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Shropshire Council sets up legal company
Thursday 14 June 2012 by Michael Cross
A local authority is to incorporate its own trading company to supply legal and other support services.
Shropshire Council last week endorsed a plan for setting up the new company, to be known as ip&e group Limited, standing for ‘Inspiring Partnerships and Enterprise’.
Earlier this year, Kent County Council’s legal arm, Kent Legal Services, revealed plans to create an alternative business structure in partnership with regional commercial firm Geldards. However, Shropshire Council said it was too early to say whether its venture would be taking the ABS route.
Kim Ryley, chief executive of Shropshire Council, said: ‘We are in the process of putting together a detailed business case on the future provision of legal services, which will examine in depth all available options for decision.’
He said the business case ‘will take into account all legal and technical requirements involved, and this is likely to take several months to complete. We have sought extensive legal advice throughout this process and will continue to do so to ensure a successful outcome for everyone involved.’
Under the plan, the company could offer legal services along with catering, cleaning, finance, personal and IT and become one of Shropshire’s largest employers.
A report for the Conservative-led unitary authority’s cabinet stresses the need for speed in getting the new company up and running. During the process of incorporation, the council's leader will serve as sole shareholder.
Council leader Keith Barrow said: ‘These changes will benefit both current and future staff, and will create new jobs for local people which will be a big boost to Shropshire's economy.’
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