A PARTNER at Eversheds has been appointed as the Audit Commission's first head of legal services since the position was split down the middle.

Rod Ainsworth, head of the national law firm's public sector planning and environmental team, takes up the post next month.

Audit chiefs have been looking to appoint someone since they divided the role of adviser to the commission from that of adviser to individual district auditors earlier this year.

While Ainsworth's role will be to offer in-house legal guidance on broad issues, the other legal work remains contracted out. Rowe & Maw is the main firm involved.

The role was split because of the increasing workload on the in-house team. Rowe & Maw took on the departing in-house lawyers, headed by Tony Child, after winning the tender.

Ainsworth trained as a local government solicitor in the early 1980s with the London Borough of Harrow. He later moved to Brent, where he rose to senior solicitor.

He moved into private practice nine years ago as an assistant with Eversheds.