Birmingham ;City Council, the largest local authority in the UK, is set to launch a panel review to revamp its roster of 21 firms.
The move will see a host of national firms competing for the chance to earn a slice of the council’s £5m annual legal spend.
Director of governance Mirza Ahmad is planning to write to firms next month, inviting them to apply for contracts starting in September 2009.
The council currently works with 21 firms on a range of panels, including PFI, employment, civil litigation and major property development.
Ahmad will also make the revamped panel available for the use of other local councils in the region.
He said: “The panels have proved a great success for ;Birmingham ;and other neighbouring West Midlands local authorities.
“We are therefore likely to include the ability for other local authorities to use the next panel as a mechanism to ensure better shared legal services across the sector.”
Birmingham held its last panel review four years ago. “This is the third renewal process,” added Ahmad.
In April 2007, Birmingham City Council’s in-house legal team set itself the target of reaching a trading surplus of £500,000 within three years. The council’s lawyers also work for external clients such as businesses, schools, other local authorities and developers.