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Merton and Richmond name successor to White as head of shared legal team

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The London Boroughs of Merton and Richmond have named Paul Evans as their new joint assistant director of corporate governance.

Evans, who was city solicitor and monitoring officer at Liverpool City Council, succeeds Helen White as head of the authorities’ shared legal team. The role will include the duties of monitoring officer for both councils.

At Liverpool, Evans led a two-year programme aimed at improving ethical standards, governance arrangements and political exchanges. “For the first time ever at Liverpool, he delivered a three star assessment from the Audit Commission for governance arrangements which were described as exemplar by the Standards for England,” Richmond and Merton said.

Evans, whose previous roles also include being strategic director of corporate governance at Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, will take up the post at the end of September.

He said: “This is an exciting and challenging time to be in local government and I look forward to being part of a successful legal team and to oversee both councils’ corporate governance. There are clearly questions around how legal services will be structured in the future, and Merton and Richmond are already ahead of the game when it comes to effectively sharing legal services.”

In May this year, White announced her intention to return home to Christchurch in New Zealand at the beginning of October. She has played a key role in setting up the joint service, having been appointed interim head in August 2010.

White said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working for Merton Council and setting up the shared legal service. It is very exciting to see the changes taking shape and the new joint team becoming a reality.

“I am happy to be handing over to someone as experienced as Paul, and am confident that he is the ideal person to lead the newly merged Merton and Richmond legal services team.”

The Merton-Richmond shared service was approved by the Cabinets of the two councils in February this year and was the first of its kind in London.

Philip Hoult

See also: Three local authorities in Home Counties to explore shared legal service