MEETING UPDATE: Third Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Joint Committee continues preparations for new Council

The Joint Committee on 15th December considered a paper on the Ward and Election arrangements for the new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.  This will ensure Members are able to fully input to the process ahead of a formal electoral review by the Boundary Commission, scheduled to commence in summer 2018.

Work on Council Tax Harmonisation has continued apace, since the previous Joint Committee on 21st November.  The Joint Committee today (15th December 2017) agreed that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) be assured that a Council Tax Harmonisation strategy is well advanced.  Following its guidance to the Task & Finish Group in November, and having received an update from that Task & Finish Group, As part of this assurance, the Joint Committee agreed to advise DCLG that the Council Tax harmonisation strategy will make sure no Council Taxpayer will see an increase greater than the Government’s current referendum limit and therefore pay no more than they would have done had there been no local government reorganisation, and that harmonisation across all areas will be achieved within ten years and that Council Taxpayers in the Christchurch area see a freeze or reduction in their council tax throughout the harmonisation period.  It was noted that the final recommended model for council tax harmonisation will be considered at the Joint Committee on 15th January.

The Joint Committee also considered a Task and Finish Group’s recommended response to key questions about the Parliamentary Structural Change Orders that are needed to legally create the new council for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

The Joint Committee agreed that the new council should be referred to within the Structural Change Order as the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, that the Shadow Authority would be made up of all 120 existing Members of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole councils. They also agreed that the Committee of the Shadow Authority, that will take responsibility for planning the creation of the new authority including its budget and ensuring all services are delivered on “day one”, but will not have any executive responsibilities in relation to the operation of the existing councils, will be called the Shadow Executive Committee.

The next Joint Committee takes place on 15th January at the Borough of Poole.