Birmingham Council lands NHS panel spot

Birmingham City ­Council’s legal department has become the latest public sector team to boost its income with external work after landing places on at least three panels of a new NHS legal framework.

In a first round of results from HealthTrust Europe’s review of the London ­Procurement Programme, which provides legal services to around 60 NHS trusts in London, the West Midlands and the South of England, Birmingham’s legal team has scored positions on the framework’s employment, contract and commercial and ’other law’ panels.

The income-generating move comes at a time when local authorities’ legal departments are facing heavily squeezed budgets.

Kent County Council’s legal team was among the first public sector legal teams to win external work alongside private firms, and now acts for more than 300 other public sector bodies.

Commenting on Birmingham’s new NHS work, Kent head of legal Geoff Wild said local authorities had a distinct advantage in panel bids because they could offer services at a fraction of private sector rates.

He added: “Birmingham and the NHS should be congratulated for waking up to the fact that local authorities can be a rich source of high- quality, low-cost legal advice to the wider public sector.

“It’s been difficult in the past for local authority legal teams to penetrate the opaque and complicated NHS procurement frameworks, but this now opens up the way for many more such arrangements.”