Public sector

As The Lawyer revealed last week (22 September), the UK’s largest unitary authority Birmingham City Council is reviewing its legal panel of 21 firms.

Director of governance Mirza Ahmad will next month invite existing panel firms to apply for contracts that are set to begin in September 2009 and which taken together account for an annual legal spend of £5m.

Following the Gershon review, Ahmed will make the revamped panel available for use for other local councils in the region.

In the same spirit, Birmingham’s in-house legal team is also available for hire. In April last year it was targeting a trading surplus of £500,000 within three years. This initiative follows in the footsteps of Kent County Council, whose own legal team, KCC Legal, generated more £1m of external income in 2007-08 (The Lawyer, 16 May).

The following Public Sector Special Report, written by the head of KCC Legal, examines the advantages of a career in local government law over one in the public sector.