The figure comes following reports that redundancy costs for chief executives displaced by the merger could reach as much as £1m.

The second authority to be created out of the merger is Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole (BCP) Council, who were previously separated borough and district councils. Last month it was announced that former London borough CEO Graham Farrant was appointed as its chief executive.

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Image credit: Chemlamp


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