London councils in redundancy talks as legal tie-up takes shape

The London Boroughs of Merton and Richmond- upon-Thames have entered into redundancy talks with their legal staff as part of the ongoing merger between the two councils’ legal departments.

A spokeswoman for both councils confirmed a wave of redundancies was in progress, but said it was too early to say how many jobs will be lost.

The announcement is part of a wider push by the local authorities to slash legal costs by approximately £100,000 a year and reduce baseline staff budgets by 20 per cent.

The redundancies are expected to be finalised by 3 October, when the newly merged legal team becomes operational. Under the terms of the merger the entire legal function will be based at Merton from the same date.

The two boroughs’ joint legal head Helen White, who has overseen the merger, is also due to leave her post in October.

A committee of councillors from both authorities is due to begin interviewing candidates for her replacement today (5 September).