The specialist press is already getting excited by the two recent judgements in Risk Management Partners Limited v Brent London Borough Council. For those of you that are none the wiser, this stems from the decision from a group of 10 London councils that set up the first new mutual company in over 100 years. It has been going since 1st April 2007 and RMP has challenged Brent's decision on two counts -one contesting the legality of LAML and the second challenging its decision to abort the procurement process. The good news is that the Judge has stated that it is perfectly legal for local authorities to enter into such ventures, provided they invoke the correct legislation.
But while the lawyers up and down the land debate the outcomes and appeals are heard, let's remind ourselves what LAML has achieved. It has helped reduce premiums by about 15% to its clients and introduced real competition into the market for the first time. This is no mean feat. Monopolies and cartels are invariably bad news for consumers whether they are located in the private or public sector. The public sector needs to be smarter in the way it shapes markets and doesn't just accept what the market provides. Sometimes the market needs inspiration, influence and leadership to change. LAML has proved it, Partners in Parking (PiP) has proved it and the London Energy Project is set to follow suit.
While some people are quick to say 'told you so' and others hope that the comfort zone may soon be restored, more and more people are wishing them well. For me it will always be 'hats off to LAML!'