Joint Legal Service
What is the Joint Legal Service?
Until now, Barnet has employed a team of solicitors to manage its legal affairs. However, in the past few years, Barnet has found that there has not been enough capacity or flexibility within this team to provide all of the advice it has needed. This has been especially true for some specialist areas, such as the advice required for large council schemes such as the Brent Cross Regeneration and Primary Schools Capital Investments Programme. This has meant that the council has had to buy in legal expertise from external firms, which can sometimes be expensive. Alternative options have been investigated and Barnet has now agreed to run a joint legal service with the London Borough of Harrow from September 2012.
How does it work?
Barnet Legal Service staff have transferred to Harrow and the Joint Legal Service is operated by Harrow. The new shared service began in September 2012 and will provide legal advice to both Harrow and Barnet councils.
- savings will be made through entering into a joint legal service with Harrow Council, making savings on accommodation costs and management costs. These savings are projected to be £190,000 over the first three years of the shared service arrangement
- less work will need to be sent to external legal firms
- there is also a possibility of raising income from additional sources, through any excess capacity within the Joint Legal Service being sold to other organisations, thereby reducing the cost of the legal service to the council.
- the Joint Legal Service will be able to offer an improved quality of service through access to a greater range of skills and expertise available within the service.