Network support launched

A PIONEERING consultancy has been launched in Bristol to help councils steer through the maze of problems arising from the reorganisation of local government.

The Network support system will offer advice on key legal questions arising out of issues such as competitive tendering, staff transfers and employment contracts.

Legal input for the Bristol-based consultancy is to be spearheaded by law firm Veale Wasborough.

Basil Smith, head of the firm's local government practice and former chief executive of Avon County Council, says that the service is the first of its kind in the UK.

"Network offers a unique opportunity for collaboration between the private sector and local authorities towards a common aim of promoting and strengthening local democracy and service provision," he says.

Veale Wasborough's partners in the project will be the Bristol Business School (part of the University of the West of England), Coopers & Lybrand, and chartered surveyors Donaldsons.

The service will be available nationally. Its organisers are currently meeting council representatives to explain the support being offered.

Mike Broussine, principal lecturer in management development at Bristol Business School, says: "There are many legal questions posed by reorganisation. We aim to answer them for our clients."