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London boroughs hunt for senior lawyers ahead of shared legal service in 2014

The London boroughs of Newham and Havering have become the latest local authorities in the capital to pursue a shared service for legal and governance.

Newham is in the process of recruiting a Director of Legal and Governance, a role which will command a salary of up to £120,000.

The successful candidate will initially lead the division at Newham, with a view to becoming director for both boroughs in 2014. They will have monitoring officer responsibilities at Newham.

Havering is meanwhile recruiting a Head of Legal and Democratic Services who will be involved in the management and delivery of the joint services through the design, structure and effective transition stages. Also acting as monitoring officer for the council, the role attracts a salary of up to £100,000.

According to Law Society’s records, there are 19 solicitors at Newham and 14 at Havering.

Chris Pope, Newham’s executive director for resources and commercial development, said: “Sharing services is fast becoming the way forward during this current time of austerity and spending cuts.

“Newham and Havering already has a demonstrable track record in partnership working, particularly in ICT, that has improved services and saved money for both organisations. We would expect similar arrangements in legal and governance to pay the same dividends.” 

The tie-up between the two councils follow a number of similar arrangements between London authorities in the last couple of years.

The first major deal saw Merton and Richmond councils establish a shared team in 2011. This arrangement is due to be expanded to include the teams at Sutton and Kingston from October this year.

Another notable deal saw Southwark and Lambeth Councils set up two joint legal teams in February 2012 to handle litigation and regulatory and prosecutions work and pilot a similar operation for property.

In September 2012 the legal teams at Harrow and Barnet councils merged to create HB Public Law, with a view to saving £4.4m over a five-year period.

For more information on the roles at Newham and Havering, click here and here respectively.