THE future structure of local government in Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset will be considered at a meeting of Borough of Poole's cabinet next Tuesday (Dec 8).

In September it was announced that the leaders of Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch and East Dorset councils wished to jointly explore proposals for a single unitary authority. Later the leaders of all nine Dorset councils agreed to work together to seek agreement on the future of local government.

The report to go before the single-party Conservative cabinet outlines three options for further exploration:

* a single Dorset unitary authority providing services for the whole county

* a new unitary authority for South East Dorset providing services for Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and East Dorset, with a separate arrangement for the rest of Dorset

* no change.

By 2020 it is likely that a total of £82million of government funding will be removed from the nine councils in Dorset, making the current arrangement increasingly difficult to sustain.

Members of cabinet will be asked to recommend to council that it authorises the development of a case for changing the existing structure and to commission work through the Local Government Association to examine the financial implications of the three options on behalf of all nine councils.

Cllr Janet Walton, leader of Borough of Poole said: “Local authorities are being encouraged to come forward with innovative proposals to meet the financial challenge of continued public sector austerity and take advantage of the opportunities for economic growth arising from the Government’s devolution agenda.

“The financial pressures faced by all councils means we must consider ambitious and possibly radical solutions if we are to continue to provide the services our residents expect and deserve.

“The Leaders of all nine councils in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole are committed to working together to explore the options. Should all our respective councils agree to take this work forward then we would look to develop a case for change which best serves the long-term interests of residents and businesses, and preserves the sense of identity and heritage of our local communities that we value so much.”

The recommendation from cabinet will go to full council on December 15.