South Norfolk and Broadland District councils vote for 'historical decision'
Two Norfolk councils have voted to work closer together with hopes to benefit residents and businesses, as well as saving millions of pounds in the process.
The leaders of South Norfolk Council and Broadland District Council have called the move a "historical decision".
At a meeting on Thursday, both councils overwhelmingly agreed to introduce the role of a joint officer team to provide support between the two autonomous councils.
The team's purpose is to create a joint culture between the authorities.
Commenting in a joint statement, South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller and Broadland District Council leader Shaun Vincent, said: "Our shared services partnership will make us more efficient and strengthen our hand when working with partners.
"It will also increase our ability to take advantage of commercial opportunities to deliver better value for our residents.
"Both councils boast hard-working and dedicated staff, producing outcomes that benefit our residents and businesses.
"By working more closely together, these results can only be strengthened."
The two leaders added that the closer collaboration acted as a starting point for faster growth and prosperity.
They said the partnership had the potential to deliver savings of around £8.6 million over the first five years.
However, prior to the decision, the leaders had made clear that financial savings were not a primary factor behind the decision.
They also added that a combined focus by the two councils on driving economic and housing growth, and improving services, would reap benefits for the 260,000 residents and 10,000 businesses in their areas.
Closer working between the councils comes after a feasibility study was commissioned in September.