Issue - meetings

Legal Services Review

Meeting: 20/11/2012 - Cabinet (Item 139)

Legal Services Review (Agenda item 19)

Report of Michael Wassell, Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services presented the report that asked the Cabinet to approve the next stages of the Legal Services Review.

 

The report recommended fundamental changes to the Council’s legal service, it moved away from in-house to a more out-source approach.

 

Marion Chapman-Allen completely understood the reasoning for such a change but was not so sure, given that over the years, there had been some dissatisfaction from Members about the outsourcing arrangements.  She also had concerns about cost and was not convinced that savings would be made.  South Holland District Council’s decision not to join its legal services with Breckland Council was also mentioned. 

 

The set up of the new proposed structure was explained. 

 

A number of Members needed assurance that all legal work, if outsourced, would be carried out in a timely manner particularly in relation to leases etc.  The Chairman explained that the new co-ordinators role would be to push work in the right direction to the right company.  Members were reminded of the new Performance Plus system of which the Portfolio Holder would be able to monitor the said role’s performance.

 

Marion Chapman-Allen agreed that the success of this new service would be in the hands of the co-ordinator performing well. 

 

The Executive Support Member for Finance & Democratic Services asked what level of authority this person would have.  In response, the Executive Member for Finance & Democratic Services stated that the new co-ordinator would report to the Assistant Director of Democratic Services and would be subject to the same performance standards as all officers of the Council.

 

Linda Monument felt that the Council had an enormous and very important task of identifying the right person for the job and suggested a meeting with another Council who had already employed such a person.

 

Options

 

See report.

 

Reasons

 

See report.

 

RECOMMEND to Council that:

 

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

 

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