Birmingham Council aims for £500K surplus in legal

Birmingham City Council’s legal team is targeting a trading surplus of £500,000 within three years – more than any other local authority’s legal team in the UK.

The surplus is the extra income generated by legal teams after costs from doing legal work for external clients, such as businesses, schools, other local authorities and developers.

Birmingham’s chief legal officer Mirza Ahmad said: “Contributing surplus helps keeps costs down for the city council, and that in turn helps council tax go down for the taxpayer.

“The increase is about focusing on our core business to make sure that we’re cost-competitive, and that where there’s room to generate income, we deliver it.”

Birmingham’s legal team currently records an annual surplus of £320,000, up £305,000 from the £15,000 it recorded when Ahmad took over the role as chief legal officer in 2000.

Ahmad said the team would continue to focus on improving costs and would invest £600,000 over the next few years on the installation and subsequent maintenance of a case management system that will save the team “millions” over its lifetime.

Ahmad added: “I would encourage all local authorities to adopt an internal trading system.”