Girling targets flexible budgets as way forward

Tony Girling this week hinted at the possibility of a shake-up in the way budgets are set at Chancery Lane.

The Law Society presid-ent's aim is to ensure enough money reaches services earmarked as priorities as he believes the current system of fixed budgets for each directorate may be “too inflexible”.

He said: “We need a new approach to ensure resources end up where they are most needed rather than [one department] saying 'We can't do that, we have run out of money'.”

Girling also disclosed that he was in partial agreement with former vice-president Robert Sayer, who has argued for an audit at Chancery Lane by external consultants to come up with ways to prune costs.

“I have no problem with the selected use of consultants,” he said, “but I do not favour wide use of them because it is a very time consuming exercise for staff in the organisation.”

Girling said it was too early to say how Chancery Lane's finances could be overhauled to produce greater efficiency. But he intends to honour his election pledge of a 5 per cent reduction in the overall budget, which last year topped £44 million.

A review of expenditure and costs is being undertaken by Clifford Chance partner Michael Mathews, deputy vice-president.

Girling dismissed fears of a redundancy programme, saying he did not envisage “a cull”. But he added that some job losses could be expected “as in previous years”. He said the most important aspect of staffing was to ensure people were deployed in areas where they were most needed.