Headlines: October 11th, 2010

Public sector organisations across a county have agreed to work together to find savings so front-line services do not bear the brunt of Government cuts. It follows a summit organised by two Norfolk MPs who believe other parts of the country may now take similar action.

The meeting brought together local authorities, the police, NHS trusts, the Broads Authority and the Department for Work and Pensions. After four hours of discussions they agreed to create a panel to find short term savings as well as looking at ways to save money in the future. It will look at services being shared between councils and other bodies to keep down management costs and at the role of the voluntary sector.

The meeting was called by Conservative MP Richard Bacon and Liberal Democrat Normal Lamb who said it provided a chance for Norfolk to take the lead and he expected all counties to hold similar summits in the face of cuts. As well as agreeing to the joint approach the organisations taking part also decided to ask researchers from the University of East Anglia to map whether spending on public services in Norfolk was properly prioritised and to identify any duplication that could be eradicated.

Mr. Lamb said about seven billion pounds a year was spent on public services in the county and fresh thinking could identify ways to make more efficient use of that money.