South Norfolk defends shared services council plans

A Norfolk council leader has defended plans to share services with another authority following fears over how the move will hit staff morale.

During a cabinet meeting, John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, was told a possible merger with Great Yarmouth Borough Council would be welcomed by workers like a 'hole in the head' following an 15pc reduction in staff.

But Mr Fuller said the council would 'fall off the cliff' if it did not make moves to share its services and reduce its overheads in reaction to cuts in central government funding.

Although he insisted talks remained at an early stage, he announced that the two councils are looking to put together a business plan into a possible merger alongside an analysis of their similarities and differences.

A report on the progress of the work will be brought before the South Norfolk councillors in February.

The plan so far is to evaluate opportunities for shared services on a service-by-service basis but the preferred outcome is to integrate the officers of the two councils under a single management team.