Senior staff and CEOs from Hawke's Bay's five councils are meeting to take the first step towards setting up a company allowing shared services across the region.
The initiative was driven by the Hastings district and Napier city councils, with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council recently agreeing to be part of the project.
The Wairoa and Central Hawke's Bay councils were also invited to attend a meeting early next month to establish a Hawke's Bay Local Authority Shared Services company.
Regional council external relations manager Liz Lambert said shared customer service operations would be one area cost savings could be made.
"That's one of the drivers which will gain general efficiencies but we have already identified other areas where we can work together," she said.
"A joint procurement approach between some of the councils has already managed to make savings on bulk buying of insurance and so there is a reasonable saving there."
Other options likely to be proposed following next month's meeting included shared business operations in terms of IT, geographic information systems, consent, document management and rating systems.
"We have some functions that are similar to the other councils and others that aren't. They could run one library system together, for example, whereas we would just be a bystander in that one because we don't have libraries.
"So for us it's the savings around those corporate functions we will be looking at and that's why we've put forward our group manager of corporate services, Paul Drury, who will be the most suitable person to be part of the share services meetings with the councils."
Wairoa Mayor Les Probert said he did not think the move towards a shared services company was in preparation for amalgamation of his council with others: "People keep talking about amalgamation but I think really it's something the local government minister has to decide on.
"We are just starting to talk about it in Wairoa and this may be some step towards it but I feel that sharing services is a completely different thing to amalgamation."
Mr Probert said Wairoa was interested in shared services if it could make a saving for its ratepayers.
The regional council noted the results of a report on Hawke's Bay's regional economic and social performance which said in order for joint services to be successful, there needed to be common business objectives.
It also required common service standards, clear accountability, governance and management rules, and investment framework.