Hounslow reshuffle boosts legal team

EIGHT new lawyers are to be recruited because of a

restructuring programme in a local authority legal department.

The additional staff at Hounslow Council in Middlesex are being employed to deal with an increased workload generated by competitive tendering.

Borough solicitor Mike Smith is expanding his team with four senior solicitors, three assistant solicitors and one senior legal assistant.

The newcomers will work on projects associated with corporate services, commercial litigation, housing, property and environment.

The council said last week that the shake-up aimed to "focus on the needs of our customers and enable us to confidently meet the approaching challenge of CCT.

"This is being achieved through a renewed emphasis on specialism and an increase in the number of qualified lawyers we employ."

Hounslow is the third local authority in as many months to announce key changes in its legal set-up in preparation for CCT.

In March, Northumberland County Council announced a new man at the top of its legal services after

promoting senior solicitor Peter Watts.

Watts took over from Henry Warne, who moved to Newcastle to head the city council's administration department, after it was split off from the legal section as part of the CCT drive.

Hounslow's CCT push has also been given a boost by the

installation of a new computer system.