Issue - meetings

Legal Services Review REPORT AWAITED FROM VICKY THOMSON

Meeting: 22/11/2012 - General Purposes Committee (Item 71)

Legal Services Review (Agenda Item 9)

Report of the Assistant Director of Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

  • Restricted enclosure 2
  • Restricted enclosure 3

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance and Democratic Services explained the background to the report.  The initial review had been completed at the end of 2011 with a preferred option of a shared legal service with South Holland.  That proposal had not been supported by South Holland.

 

The need to realise savings remained and further work had been completed.  A fundamental change to the service was proposed.

 

Mr Williams noted that the report had not been presented to LJCC and the Deputy Chief Executive explained that that was because it affected less than five members of staff.

 

Mrs Chapman-Allen raised various concerns, many of which she had previously raised when the report was presented to Cabinet.  She asked if Legal Services had been asked to make savings and it was confirmed that they had not.

 

Mr Carter was concerned about the risks if the new service was not fit for purpose.

 

Mrs Jolly asked how the effectiveness of the change could be monitored and was advised that all projects were subject to the Performance Management procedures.  The Assistant Director for Democratic Services would be ultimately accountable.

 

Mr Williams was concerned that quasi-judicial committees depended on good legal advice as members were liable for the decisions they made.  The wrong advice could lead to increased costs.  It would be of paramount importance to ensure that the person procuring that advice had the necessary qualities.

 

The Chairman thought that it would be very important to give clear guidance to all service managers on how to access legal services in future.  He also asked who would monitor the service and was advised that it would be monitored by the scrutiny process and through the Performance Plus system.

 

Mr Williams requested that LJCC should also receive a monitoring report.

 

RESOLVED to RECOMMEND TO COUNCIL that:

 

1)     the proposed structure for Legal Services as detailed in the report be approved; and

 

the Assistant Director of Democratic Services proceed with conducting a 30 day staff consultation on the proposed changes detailed within the report.