A London council is ‘actively exploring’ the possibility of creating a wholly owned alternative business structure to generate income after confirming that it has ‘deleted’ a senior legal post.
The London borough of Lambeth is the second authority in the capital to abolish the post this year.
Lambeth has confirmed that the director of corporate affairs post, which was held by Mark Hynes (pictured), has been ‘deleted’ under a voluntary redundancy scheme. The council said the same scheme had led to the retirement of one paralegal and one business support officer in legal services.
Hynes’ responsibilities have been ‘shared throughout’ senior management. Alison McKane, head of legal services, has taken over the role of the council’s monitoring officer.
The council said: ‘At a time when the council’s core funding has been cut by £56m and around 400 jobs will be lost across the organisation, along with changes and reductions in services we are continuing to look at ways to reduce external legal spend and are actively exploring the development of a Lambeth-owned legal services [alternative business structure] as a means of generating income.
‘A report will be taken to cabinet later this year.’
Earlier this year, the London Borough of Croydon confirmed that the post of borough solicitor and director of legal and democratic services had been ‘deleted by reason of redundancy’.
Last year Hynes told the Gazette that Lambeth Council was hoping to set up a joint ABS with neighbouring borough Southwark. Four months later Hynes said the council was ‘not now progressing any further’ with Southwark.
More than a year after Kent County Council began the procurement process for a commercial partner to form a joint-venture ABS, into which Kent Legal Services staff would transfer, the local authority announced last month that its cabinet had approved plans to develop an ABS on its own.