THE LEADER of Devon County Council, John Hart, says it s vital that public bodies in the region work more closely together to share costs and improve services. I would like to see us work more closely together with our colleagues in the district council

THE LEADER of Devon County Council, John Hart, says it's vital that public bodies in the region work more closely together to share costs and improve services.

"I would like to see us work more closely together with our colleagues in the district councils to see if we can share back office functions and reduce some of our costs while maintaining and improving frontline services," he said.

"But we also have a lot in common with the police, the Primary Care Trust and NHS Devon.

"We all need to be working more closely together and I think we are being aimed that way by the Government but also by the restrictions on our budgets."

Mr Hart said in Devon there were already close working links between district councils such as West Devon and South Hams and Teignbridge and Torridge.

"The county and the districts should also work together and share the savings," he said.

"We should work out what we can do together and each take a share of the savings."

Mr Hart said it was very helpful having the leaders of three of Devon's district councils as colleagues on the county council.

The leaders of West Devon, James McInnes, East Devon, Sara Randall Johnson and Teignbridge, Alan Connett, are all county councillors.

Mr McInnes said: "As leader of West Devon, I have been very vocal about the need for shared services with South Hams and I am very keen on sharing back office functions with the county council.

"We can't talk about it any more. We have to get on with it.

"The battle now is for Devon as a whole and we have to make the best use of public money for the residents of the county.