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Borough to cut reliance upon external counsel for PLO and care proceedings work

The London Borough of Redbridge is aiming to save up to £150,000 by reducing its expenditure on external counsel fees relating to the Public Law Outline and care proceedings.

The council, which currently spends £325,000 a year in this area, said it was proposing that legal advice be provided in-house or via a joint arrangement through a consortium or alternative.

It is also proposed that Redbridge will strategically commission independent social work assessments “reducing the use of one off procurement of consultant social workers who charge premium rates. In addition, focused work is to be undertaken "to develop the preparation of assessments for court to seek to reduce the number of times ISW input is requested".

It is estimated that the latter move will save a further £100,000.

The plans are among 29 measures the council is consulting on in a bid to save £7.3m towards a total target of £14m for 2018/19.

The outcomes of its consultation will be analysed and presented to council on 22 February 2018, after which a decision will be made about the final budget for 2018/19.

Redbridge needs to save £73m over the next five years.

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