Further consolidation of local authority legal services is expected soon as HB Public Law forges ahead with ambitious growth plans.
The business, comprising the merged legal teams of Harrow and Barnet councils in London, was granted an alternative business structure licence in 2014. Since taking over the legal services of the London Borough of Hounslow in June, it now has more than 100 lawyers.
Aylesbury Vale District Council recently announced it plans to delegate its legal services provision to HB Public Law from September for up to five years as part of the local authority’s plans to manage its shrinking budget. HB Public Law already provides an interim service for the district council.
HB Public Law business development manager Linda Walker (pictured) said it was currently in discussions with four other local authorities, with an announcement for its next arrangement expected in October.
Kent County Council, which is seeking a commercial partner to form a joint venture ABS, into which Kent Legal Services staff would transfer, is expected to make a decision on its plans in September.
According to a report from the council leader to the governance audit committee, bidders will produce final tenders to be evaluated this month.
Should the joint-venture ABS go ahead as planned, the council will create a general counsel role that will become the local authority’s senior lawyer and encompass monitoring officer responsibilities and democratic services.
Meanwhile, the London Borough of Lambeth’s plans to set up an ABS suffered a setback after director of corporate affairs Mark Hynes told the Gazette it is ‘not now progressing any further’ with neighbouring borough Southwark.
However, he said the council was ‘still actively considering an ABS’.