Local Government Lawyer
Editor's blog: Where now for shared services?

The development of shared legal services has come back firmly on the news agenda. This week we report on the decision by two district councils to merge their legal teams from the beginning of October. In last week's newsletter, we covered how Harrow and Barnet will formally implement their deal on 3 September.

The issue is a key element of Local Government Lawyer's 2012 Management Survey, which we have just launched in association with Kennedy Cater. If you are a head of legal, it would be great if you could complete the survey here - it should take no more than 15 minutes. The aim is to get a picture of the latest developments and build on previous research we have conducted since 2009. 

Jobs latest: Merton and Richmond's shared legal service is now looking to recruit two Assistant Property Lawyers to its Business Improvement Team. There are meanwhile only a few days left to apply for the position of Corporate Legal Adviser (salary: £71,564 to £81,763) at the Local Government Association. The closing date is 31 August (noon). Don't miss out!

We are also looking for procurement specialists employed in the public sector to complete a survey we are conducting in association with Bevan Brittan here.


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News headlines

ProjectsLocal authority faces judicial review over gipsy site selection process Claimants argue that process is "fundamentally flawed"

Two authorities in Midlands back shared legal service plan Cabinets approve proposal to merge legal teams from end of September

Supreme Court to hear key case on food labelling and 'use-by' dates Important case for regulatory authorities and food industry

Council agrees £43k payout after delay in providing services to disabled man Ombudsman report finds "significant injustice"

Council takes ICO to Information Rights Tribunal over cameras in taxis Appeal against enforcement notice issued by Information Commissioner in July

Islington set to be in advance guard in implementing late night levy Commitment to introduce levy set out in new licensing policy. Consultation on specific issue to be held once legislation comes into force

DCLG cuts threshold for publishing spend data to £250 New approach expected to apply to councils from the Autumn

Charities and agencies face £1,000 fines under new street fundraising regime Public Fundraising Regulatory Association launches framework after 12-month trial 

Browne Jacobson targets public sector growth with new office in South West Takes 25-strong defendant insurance litigation and employment team from Veitch Penny

High Court rejects bid to halt academy conversion Judge refuses permission to bring judicial review proceedings

Train public in how to resolve anti-social behaviour, says RSA report Call for police to train frontline public servants

Scottish Government to consult on package of procurement reforms

Law Commission consults on reforming "out of date" wildlife law

Police commissioners to be required to swear oath of impartiality

Irwin MItchell becomes largest law firm to net ABS status

See all of our most recent news stories

New articles on Local Government Lawyer

NoonNo turning back?
Julie Prior looks at the lessons to be learned for contracting authorities from a recent High Court case on the timing for bringing a claim during a tender process.

Buildings or structures - the Woolley Chickens case
A High Court ruling over whether mobile poultry units were development under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 is a significant one, writes Martin Goodall.

Attempts to prevent eviction
Following a recent judgment, Andrew Lane, Simon Allison, Dean Underwood and Laura Tweedy discuss the increasing use of public law and Article 8 arguments in attempts to prevent eviction in mandatory possession cases.

What can local authorities do to tackle social care debt?
Caroline Sanders and Jacky Edwards consider the growing issue of escalating debt in respect of unpaid care contributions and consider what local authorities can do about the problem.

Commercial prejudice and redaction
An Upper Tribunal ruling serves as a reminder that organisations seeking to rely on the commercial prejudice exemption under FOIA must be as precise as possible, writes Robin Hopkins.

Partnership is still the key
Andy Woods looks at a couple of recent cases and reminds both the trade and the responsible authorities that the partnership approach remains the key ingredient for promoting the licensing objectives under the Licensing Act 2003.

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4-5 Gray's Inn SquareTop Ten Public Law Cases of the Past 12 Months Richard Clayton QC reviews 10 of the most important public law decisions of the past 12 months, including judgments on community care provision, consultation, legitimate expectation, reasons and the public sector equality duty.

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4-5 Gray's Inn SquareAge Assessments How will the courts determine whether an individual is legally a child or not? This course provides guidance on what evidence should and should not be taken into account when making a decision and outline the procedure by which challenges are brought.

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PannoneManaging Major Change Nicholas Dobson outlines the major corporate governance challenges facing local authorities as the government goes about cutting the apron strings from local government, and looks at the role that lawyers have to play.

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Snap judgement: Is your authority likely to increase its use of ADR in the foreseeable future?
  • Yes, as much as possible
  • Yes, but only in limited cases
  • No, we're not familiar with the process
  • No, public bodies should conduct their business in public
  • No, the other side usually want their day in court
Click here to vote now

And some you may have missed....

Adult Social Services: The Mental Health Act 1983 - setting aside the nearest relative Derek Jones examines the role of Approved Mental Health Professionals and setting aside a patient's nearest relative.

Children's Services: SEN and academies: the Upper Tribunal has its say The approach of academies to admitting children with special educational needs has been controversial. James Cornwell analyses an important Upper Tribunal ruling.

Community Safety: Aiming at the target The issue of clusters of betting shops appearing on high streets has risen up the licensing agenda. Gerald Gouriet QC sets out a possible way forward.

Employment: In sickness and in health The Court of Appeal has clarified aspects of the law on sickness and holiday rights but some uncertainties remain, says Huw Rolant Jones

Governance: Chief exec, head of paid service or both? Nicholas Dobson examines the recent judicial review proceedings between a city council and its former chief executive.

Healthcare: The validity of advance decisions The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street look at the first reported case upon the validity of advance decisions.

Housing: Altered images Can landlords be held liable for defects in a property created by tenant damage or alterations? Sian Evans analyses a recent High Court ruling.

Licensing: At your station The sale of alcohol at petrol station forecourts has been a vexed issue for years. Jeffrey Leib looks at recent developments.

Litigation: EL Trigger - the fallout The Supreme Court ruling in the employer's liability 'trigger' litigation was a welcome one for local government but a number of issues remain outstanding, writes Henry Bermingham.

Planning: A changing landscape? After all the claims and counter-claims in the media, Richard Wald analyses the real impact of the Sea & Land Power wind farm case. 

Procurement: Finding value Anna Sweeney and Jessica Cumming examine a recent briefing note on Best Value Guidance and the Compact issued by the DCLG and Compact Voice.

Projects: Screen test The Court of Appeal has confirmed the correct test for screening decisions in relation to environmental impact assessments, writes Polly Reynolds.

Property: Give me a break Julie Roberts looks at recent court cases that examined the obligations imposed by break clauses.

Regulatory: Selective approach The Court of Appeal has ruled that there should be "severe" sentences for Selective Licensing offences, but no confiscation under proceeds of crime legislation. Matthew Paul analyses the case.

Corporate Legal Adviser, Local Government Association

Jobs of the week

Merton and Richmond Shared Legal Service
Lawyer Business Improvement (Property)
£38,070 - £40,716. Merton and Richmond shared legal services are looking to recruit two Assistant Property lawyers to the Business Improvement Team.

Senior Childcare Solicitor
A local authority based in the Home Counties is looking for a Senior Childcare Solicitor to join its legal services team.

Commercial Planning Solicitor
Our client requires a qualified Solicitor, Barrister or FILEX to undertake a temporary job in East Anglia in an established team. Ideally you will have experience of Section 106 TCPA 1990. 

Property and Planning Lawyer
A large local authority in East Anglia is recruiting for a Planning and Property Lawyer to work within its successful team. 

Education Lawyer
A fantastic opportunity for an Education Lawyer to join a public sector organisation in London.

Other featured jobs

Locum Contracts Solicitor
A local authority based in East London is looking for a determined and ambitious Contracts Locum. 

Childcare Lawyer
This small but well-run team based in the East of England is seeking a highly experienced Childcare Lawyer to join its team as soon as possible. 

Commercial Project Locum
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a Commercial Project Locum Lawyer in the Midlands to join a successful local authority. The position is for 4 months, with scope for extension. 

Prosecutions Lawyer
A fantastic new position for a prosecutions lawyer at an authority based to the West of London for a fixed term of one year. 

Litigation Lawyer
This council in the Northern Home Counties is seeking a Litigation Lawyer to join its small and friendly team.

Local Government Solicitor
A local authority in the North West is recruiting a Local Government Solicitor to join its legal services department on a locum basis. 

Planning Litigation Locum
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Planning Litigation Locum to join a local authority in the West Midlands. 

Commercial Property Solicitor
A Legal 500 firm in Bedfordshire with an excellent reputation is keen to find a solicitor to cover a period of maternity leave until at least March 2013. 

Housing Locum
An excellent opportunity for a Housing Locum to join a local authority in the South West for an ongoing contract. 

Litigation Paralegal
A great opportunity to work within the Legal & Risk Services department of this public sector organisation, based in Cardiff. 

Childcare Legal Assistant
An opportunity has arisen for a Legal Assistant to join a local authority based in Bolton in its childcare department.

Childcare Paralegal
An opportunity has arisen for a Paralegal to join the childcare department of a local authority based in South Wales.

Corporate Solicitor
This top 50 firm requires an experienced locum to join its corporate team for six months. The team has clients in the private and public sectors. 

Residential Property Solicitor
Due to expansion our client is presently recruiting for a Solicitor with extensive residential property experience to join its offices for a six-month FTC. 

Search all jobs 

Featured courses and events

Local Authority Conference 2012 - 11KBW
London - 18 September
Leeds - 2 October

Housing Allocations and Homelessness - Jordans
London - 30 November
Leeds - 27 November
Birmingham - 29 November
Manchester - 28 November

Supporting Young People: Local Authorities and Part III of the Children Act 1989 - Field Court - 27 September

Education Admissions - LGG - 19 September

Evidence in Child Abuse Cases Conference 2012 - Family Law - 20 September

Land ownership issues between academies and local authorities - 4-5 Gray's Inn Square - 26 September

Planning Law Conference 2012 - 4-5 Gray's Inn Square - 1 October

Children Law and Practice Conference 2012 - Family Law - 4 October

Annual Mental Health Law Conference - RadcliffesLeBrasseur - 4 October

Advocacy Skills for Family Lawyers - Family Law - 12 October

Court of Protection Practice and Procedure 2012 - Jordans - 15 October

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