THE AUDIT Commission's in-house legal team has left the government quango to join City firm Rowe & Maw.
But the commission's former director of legal services Tony Child, who joins as a partner, will continue in his role advising auditors dealing with councils and health authorities up and down the country.
He and his deputy, Judy Libovitch, have joined as part of the firm's litigation group headed by Andrew Carruthers.
The move follows the commission's decision to outsource its legal advice service for auditors. A spokesman says the former in-house team was so busy advising auditors it did not have sufficient time to advise the commission itself.
"The commission has decided a more flexibly resourced arrangement, capable of meeting peaks in demand, would better meet auditors' needs."
The commission is looking to recruit one in-house lawyer for its own legal work.
Child says he had discussions with a number of firms on hearing the commission's plans and had been impressed with Rowe & Maw's organisation and back-up. Commenting on the move, he says: "As yet it is difficult to notice the difference. Obviously different organisations have their own internal rules and procedures, but we're doing the same work for the same clients."
Carruthers says he is delighted the two former commission lawyers have joined his firm. "They add a new dimension to our practice. We believe we can now offer advice which is second to none on local government and health law."