Local Authority Functions

The following table broadly shows the frontline functions of the different types of principal local authorities in Dorset.

This does not include the functions of parish or town councils. In rural Dorset there is a two-tier system of Dorset County Council and various district councils. Bournemouth and Poole are two unitary authorities which provide all the services.

Service / County Council / District Councils / Unitary Authorities
Dorset County Council / Christchurch
East Dorset
North Dorset
West Dorset
Weymouth / Bournemouth
Education / Y / Y
Strategic planning / Y / Y
Transport / Y / Y
Highways / Y / Y
Social services / Y / Y
Libraries / Y / Y
Waste disposal / Y / Y
Housing / Y / Y
Development management / Y / Y
Leisure and recreation / Y / Y
Waste collection / Y / Y
Environmental health / Y / Y
Revenue collection / Y /

Purbeck District Council Services

Department: Central Services

Solicitor to the Council
  • Monitoring Officer for the Council
  • Legal advice and support to the Council and its committees, Councillors and officers
  • Representation of the Council in legal proceedings in the Courts, Tribunals and at Public Inquiries

Legal Unit
  • Legal advice services internally and to town and parish councils
  • Land charges
  • Land holdings
  • Acquisition and disposal of land and maintenance of the land terrier
  • Byelaws

Democratic Services Unit
  • Servicing council and other formal meetings
  • Elections
  • Providing procedural advice to town and parish councils
  • Emergency planning and business continuity
  • Working with partners to reduce crime and disorder including anti-social behaviour

Property and Procurement Unit
  • Contracts and procurement administration
  • Estate management
  • Asset management
  • Caretaking services
  • Management of the council's public car parks

Customer Services Unit
  • Reception and call handling
  • Incoming and outgoing mail
  • Cashier services and banking
  • Banking arrangements

IT Services Unit
  • IT support and development

Department: Chief Executive’s Office

Chief Executive’s Unit
  • Policy advice to the Council
  • Day to day leadership and co-ordination of key strategies
  • Overseeing the Corporate Strategy, budget and effective use of resources
  • Co-ordination of cross-cutting issues including developing joint working with other authorities

HR Unit
  • Terms and Conditions of Service
  • Employee Relations
  • Employment Legislation
  • HR Policies and Procedures
  • Occupational Health
  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Corporate Training
  • Internal Health and Safety

Performance Unit
  • Managing information requests
  • Other information governance issues
  • Consultation
  • Performance monitoring and management
  • Support for service planning
  • Ad hoc corporate projects and tasks

Communications and Graphics Unit
  • Internal and external communication
  • Communication campaigns
  • Emergency planning communications
  • Dealing with the media
  • Producing the council magazine and other publications
  • Marketing and communications support to the Purbeck Sports Centre
  • Graphic design

Dorset Waste Partnership

Waste collection and disposal in Dorset is carried out by the Dorset Waste Partnership which covers all of Dorset except Bournemouth and Poole.

Department: Financial Services

Accountancy Unit
  • Budgets
  • Final accounts.
  • Treasury management.
  • Financial information system.
  • VAT

Payments Unit
  • Payroll.
  • Accounts payable.
  • Insurance.

Debtors Unit
  • Invoicing the Council's customers.
  • Follow up of unpaid debts and monitoring payment plans.

Internal Audit
  • Undertaking audits and reviews of Council services.
  • Advising on control issues.
  • Interpretation of Financial Regulations and Contractual Standing Orders.
  • Undertaking “whistleblowing” and irregularity investigations and fraud prevention activities, including the National Fraud Initiative.
  • Reviewing the internal control framework and reporting to the Audit and Governance Panel.

Revenues and Benefits
  • Revenues (including the administration, billing and collection of Council Tax and National Non Domestic Rates).
  • Benefits (including the administration, assessment and payment of Housing and Council Tax Benefit entitlements).

Department: Planning and Community Services

Planning Policy Unit
  • Local Plan
  • Neighbourhood and parish planning
  • Community planning
  • Sustainability
  • Community engagement

Environmental Design Unit
  • Technical advice to Development Management and Building Control
  • Technical advice to Planning Policy
  • Economic development
  • Trees
  • Flooding and drainage

Natural Heritage and Tourism Unit
  • Natural Heritage
  • Input into the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) management plan and projects
  • Discover Purbeck Information Centre
  • Tourism development

Development Management Unit
  • Processing planning applications (except mineral extractions and waste disposal which are dealt with by Dorset County Council)
  • Planning enforcement
  • Building Regulations
  • Street naming and numbering

Purbeck Sports Centre

Purbeck Sports Centre
  • Provide a wide range of safe and affordable sport, leisure and health lifestyle opportunities for all sections of the community.
  • Operate within the management agreement between Dorset County Council, the Purbeck School and Purbeck District Council.

Public Health and Housing Services

Public Health Unit
  • Public health nuisances and pollution control (eg noise, smoke, odour, drainage and pest control advice and enforcement).
  • Health and safety at work.
  • Food safety (advice, enforcement and training courses).
  • Infectious disease control.
  • Private drinking water supplies, bathing and recreational water quality.
  • High hedges.
  • Licensing.

Housing Unit (note the Council does not have any housing stock)
Housing Needs:
  • Housing advice.
  • Homelessness prevention.
  • Homelessness investigations.
  • Administration of the Housing Register.
  • Choice Based Lettings.
Enabling and Strategy:
  • Working with registered providers and others to support the provision of new affordable housing.
  • Undertaking parish based housing needs surveys.
  • Policy and strategy development.

Environment & Health Unit
  • Environmental issues eg air quality, contaminated land, radiation (including radon)
  • Grounds maintenance, grass cutting of some verges, fly tipping and illegal dumping of waste.
  • Dog warden service dealing with strays and promotion of responsible dog ownership.
  • Non health licensing including premises (alcohol) licences, taxis and boat licences.
  • Private sector housing includinginvestigation of disrepair, alleged illegal evictions and bringing empty homes back into use
  • Promoting energy efficiency in the housing stock, providing support and advice to private landlords.
  • Monitoring standards in houses in multiple occupation.
  • Licensing residential park home sites.
  • Disabled facilities grants and handy van service.