I welcome Purbeck District Council’s decision not to enter into a shared services partnership with Christchurch and East Dorset Councils (Daily Echo, 29 November 2013).

However, I was surprised that the Conservative Leader of the Council stated that part of the reason for considering such a move was “not least in order to ensure that the way in which we work in comparison to others is always challenged and that our policies are continually tested for their relevance and robustness against others”.

If this was one of his main objectives, it would have been far better to have engaged the Local Government Association in a peer review of the council where experienced councillors and officers from other councils challenge the way the council works, leading to recommended improvements in the way the council is run and provides services to residents.

This would have saved a considerable amount of officer and councillor time from the three potential partner councils.

23 out of 24 councillors voted against the country’s first three-way shared services partnership, with one councillor abstaining, not because he was in favour of the merger, but because he could not support that part of the Leader’s proposal which related to the possibility of reconsidering the issue again post the 2015 elections.

Having considered and ruled out joining neighbouring councils to the east and west as having no compelling advantages for Purbeck, I see no reason for re-opening this debate in the foreseeable future.


Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group

Purbeck District Council