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Cyril Dixon reportsA LEADING team of public sector law consultants has published a report outlining key recommendations for councils involved in the launch of local authority companies.Leonie Cowen & Associates' 25-page document, Local Authority Companies: Key Steps for Success, aims to highlight the main legal issues for councils and methods of tackling them.The consultancy is run by Leonie Cowen, a former high ranking legal officer with Barnet then Camden councils, and a member of the Local Government Residuary Body."There are a large number of administrative and legal features which are common to a wide range of such projects," the paper says.Among the critical areas of local government law which the report considers are:The powers of authorities to form and participate in a company ventureConstraints on ownership;The district auditors' interests in the venture;Laws governing contracts for the new venture;Employment law;The disposal of land and other assetsThe paper concludes: "Successful projects are achievable provided that the local authority and the company's advisers fully recognise the legal and financial duties.""Many of the well-publicised failures came to court because the projects were commercially flawed from the start."For a copy of the paper contact Leonie Cowen & Associates at 30 Kingswood Avenue, Queens Park, London NW6 6LR.
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