An innovation drive mounted by Surrey County Council in a team-up with East Sussex County Council has been given a £100,000 Government boost.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has awarded the funding boost for the drive being undertaken by emergency services, health organisations and the councils.

The cash boost is aimed at helping the work to transform public services and potentially save millions of pounds.

The £100,000 funding builds on the £750,000 from the Government's Transformation Challenge Award of last year.

Surrey County Council leader David Hodge said: “This is a big vote of confidence in the work we’re already doing together, ranging from improving emergency services to helping young job-seekers and making better use of buildings.”

Coun Hodge said: “The public sector should be seen as one team working together to save taxpayers money wherever possible.

“This funding gives us further opportunities to find new and innovative ways to provide excellent services.

“At the same time, we’ll be preparing a bid for a share of the extra cash the Government is making available, to ensure we stay at the cutting edge of transforming services for the benefit of residents.”

The Government has announced multi-million pound funding nationally for the coming years. The Transformation Challenge Award, announced last October by Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis, was made after Surrey and East Sussex County Councils unveiled their plans to expand shared services as part of closer collaboration across emergency services and the local authorities.

Mr Lewis described their plan as having “the potential to significantly reduce costs and improve outcomes for local residents.”

The joint bid had been submitted to the Government’s Transformation Challenge Award last July.