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Three authorities in Home Counties to explore shared legal service

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Three local authorities in the Home Counties are to hire a consultant to prepare a business case for shared legal services.

Watford Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council and Wycombe District Council hope to have the business case completed by the end of September.

The aim would initially be to provide services jointly with a view to working on a shared service basis from 2013/14.

It is understood that the potential attractions of a shared service including an extension of the range of services offered and improved resilience by providing cover when key staff are absent.

Preparation of the business case is also expected to test whether the arrangement would lead to a reduction in costs.

The three authorities are believed to employ 18 solicitors.

Tricia Taylor, Executive Director at Watford Borough Council said: "The three councils are looking to make savings, increase resilience and continue to improve performance of Legal Services. The next step will be to assess which is the best option to achieve these objectives and we are making this short term appointment to help us assess the service delivery options."

Watford and Three Rivers have already been working on a number of shared services initiatives in areas such as finance, revenues and benefits, ICT and HR.

Local Government Lawyer has revealed a number of potential or completed tie-ups in the last two years. They include:

  1. Wokingham Borough Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
  2. Southampton City Council and Fareham Borough Council
  3. Cannock Chase District Council and Stafford Borough Council
  4. The London boroughs of Haringey and Waltham Forest
  5. The London boroughs of Richmond and Merton
  6. Norfolk Public Law, which involves Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council
  7. A group of authorities in South West Wales including Carmarthenshire County Council and Bridgend County Borough Council
  8. Four district councils in Leicestershire and Warwickshire.

Philip Hoult

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