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The first appointment has now been agreed for the new unitary authority in Dorset.

Earlier this month, the shadow senior appointments committee had recommended Matt Prosser be appointed as the first chief executive of Dorset Council, which goes live in April 2019. This was put forward and agreed by the full shadow council at its meeting on 27 September.

The appointment follows a national search to identify the best candidate to lead the staff of the new council and a thorough recruitment process which started in early June, overseen by independent advisors.

Matt Prosser has been chief executive of the Dorset Councils Partnership, serving North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland Councils since 2014 and is the interim shadow head of paid service for Dorset Council.

Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council will be the first new local authorities to be formed in the UK for ten years. The county is reducing the number of local authorities from nine to two in order to deliver local services more effectively and efficiently, it says. It expects the move to unitary authorities to protect frontline services, reduce costs and give better value for money. Creating the two authorities should reduce the cost of service delivery by around £108m in the first six years. The council says this will support the sustainable delivery of services.

Matt Prosser, who will take up the position of chief executive designate with immediate effect, said:

‘I’m immensely proud to have been appointed as the first chief executive of the new Dorset Council, having been part of the journey that resulted in the submission to Government for this reorganisation to happen. It’s a huge honour to now see this through and set up the new council and deliver for the residents of Dorset.

‘The challenges that all local councils face means that we need to develop new ways of working to ensure that our frontline services can be sustained and delivered into the future. With less funding from central government, the new Dorset council needs to make sure that it is as efficient as possible and continues to make Dorset a great place to live, work and do business.’

Hilary Cox, chairman of the shadow Dorset Council said: ‘The establishment of Dorset Council has been brought together to give us an exciting opportunity to continue to provide the services needed by our residents for the future.

‘Local Authorities have struggled to make ends meet over recent years so by combining our County Council and the five Districts and Borough we are confident that with a new Chief Executive and from May next year a new Council, the future for Dorset looks bright.’

Rebecca Knox, leader of the shadow Dorset Council said: ‘I am delighted that Matt has been formally appointed as the Chief Executive of the new Dorset Council. I look forward to working with him and am certain that he will continue to deliver this programme of change, which is the most exciting opportunity for local government in Dorset for over 40 years.’

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