The leaders of Christchurch Borough Council and East Dorset District Council have welcomed an intervention by Chris Chope MP with regard to an unsuccessful bid for a Transformation Challenge Award by the Christchurch & East Dorset Partnership.
The Partnership entered a bid to the government to move forward further plans for sharing services between the two councils. However, the bid was unsuccessful.
In a question to Kris Hopkins MP, Communities & Local Government Minister, in the House of Commons, Chris Chope MP said: “Will my hon. friend agree to meet the leaders of Christchurch and East Dorset councils to discuss the work they have done to improve the quality of services for taxpayers by having shared services?
“Would he also be willing to discuss why he rejected their bid for funding under the transformation challenge award when it seemed to satisfy all the criteria for part A of the scheme?”
Kris Hopkins replied: “I would be absolutely delighted to meet my hon. friend’s councils. They have done some exemplary work in sharing services and we want to ensure that we share that excellent work with other authorities through the transformation network so that they can do it, too.
“There were some exceptional bids for the award scheme and we have had to make difficult choices. His councils were unlucky this time, but perhaps in future bidding rounds they might be successful.”
Cllr Ray Nottage, Leader of Christchurch Borough Council, said: “Our two councils were in the forefront of sharing services and we have achieved a lot since we officially started our Partnership four years ago. We were very disappointed not be given a Transformation Challenge Award, particularly as we were encouraged to bid for it, and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with the Minister.”
Cllr Ian Monks, Leader of East Dorset District Council, added: “We still have ambitious plans to take our Partnership forward, however the lack of Transformation Challenge funding means we will now have to be more selective with our plans. We are very grateful to Chris Chope for bringing this matter up with the Minister. It would be good to think that the government still wants to encourage shared services and it will be interesting to see how our future plans can be supported.”