Apr 05 2012

Harrow and Barnet Councils to Merge Legal Services

In an innovative move to reduce costs and increase in-house expertise, Harrow and Barnet Councils have agreed to merge their in-house teams of lawyers [Ed: “innovative?” – Merton and Richmond Councils merged their legal services in October 2011].

The two north London councils are to create a shared legal practice from July 2012 following approval by their respective Cabinets last night (Wednesday 4th April). Bringing the lawyers together in Harrow will give both councils a greater depth and range of in-house legal expertise so that less money is spent hiring external lawyers.

Other savings will be achieved through reduced overheads such as case management systems, law libraries and office space. The Councils expect the initiative to meet rising demand for legal services whilst delivering combined savings of an estimated £4.4m over the next five years.

Michael Lockwood, Chief Executive of Harrow Council, said: “To protect the front-line services our residents rely on, we are continually looking at options to reduce our back office costs and find savings that have no impact on residents.

“By linking our legal services with Barnet in an innovative partnership we will be able to deliver savings whilst increasing the range of legal expertise both councils can provide. It is an excellent example of how both councils are working together to manage the difficult situation we face.”

Nick Walkley, Chief Executive of Barnet Council, said: “This innovative move will bring real benefits to both councils, not only financially but through sharing our expertise and examples of best practice.”

Source: Harrow Council

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