The first local authority to be granted an alternative business structure licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority today announced it has appointed a new head of legal.

Hugh Peart, currently director of legal at HB Public Law, the shared venture between the London boroughs of Harrow and Barnet, will succeed Buckinghamshire County Council's legal chief Anne Davies, who is retiring.

According to Buckinghamshire council, Peart will divide his time between Buckinghamshire and HB, and explore ways in which their legal functions can work more closely together ‘to share expertise, cut duplication and reduce costs’.

Peter Hardy, Buckinghamshire’s cabinet member for finance and resources, said working with Harrow and Barnet would ‘give us additional opportunities for our legal team to generate income from new customers’.

Peart’s appointment to the joint council role will be separate from both companies’ ABS operations, the announcement said.

In August 2014 the SRA awarded the first local authority ABS licence to Buckinghamshire Law Plus, a collaboration between Buckinghamshire County Council and the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire Authority.

A week later HB Public Law became the second local authority shared services venture to be granted an ABS. The business comprises the merged legal teams of Harrow and Barnet councils in London.