YOU may not notice much of a difference when you wake up on Monday.

But it will be a brave new world, at least as far as local government in Dorset is concerned.

From April 1, in some cases after centuries of history, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole borough councils will no longer exist.

In their place will arise Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council as part of a county-wide ‘local government reorganisation’ process.

In the rural part of the county Dorset County Council and the second-tier authorities of East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland will all become another unitary – Dorset Council.

Those driving the reorganisation are expecting to save the taxpayer as much as £108 million over the first six years of the new councils’ existence.

One key area for savings will be a reduction in the number of councillors and council employees.

Just last month the 'shadow authority' set up to implement the changes in the conurbation said the reduction from 125 council seats to 76 across the three boroughs would cut the cost of member allowances for next year by £500,000.

This was despite an increase in the level of allowances paid to councillors, especially those in leadership roles.

A reduction in councillors means an alteration to ward boundaries, so some residents may find themselves in a different part of town.

Perhaps the most obvious change for most residents will be an increase in council tax paid, albeit by no more than would be necessary without the merger – according to senior councillors.

BCP Council’s first year gross revenue budget will be £735 million, or roughly £2m per day.

To help meet the rising costs of public services, and compensate for reduced central government funding, council tax will increase by 2.99 per cent in Poole and 2.4 per cent in Bournemouth, with apparently a small reduction in Christchurch.

This will leave Band D council tax at £1,441.53 in Poole, £1,473.40 in Bournemouth and £1,598.30 in Christchurch.

In the short term many council services and functions will remain much the same.

Waste collection services for instance will continue as normal for one year, with Christchurch supplied by Dorset Waste Partnership.

The partnership will also handle street cleaning, commercial waste, garden waste and fly-tipping enforcement.

But after a year a conurbation-wide waste service will be put together.

Council housing will continue to be managed by the council in Bournemouth and by Poole Housing Partnership in Poole, and all three boroughs are to follow their current house-building and development plans, for the time being.

Poole council had planned to dismiss the partnership, likely to facilitate a merger of services, however its retention was demanded by tenants who praised its effectiveness, so future provision is uncertain.

Eventually BCP Council is to put together a unified housing and development plan for the whole conurbation, which has caused concern among some Christchurch and Poole residents, who fear their boroughs will bear the brunt of the drive to meet Government housebuilding targets.

Additionally, BCP Council will have a single planning structure, rather than individual boards for the three towns as some councillors had sought.

New council to bring “increased efficiencies”

Former Land Registry boss Graham Farrant, the new authority's chief executive, said residents would likely not see much difference on April 1, but the changes would nevertheless bring about “increased efficiencies” and improve services.

“Since arriving in the area, I have been immensely impressed by the thorough nature of the programme that is in place to ensure the safe and legal transfer and operation of services from the preceding councils to the new one,” he said.

“Our launch campaign is entitled ‘here for you from day one’, and I have every confidence that we are practising what we preach, that all necessary measures are in place to ensure people continue to receive services in the ways they expect and are used to.

“I have not stopped being excited and inspired by the opportunities that the creation of BCP council brings for our residents and the area.

“The collective expertise that one council this size brings together is huge, bringing with it the prospect of increased efficiencies, scope to improve service provision and change how we work for the better.

“All this means a greater proportion of available budget can be spent protecting and delivering frontline services.

“The reality of these aspirations is closer now than ever before, thanks to the scale and focus that our one exemplar council will have.

“The chance to represent Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole with clout, and be recognised nationally as a single, diversely rich and successful area amongst government and investors continues to be our aim.

“This focus on the ultimate prize will remain a priority and mean our area will continue to thrive and grow in the future.”

The reorganisation began in 2015 in an announcement by the leaders of Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset and Poole councils.

During the process, it was decided that East Dorset would join the new rural unitary authority.

Since the Government gave the go-ahead for local government reorganisation a year ago, work has been under way.

The process has not been without controversy though.

Christchurch council opposed the merger and launched a legal challenge against it last year. It lost its High Court challenge in August and did not appeal the decision.