The effects of the coalition’s cuts are really beginning take hold in local authority legal departments up and down the country.
According to Local Government Lawyer one in five local authority legal departments are being hit by a 20 per cent reduction in budget. A further two thirds will have their budgets cut by a still substantial 10 per cent.
The consequences of these decreased budgets have meant and no doubt will continue to mean redundancies and heavier workloads. But could this lead to standards slipping?
Heads of legal departments are being forced to change their strategies and many local authorities are looking into saving cash by sharing legal services. But this doesn’t solve the problem of resources being spread too thinly, with potentially damaging consequences.
Some legal heads are even looking at outsourcing work, which surely defeats the object of cutting jobs in the first place.
One thing is certain, the local authority lawyers who remain in situ are facing a period of upheaval and change. With demand for legal advice rising while budgets are declining many will need to adapt to increased responsibilities and longer hours.