Suffolk County Council has confirmed it intends to share more services with authorities in neighbouring counties.

An agreement with Norfolk County Council has already been struck, while discussions with councillors in Essex are ongoing, the East Anglian Daily Times reports.

Deborah Cadman, chief executive of Suffolk County Council, said the current austerity programme in the public sector is not "short-term".

As a result, she believes it cannot absorb budget cuts by "salami-slicing services". Instead, it is necessary to make "structural changes", in order to ensure funds are used more effectively and that services are not being duplicated unnecessarily.

Suffolk County Council is looking to slash its budget by nearly £42 million over the next year. As well as sharing services with other local authorities, it is also looking at working more closely with other public sector bodies, including the police and healthcare organisations in the area.

Joanna Bussell, Lead Partner in Winckworth Sherwood’s Local Government team, commented: “Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex County Councils have a proven track record in sharing services and, as a result, delivering significant cost savings whilst protecting front line services.

  "Deborah Cadman, Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council, is absolutely correct to state that the current austerity programme in the public sector is not short term.

  "We have alerted all our local authority clients that cuts will continue to 2020 and beyond.

  "All our local authority clients are rising to the challenge of delivering vital public sector services whilst facing unprecedented budget cuts.

  "Again, as Deborah quite rightly states, the response cannot be piecemeal but needs to be radical.

  "We are currently working with a number of local authorities exploring options for shared services, not only with other local authorities, but also public sector bodies.

  "We are, also, advising on the spinning out of public sector services to newly established public sector mutuals, covering a range of both statutory and non-statutory services.”