COUNCIL chiefs are working on a scheme which will see public services continue to be provided in communities by groups working together and sharing staff, buildings and equipment.
It could lead to one public building providing a range of services previously provided by a job centre, library, health body and children’s or day care centre.
The Dorset Community Offer for Living and Learning comes amid a massive reduction in government funding for public bodies and a drive for organisations to work together to protect services and find new ways to deliver them.
It also comes as Dorset County Council reviews its estate and considers how best to use its buildings in future.
It could mean the authority shares some of its buildings and facilities with partners.
The community offer ‘vision’ is in its early stages and six pioneer project areas have been identified to progress the scheme – in Blandford, Wareham, Ferndown, Weymouth, Portland and Beaminster.
It will be different for each area depending on need, and the first ‘stakeholder’ meeting has already taken place in Beaminster.
The scheme has received a funding boost from the government to the tune of almost £100,000.
It has come from the One Public Estate (OPE) programme to support councils to fund potential land and property initiatives, generate jobs and homes, and create more joined-up public services.
Dorset County Council is leading on the programme.
Cabinet member for Organisational Development and Transformation Cllr Robin Cook said that the Living and Learning programme was well received.
He said: “Being awarded this money by the One Estate programme shows the support that the LGA and the Cabinet office has for our Living and Learning community offer.
“It will enable us to continue the positive work with communities and partner organisations providing joined up services to meet the needs of the county’s residents and delivering savings for the taxpayer.
“Thank you to the staff who put together the bid for this money – well done.”
It is all part of Dorset County Council’s Forward Together programme which aims to transform the way the council works by 2020.
A DCC spokesman said: “It is essential that we focus our efforts and funding on addressing collectively agreed priorities and in ways that complement existing relationships and strengths.
“At the heart of the local offer will be an understanding of what we can do to improve the lives of people.”