NWLC Launches Interactive Web Portal

NWLC Launches Interactive Web Portal

The North West Legal Consortium (NWLC) has launched its innovative web portal (designed, implemented and hosted by Tricostar) which is designed to drive efficiencies and promote greater collaboration between local authorities.

NWLC was established in 2006 and is made up of 25 local authorities including a passenger transport executive and police authority.

The consortium, led by Sefton Council, recently completed a pioneering procurement venture which, for the first time, included barristers and solicitors.

Four partner firms, 31 solicitors’ firms and 26 barristers’ chambers were appointed to work across 11 legal panels and 14 barrister panels. Now, in a move to streamline the procurement process, NWLC has launched an interactive portal which will enable local authorities to access legal services online.

The site contains a database of all of the tender rates of panel firms and chambers, and its innovative commission facility will enable local authorities to compare rates, then email law firms or chambers to request quotes including fixed or capped fees.

There is also a link to the websites of panel firms and chambers, and local authorities will be able to instruct their preferred supplier safely and securely online.

Beryl Heath, Contract Development Manager to the NWLC, says that when jobs are completed, local authorities can fill in and file completion notes that will enable the consortium to collate the savings the buyer has made from the discounted tender fees of the panel firms and chambers.

Beryl said: “This is an excellent tool for local authorities who are consistently being asked to generate cash and non-cash savings. The website is an innovative paper-free solution that will better fulfill the requirements of the consortium as well as generate substantial efficiencies and cost savings.”

In addition, the site contains an annual training programme offered by the four partner firms, which will allow local authorities to book legal staff onto training courses and enable attendees to gain CPD points. It will also feature consortium news, documents and details of forthcoming events.

Brian Gibson, Project Manager (Legal) at Sefton Council, said: “The website began life purely as an information tool. However, it has developed into a management information and procurement portal where users can get instant fixed-rate estimates from solicitors and barristers.”

Brian says that the website will not only improve efficiencies but promote greater collaborative working among local authorities.He added: “The portal will become an information hub for authorities. For example, if one local authority has a particular planning problem and receives legal advice, they can then share that advice on the hub which would eliminate the need for potentially 25 public bodies to seek for the same issue, therefore promoting greater collaboration and better working practices.”

Grant funding for the NWLC web portal was provided by the North West Improvement and Efficient Partnership (NWIEP) which is a partnership dedicated to helping local authorities and their partners achieve efficiency and improvement objectives.

The website is designed, implemented and hosted by Tricostar who for the past 22 years have provided a range of shared service solutions to the public sector that are designed to increase revenues, decrease risk and enhance efficiency.

Visit the North West Legal Consortium Website to find out more.