Kent County Council eyes independent legal function

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  • I fear this is a sad reflection of vindictive internal politics at Kent. In a sane authority, the last person to be axed or face a pay cut would be the person that has turned a cost incurring department (Kent's legal team) into a revenue generating one. Yet this is exactly what is being suggested. I suspect that what is happening is that Mr Wild is being punished for having 'stepped out of line' in some way by a cynical, power mad council exec/s punishing him for not towing the line.
    The result? The public sector will lose one of its best and most innovative legal stars to private practice, meaning slightly higher taxes in the county for slightly less achievement. Expect Kent's revenue generating team to transform into one that pays hefty fees for legal work to private practice because it will have lost its best people to them.

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  • To Anonymous | 29-Nov-2010 9:50 am
    Kent CC's executives may be smarter than you think.
    Yes Mr wild has made money for Kent but in a sense job done.
    I highly doubt any staff will move to the private sector.
    In case you hadn't noticed the private sector is sacking lawyers not taking them on.
    Higher taxes don't necessarily follow. Rather Kent may just decide to cut the fat and perhap some of the ridiculous perks and benefits to Council staff!

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  • To Anonymous | 29-Nov-2010 10:26 am
    Staff may not leave for the private sector, but they may leave for other public sector organisations.
    Also, if the legal department stops generating money for the council, how do you suppose the short-fall will be made up if not by council tax? Particularly when money from central government is be drastically cut.

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  • John,
    Why does the shortfall need to be made up by Council tax increases?
    The Council can just make savings elsewhere?
    It is common knowledge that local authorities waste money.
    Some Local Authorities have the fattest managers and heads of service and a lot of them don't do that much.

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  • I think the argument for sharing legal expertise across the public sector is compelling. However there are significant risks in KCC's proposed legal services structure.
    This ABS cannot be guaranteed to win KCC's legal work. KCC will need to follow the procurement rules when out-sourcing all its work. Any attempt to work around the procurement rules will be challenged by external law firms.
    Likewise where KCC legal services wins work it is open to a challenge of State Aid as it is openly competing in against law firms in a recognised market.

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  • I was disappointed to hear the news from Kent County Council as Geoff Wild has clearly done a fantastic job for them. He wrote a paper for the International In-house Counsel Journal last year detailing how he had done it, which can be found at the IICJ library: http://www.iicj.info/iicjlibrary/iicjlibrary_search_form.asp

    It is clear from that article that he had worked hard to turn the department round.

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