local authority finance


The London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark

Sharing Legal Services Provision


lambethThe Assignment

With the aim to reduce service costs the London Boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth have a loose agreement to share their legal services provision. Despite strong financial performance, it was agreed by the Councils that the overall environment of reduced spending and an increase in activity meant that a step change would be needed if future financial targets are to be met.

As such it was agreed that a jointly owned Alternative Business Structure (ABS) should be considered and that consultants should be engaged to consider the possibility and to develop an Outline Business Case (OBC).

An ABS is a relatively new type of law firm which can be owned by non-lawyers and can provide both legal and non-legal services.


 Our Role

Through our ongoing relationship with Grant Thornton, our consultants took the lead to complete the required review and to develop the OBC using the Treasury's Five Case Model approach. Specifically we have:

• Managed senior officers and other key stakeholders;
• Considered the strategic fit of an ABS to the Councils' aims and ambitions;
• Provided a costed appraisal for the potential solution and compared that to the status quo position. This took into account for example, investment requirements, mobilisation and transition costs; potential duplication savings; and savings possible from expanded service provision;
• Considered the pros and cons of an ABS solution whilst identifying key financial, legal and governance risks; and
• Completed a market review to assess the potential market for income generation and potential for further trading of legal services within the immediate local area and more widely.


 Key Outcomes

The key outcome of this work to date is that the Councils are now in possession of the necessary required to take the decision as to whether they should further pursue this delivery option or consider alternative approaches.