Jobs are ‘likely’ to be cut as two councils strive to make more savings.

But councillors were keen to praise the contribution of staff as they seek to bridge a budget gap of over £4million.

It comes as Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council admit staff reductions are ‘likely’ but stressed no decisions have yet been made.

The authorities are launching a review of its services to cope with the financial challenges they will face in the future.

The two councils have already merged workforces with their shared services partnership saving over £3million a year.

However, a report considered by a joint committee from both councils was told today that the two authorities still need to find an estimated £4.1m over the next three years.

As a result the partnership has launched a review of all its services and set out areas where it hopes to find £3.361m of that total.

It will look at alternative ways of delivering some services as well as new streams of potential income.

The details are yet to be fleshed out but the partnership has set a savings target of £761,000 under the heading of business improvement and £552,000 in the economy, leisure and tourism sector.

Other savings proposed include £411,000 in property, engineering and parking; £362,000 in community protection; and £360,000 through its revenue and benefits service.

Members were told the partnership would be working with Dorset County Council and other local authorities during the review to learn from its experiences in transforming services and to ensure there is no duplication.

West Dorset District Council leader Robert Gould described the review programme as ‘a very comprehensive and important programme’ and warned that there was no hiding away from the ‘financial drivers’ that were forcing the two authorities to look at the way they deliver their services.

He added that it was important for members to recognise the work staff had put into the process so far and their continuing efforts. Councillor Gould said: “We need to recognise and note the efforts that have gone onto this process from the staff and their involvement because obviously it has been particularly challenging for them,”

Kate Hindson, director of communities for the shared service partnership, said after the meeting: “As we look to transform and explore ways in which we can deliver services more efficiently over the next three years we anticipate that unfortunately staff reductions are likely.

“However at this stage no decisions have been taken and we will of course consult with affected staff in line with good employment practice.”