The joint chief executive of South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council says it’s time to “shout more loud and proud about the work we are doing in our communities.”

Andy Bates says sharing resources between the two authorities – which began in 2007 - saves about £6million per year.

A proposed merger of the councils to address further cuts in government funding was thrown out in 2017 when West Devon members voted against it, so the two areas still have separate councillors.

“The delivery should always be better than the story about you but I think that gap now needs to close,” he said.

“We have got a great plan, we need to now get on with delivering it and not be distracted by lots of other things, create a bit of thinking space, prioritise, and build on community development work.”

His comments came following a positive critique by representatives from other local authorities of the West Devon organisation.

The council was scrutinised by nine people during a four-day ‘peer challenge’ review, where outside officers and councillors looked into the finance, leadership, local priorities and outcomes, and the way the council is run.

The Local Government Association expects councils to undergo a review or ‘corporate peer challenge’ every five years to help improve their performance. They have to publish a report along with an action plan within three months.

Mr Bates said he was “proud” of the report.