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London boroughs explore shared law service

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Merton and Richmond LBCs have agreed to move towards a shared legal service

Helen White, Merton’s current head of legal and civic services, will join Richmond as interim head of legal and electoral services on 1 August with a remit to develop proposals for a fully shared service.

The councils have similar workloads and said the move could save “thousands of pounds in the long term”.

Richard Mellor, Richmond’s head of legal and electoral services, is retiring after 21 years.

Mark Allison (Lab) Merton’s cabinet member for finance said: “Helen’s appointment will give Merton and Richmond six months to look at all the options available, including a shared legal service.

“If all goes well, that would mean we could call on specialist legal expertise from Richmond, and vice versa, rather than having to employ more expensive lawyers elsewhere, which could help both councils make significant savings.”

Richmond’s deputy leader Geoffrey Samuel (Con) said: “In due course it will serve as a model for how we can share other services in the future.”

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