NHS trust nets British Gas ace

THE FORMER head of legal at British Gas UK has joined a national health service trust.

John Bundock, ex-head of UK gas business, takes charge of legal work at Calderdale Healthcare NHS Trust.

The move coincides with the near completion of a massive restructuring at British Gas.

Charles Twiss, general director of legal services for the whole of British Gas, says the company has managed to avoid making compulsory redundancies among legal staff. It is understood that the 180-strong team has slimmed down to about 140.

Lawyers, and other legal staff, were forced to re-apply for their jobs when British Gas UK formed five new businesses and disbanded the old regional divisions.

David Ashbourne is now in charge of Transco lawyers, Jon Mortimer heads Public Gas Supply, while Christopher Cornfield is the legal adviser to Business Gas (formerly Contract Trading).

Twiss says legal staff have now been assigned to work under Ashbourne or Mortimer. Some lawyers have been appointed to area offices but will be attached to one or other of the businesses.

“The restructuring is very close to completion,” he says.

A further eight lawyers work under Twiss at the company's corporate legal centre, but the common services unit, headed by Bundock, has now been disbanded. It was set up during the transition period.

The former British Gas lawyer, who was given the option to stay, is secretary to the board of the newly-formed Yorkshire trust.

He will act as the trust's in-house lawyer as well as providing management and executive support.

Bundock says it is seen as “good practice” for trusts to take on a company secretary figure – which should mean an increasing number of opportunities for in-house lawyers.

One of his roles is to oversee the trust's external lawyers who are currently Yorkshire Health Legal Services – an off-shoot of the health authority.