London set for public sector legal ‘supergroup’

Transport for London (TfL) general counsel Howard Carter has proposed ambitious new plans to create a Greater London Authority (GLA) legal ‘supergroup’.

Carter, who left the GLA in September for his role at TfL, is aiming to combine the legal departments of the GLA, TfL, the London Development Agency (LDA), the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) and the Metropolitan Police.

The move coincides with Thelma Stober, currently the head of the LDA, taking over as head of legal at the GLA.

LDA head of corporate and commercial Mike Lancaster is acting as interim head of legal until a permanent replacement for Stober is found.

Carter’s proposal is in response to Lord Gershon’s report on public sector efficiency, which called on local authorities and other bodies to combine services to prevent duplication and to achieve efficiencies of scale.

Carter’s idea is still at the discussion stage and has not been approved by the other GLA Group bodies.

However, if it goes ahead it could provide a greater tool than ever before with which to secure discounts from panel law firms.

As first reported by The Lawyer (9 October), the LFEPA is also looking for its first head of legal and democratic services following a merger of two previously separate legal and democratic posts.