The South London Legal Partnership – the shared legal service between four councils and hosted by Merton – has formally opened for business.
The other members of the partnership are Richmond, Kingston and Sutton councils.
Its creation was agreed in February this year, building on an earlier shared service put in place by Merton and Richmond in 2011.
The arrangements are expected to save £600,000 between the four councils over four years.
The partnership team will be led by Paul Evans, joint monitoring officer for Merton and Richmond. Sutton and Kingston will meanwhile retain their own monitoring officer and corporate lawyer role.
Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton, said: “The success of the Merton and Richmond shared legal service since 2011…. has already proved that joining forces with other boroughs can make a positive difference in providing a quality in-house legal service while making significant financial savings.
“Bringing together the legal expertise of the four boroughs' legal teams to create the South London Legal Partnership means we can provide an even better and cost efficient service. Great news for the council tax payers of south London."
Leader of Kingston Council, Cllr Liz Green said: “This groundbreaking new arrangement gives us access to a strong pool of lawyers, almost four times bigger than we have now. We are stronger together and by sharing our professional expertise we will have an even more efficient and cost-effective service.”