Burnley Borough Council and Pendle Borough Council have signed a four-year contract for shared legal services with Civica. The new agreement will see both councils implement Civica Legal for Time Recording & Billing, Case Management and Debt Recovery to create one virtual legal team operating on two sites, improve productivity, efficiency and cut costs.

In a bid to reduce duplication and costs, Burnley and Pendle decided to work jointly to share the legal caseloads of the two Councils across the two legal departments. After a competitive tender process they selected Civica’s technology to support the new joint working arrangements. The system will enable the Councils’ legal departments to work together more closely in the future.

The new legal team is using Civica Legal for Time Recording & Billing, Case Management and Debt Recovery to build a library of bespoke standardised documents and workflows. These are linked to a central shared database, which can be accessed virtually wherever a user has internet access. Staff are now able to record, control and subsequently bill time and disbursements incurred, as well as create custom reports which meet all industry standards. The solutions allow the councils to create closely managed businesses processes, which not only meet its specific needs, but enable users to be more accurate, minimise costs and improve the way it utilises staff and fee earners.

As Dave Wilcock, Head of People, Law & Regulation at Burnley Council explains: “Like most councils we’re under increasing pressure to cut costs whilst improving services. As the two legal teams have a history of working together informally, joining forces to create a single virtual legal team and sharing improved IT services was the logical next step. By rethinking the way we work and investing in Civica’s solutions we’ve managed to improve our internal processes, cut costs, improve the resilience of our legal service teams and create opportunities for further service transformation in the future.

Jeff Hewitt, Managing Director, Legal, Civica continues: “We’re seeing a growing number of local authorities deciding to share legal services in an attempt to meet the ever-increasing savings from central government.  By digitising and streamlining administration and processes, a legal team such as Burnley and Pendle’s are better equipped to do so, without reducing service levels. This win follows several of this kind in the North West and marks us as a dominant force in the region.”

Councillor Joe Cooney, Leader of Pendle Council, added: “In this difficult economic climate we’re always looking at ways we can continue to provide services while balancing our books. Having a contract with Civica for shared legal services with Burnley Borough Council will ensure that we can do just that”.