North Yorkshire County Council has become the latest local authority to set up an alternative business structure (ABS) with the launch of First North Law.
It comes as one of the country’s largest ABSs – Enact Conveyancing – has significantly expanded its presence in Yorkshire, creating 160 new jobs.
First Law North’s managing director is Barry Khan, who is the council’s assistant chief executive for legal and democratic services.
He said: “We believe other private and public bodies, including the voluntary sector, will benefit from having a trusted and extremely competitively priced law firm at their disposal.”
Though the firm offers a wide range of services, Mr Khan focused on its schools expertise. “The creation of this company will allow us to provide our expertise to schools across the country at a very competitive price,” he said.
“We have a long history of working with schools and a significant reputation in the education sector in North Yorkshire, we have dedicated resources targeting the needs of schools and provide a range of flexible packages designed to meet our customers’ requirements.”
The council said the law firm, licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, would support the council’s commercial growth with its expanding portfolio of services offered to external markets, which include initiatives in education, waste disposal, broadband, information governance and auditing and in property.
County councillor David Chance, North Yorkshire’s executive member for legal services, added: “Our launch of First Law North will only serve to increase our competitive edge.
“We intend to use the wide-ranging knowledge and expertise built up over many years by our legal team to offer an excellent commercial service for the benefit of both our customers and taxpayers.
“Our development as an ambitious and commercial council that can generate its own income means we can continue to protect the frontline, deliver top quality services into the next decade and make a difference to people’s lives.”
Meanwhile, Leeds-based Enact Conveyancing – which is licensed by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers – has expanded its presence in Yorkshire by opening an office in Hull, where all the new jobs are being created.
The firm already employs 530 people in Leeds, and had 25 new staff on board when it opened the Hull office last week.
The recruitment programme aims to have all jobs, including legal assistants, team leaders, conveyancers and customer service advisers, filled by the end of the year.
Enact managing director Ben Carroll said: “The city is buoyant following its year as the UK City of Culture and we wanted to be part of the journey in bringing business, investment and new opportunities to Hull as well as tapping into the talent here to establish our new team…
“We needed to expand the business and take on more staff as our popularity amongst mortgage lenders and consumers continues to grow.”