Buckinghamshire councils to share legal resources on path to unitary

The county and district councils in Buckinghamshire havestarted the processof sharing legal resources from the autumn, part of the first steps to joining up support services for the new Buckinghamshire Council.

Under the plans, the legal team at Wycombe District Council and joint legal service atChiltern and South Bucks District Councils,will provide some key elements of the County Council’s legal worksuch as property, contracts and employment workfromOctober 1.

An in-house team at Buckinghamshire County Council will provide its children’s and adults services legal work, since this is not replicated at district level, until all legal teams transfer to the new unitary council in April 2020.

Officers from all five district and county councils worked together to develop the plans and will put forward proposals for a fully integrated legal service for the new Council in due course.

John Chilver, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said:“I welcome this decision, working with our district colleagues to get on with the business of moving towards the new council. Sharing key elements of our legal work paves the way for fully joining up support services as early as possible and will mean that experienced staff are in place to take on future legal service responsibilities.”

Dominic Barnes, Wycombe District Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Engagement and Strategy, said:“By combining the legal work of our councils during the transition period, this service-led initiative is paving the way towards integrated legal provision in the new unitary council. This is a really positive step which will make the most of the existing talent and expertise across our local councils.”

Howard Mordue, Aylesbury Vale District Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said:“This is a positive first step in starting to look at how we can join up support services locally in Buckinghamshire in the run-up to the formal creation of the new council in 2020.”