Whitehall’s central legal services provider, the Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol), is likely to grow further after the next election and bring more work in-house, outgoing head of the department Paul Jenkins has told the Gazette.
Jenkins (pictured), 59, has held the post of HM procurator-general, Treasury solicitor and head of the Government Legal Service since 2006. When he leaves next month the department will have 1,700 fee-earners, up from 1,000 when he started.
Jenkins began TSol’s shared services programme in 2011, which envisaged centralising government legal work into one department.
The second stage of the programme will be completed by the autumn, when lawyers from the Department of Energy & Climate Change and the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence will join.
Just two departments remain outside the programme, he said: HM Revenue & Customs (apart from the employment team) and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
However, Jenkins said it is likely these departments will join eventually.
‘My best guess is that after the next election, whoever is in power will want to continue and complete the merger of the shared legal service,’ he said.
Although TSol has outsourced some of its personal injury claims handling, Jenkins says it is likely that more work will be brought in-house, such as commercial legal advice.
‘I hope over time we will be able to recruit good-quality people from the private sector so we can do more of that sort of work ourselves,’ he said.
‘One of the potential benefits of a larger organisation is that we will be able to do more work in-house. In general terms, the private sector is so much more expensive than the Government Legal Service.’