Northumberland County Council has sent out hundreds of letters to its staff and councillors to begin discussions on whether to allow more private companies to run its services.
The council has to save another £70m over the next three to four years.
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Dr Jessica McCarrick, a Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology, thinks more should be done to support male victims.
The commendations were awarded in recognition of an outstanding response to a serious house fire in Bishop Auckland in May.