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Trowers & Hamlins advises four councils on innovative shared services project

Law firm Trowers & Hamlins has advised Cotswold, Forest of Dean, West Oxfordshire and Cheltenham councils on the implementation of the 2020 Partnership commercial shared service arrangement and their newly formed and jointly owned company, Publica Group (Support) Ltd.

The arrangements are intended to help the local authorities deliver up to £41m savings over the next ten years.

The Trowers team ­– led by partners Amardeep Gill and James Hawkins – advised the councils on scoping options for developing a jointly owned delivery partner which included looking at the company's constitution, member agreements, services contracts and related procurement, contractual, state aid, vires and employment issues.

Trowers said: “As the company will be responsible for delivering nearly all services for three of the councils, careful consideration had to be given to the relevant statutory powers and the governance arrangements to be put in place.

“Each council is entering into bespoke contractual arrangements with the company in order to deliver excellent services to local residents across the region.”

David Neudegg, Managing Director of Publica, said: "The launch of the Publica Group is an innovative and forward thinking approach to address some of the challenges that councils face today.

“Working collaboratively will streamline costs, merge expertise from across the four councils and benefit our communities. The Trowers team helped to simplify this creative process and we are looking forward to making a success of our new Partnership."

Amardeep Gill said: "This is a ground breaking solution to the challenges facing local government today. The councils' sense of vision in delivering a project of this scale can't be underestimated. There were a number of unique commercial solutions put in place to make the project a success, which will deliver real change in service delivery."

James Hawkins, head of Trowers' public sector practice, added: "The project shows how innovative councils are now working together to deliver cost savings whilst maintaining services and jobs and preserving their political independence." 

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