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law firm wins new South-West public sector client

3 September 2012

Law firm Browne Jacobson has been appointed by the South West Audit Partnership (SWAP).

The client win comes only weeks after the firm expanded its national reach into the South West with the opening of an office in Exeter.

SWAP was set up in April 2005 by a small number of local authorities in the South West to pool their resources and expertise in providing a cost effective, high quality internal audit service to its partners.

Today the partnership has grown to 22 organisations and includes all the councils of Somerset, three councils in Dorset, one in Gloucestershire, one in Wiltshire and one in Devon as well as Dorset Fire, Dorset Police and Connexions.

The appointment of Browne Jacobson will see the firm advise the partnership on its decision to move to a new governance model. It currently operates as a Joint Committee and is seeking to move to a Limited Company model.

Browne Jacobsons 90-plus strong public sector legal team acts for over 150 local authorities across England and Wales. The firm is rated at one of the countrys leading advisers to the public sector by independent legal directory Chambers.

Partner Richard Medd, who leads the firms public sector corporate advice team, commented:

"We are delighted with the appointment and having an office now in the heart of the South West is a real bonus for us and the client.

"SWAPs current model has served it well since its inception, however as the number of partners involved has grown considerably in recent years its current governance arrangements no longer meets the needs of the partners.

"Limited companies are commonly used by local authorities in setting up joint enterprises as they offer much more flexibility and can be adapted to changing circumstances."

SWAP has also been working closely with Local Partnerships, a joint venture organisation by HM Treasury and the Local Government Association to advise local authorities on how to set up public sector companies.

Robert Hann, Local Partnerships Director, added:

"Local Partnerships have been working with SWAP in this matter and are very pleased to be helping them move to the next step."

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