COUNCIL lawyers are being targeted by a legal firms network which offers a quality accreditation scheme as part of its membership package.
The programme run by LawGroup UK aims to give councils a quality standard which will give them an edge as they fight for work under competitive tendering.
Surrey-based LawGroup already has more than 80 private sector members and is now turning its attention to local authorities gearing up for re-organisation.
Wiltshire County Council has already joined and the network's representatives are now approaching other local authorities with a view to expanding membership.
Arwyn Lewis, LawGroup's senior practice consultant, says the scheme offers council departments the opportunity to have their operation reviewed by its independent assessors.
"The idea is that they are keeping up with basic procedures and are more commercial in their approach," he says. "This will be of use when they have to work with private firms."
The focus on councils arose from Wiltshire contacting LawGroup 18 months ago. Reviewers have since been advising county solicitor Oliver Holder on how to improve his department.
Holder says: "Although LawGroup UK is primarily geared towards its 80-plus private sector members, it has much to offer to a local authority team.
"The independent professional assessment of the service we provide to the county council is invaluable, and will ensure that we maintain a high standard, and meet all the challenges of CCT."