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London Boroughs Legal Alliance commissions business case on shared services

The London Boroughs Legal Alliance (LBLA) has commissioned a detailed business case on developing shared legal services, it has emerged.

In a statement issued to Local Government Lawyer, the alliance said: “The LBLA has, since its inception in 2008, strived to be at the forefront of innovative collaborative working in order to seek out and take full advantage of opportunities for collaborative procurement and working in order to further reduce legal costs.

“Given the financial situation facing all local authorities the imperative for looking at alternative service delivery models is undeniable and some members of the LBLA, including Camden and Islington, commissioned Kennedy Cater and their associate OMC Partners in late 2013 to take a more detailed look at the opportunities for sharing some legal services and the benefits that this could deliver.”

It added: “Following an interim report, which identified savings opportunities, the LBLA has commissioned further work to be done on a more detailed business case. However no decision has yet been made by any of the members to commit to a shared services model of any description and nor will it be unless the business case in favour has been fully explored and proven.”

According to local press reports in London, leaked documents suggested that the creation of “centres of excellence” or an alternative business structure – with all lawyers working together under one roof – were among the options set out in the initial exercise.

The 12 members of the LBLA are:

  • Brent;
  • Camden;
  • City of London;
  • Ealing;
  • Hackney;
  • Hammersmith & Fulham;
  • Harrow;
  • Hounslow;
  • Islington;
  • Kensington & Chelsea;
  • Waltham Forest;
  • West London Waste Authority.

Harrow already has a shared legal service in the shape of HB Public Law, which was formally launched in May 2013 with the merger of its legal team with the department at Barnet Council.

Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea meanwhile have a Bi-Borough Director of Law.

Last November the LBLA named seven law firms to two lots under a new legal services framework that was estimated to be worth £5m over three years.