The London Borough of Lambeth’s in-house legal department is considering forming an alternative business structure to help reduce its £3m annual external legal spend.

Lambeth has to slash costs by 45% but cannot cut the size of its already-stretched legal team, said Mark Hynes (pictured), Lambeth director of governance and chair of Lawyers in Local Government. ‘So we are looking for a second job,’ he said.

The ABS could be formed with its neighbouring borough Southwark or a private firm, and might take the form of a limited company. Hynes hopes to form a new structure in the next 12 months.

‘It would be drawing on a revenue stream that already exists, while reducing external legal spend,’ he said. ‘It is a false economy to rely on external lawyers.’

The council is also considering forming a limited company to provide services to charities and voluntary groups.

The legal team is currently undergoing a ‘soft merger’ with Southwark. But Hynes said merging two busy teams might not yield cost savings in staff efficiencies.