Croydon Council has become the latest local authority to embrace the concept of shared legal services, with the appointment of four ’open’ legal panels.
Two other councils – the London boroughs of Enfield and Newham – have already signed up to the new panels, which are serviced by a roster of 10 law firms. The panels are also open for other public bodies to join.
The move follows the announcement in February that Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith & Fulham councils would merge their in-house legal departments to save costs.
Croydon’s panels cover four areas; commercial, litigation, housing and property, and conveyancing and sundry debts.
Under the panel’s open framework agreement any other local authority, fire service, police authority or NHS trust in England or Wales can use them to take advantage of bulk cost savings, capped fees and hourly rates for the full range of legal work without needing to go through the full procurement process.
The framework will be trialled for four years, with an option for two extensions of a year each.