This year has been the year when the promise of local authority alternative business structures (ABSs) finally came good.
In August Buckinghamshire County Council and Milton Keynes Fire Authority’s joint venture was the first local authority body to be granted an ABS licence, followed closely by the London Boroughs of Harrow and Barnet, which merged to form HB Public Law.
The whole point of local authority ABSs in a world where money is increasingly tight is the chance to turn a cost centre into a profit base. As we report this morning, Buckinghamshire council has given its ABS, Buckinghamshire Law Plus, the target of producing £400,000 of profit by its fifth year.
That means head of legal Anne Davies is likely to compete with private practice firms for public sector work in a bid to bring in the cash – although she is not expecting to look for work such as conveyancing.
Business development and marketing will be another key part of the ABS’s work as it continues its efforts to become a profitable business. For local authorities, such moves are likely to become the norm as councils keep trying to plug the funding gap.
Also on TheLawyer.com:
- A Hamburg-based Bird & Bird lawyer, and a former partner from the same office, have been drawn into a corruption trial involving one of their clients
- Herbert Smith Freehills has suffered another departure from its Asian practice, with Tokyo corporate and M&A head James Robinson defecting to Morrison & Foerster
- Our look back at the stories of the year moves into August, when the storm surrounding marketing professionals’ salaries raged on
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