Cobbetts wins unique four-council instruction

Cobbetts has beaten 27 other firms to the unique position as the preferred legal supplier to four Northern councils.

Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and Stockport Councils have entered into a joint legal services partnership, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK public sector.

Cobbetts will advise the councils across all practice areas, while the councils will pool their expertise and minimise running costs by instructing a single firm.

The appointment was made after Cobbetts submitted a proposal to the councils as one of 28 firms to respond to an advertisement. In total, the councils turn over nearly £1bn and need legal expertise in areas ranging from education to waste disposal.

For particularly specialist areas such as childcare, which Cobbetts does not cover, the councils will look elsewhere.

Ross Griffiths, a Cobbetts public sector partner who has worked on secondment with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s strategic partnership taskforce, said the Government is keen for similar partnerships to be developed. “I think there’s a lot of exciting work to be had out of local authorities, and they can push the boundaries,” he said.

The Cobbetts public sector team already works with a number of public authorities, including NHS trusts and Salford County Council.