Bucks council and fire service team up for ABS

Buckinghamshire County Council and the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire Authority have announced plans to form an ABS, becoming the latest public sector in-house teams to announce such a collaboration.

The two in-house teams have applied for an ABS licence to operate as Buckinghamshire Law +, which will serve both the council and the fire service as well as offering legal services to other councils, emergency services and charities.

Buckinghamshire County Council head of legal Anne Davies said the ABS would be established as a limited company and would, if approved, create more flexibility and generate income for both authorities.

“It’ll enable us to move with the times and operate in the new business environment in which local authorities have begun to operate,” she said.

Buckinghamshire Law + is expected to be operating by summer 2014.

The two authorities are following in the footsteps of a number of other public sector bodies which are teaming up to launch ABSs and work in innovative ways. Kent County Council was the first to announce such a move (6 December 2010).

More recently, the London Boroughs of Barnet and Harrow became the first councils to apply for an ABS licence (20 November 2013). Lambeth and Southwark councils are also considering an ABS (18 March 2013) and other councils to have combined their legal teams include the London boroughs of Merton, Kingston, Sutton and Richmond (20 February 2013).