A county council legal support service has carried out £150,000 of work for “external public bodies” it has been revealed, as the authority looks to create a new company.
Lincolnshire County Council’s in-house Legal Services Lincolnshire team is a service which is shared between the county and five district councils.
It was created in 2008 and has been trading since 2010. The profits from external work are shared between partners.
Scrutiny councillors tomorrow (Thursday) will check the fine print of the plans to tackle restrictions placed on how it acts in the future.
A report before the authority says: “As partner councils explore different ways of delivering services, especially through companies, LSL must have regard to the regulatory framework governing it and its solicitors.
“Guidance issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority concerning when an in-house team may be required to be licensed as an entity suggests there may be limits to LSL’s ability to continue providing services to our partners when they act through other entities such as companies.
“LSL has identified that the creation of an alternative business structure (ABS) would overcome these regulatory concerns and allow LSL to follow its partners’ work regardless of how they choose to deliver it and to pursue other external work as it arises within a robust regulatory framework.”
Councillors will consider five options, however, the one officers prefer would be to set up the company alongside the existing team “to act for non-partner clients”.
Officers say this would see staff made available for it where necessary, but would secure the existing service and minimise disruption to the existing service.
“The solution is also scalable, forming a basis on which the council could pursue wider trading activity where appropriate,” say officers.
Officers say the plans have support from partner councils.