Borough to become first ‘private practice’ council

A London borough is remodelling its legal services department to mirror that of a private sector law firm.

Barking and Dagenham council’s radical shake-up will be a UK first for the sector, and involves recruiting three senior lawyers.

The three partners will provide strategic direction for all legal and governance aspects of Barking’s corporate law and employment; procurement, contracts and property; and safeguarding and partnerships work strands.

Each partner will also have a deputy head of law who will take operational responsibility for managing service delivery.

Barking’s divisional director of legal and democratic services, Nina Clark, said: “In line with our commitment to deliver excellent services, we are pioneering a new structure for our legal practice along the lines of a private practice.

“We are now inviting legal professionals to see justice in a whole new light and to make their own unique contribution to achieving the council’s ambitions.”

The overhaul follows a review of the council’s legal service by management and recruitment consultants Rockpools.

Recruitment for the new roles will be led by Rockpools partner and head of governance Claer Lloyd-Jones, the former legal director at the London Borough of Hackney.

Lloyd-Jones said: “We will be looking for talented legal professionals who have the drive, commitment, and vision to deliver the council’s ambitions.

“They would also need abilities in delivering expert advice at a very high level, political sensitivity and excellent people skills.”