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Welcome to LGSS Law Ltd
Quentin Baker Executive Director
The Story of LGSS Law Ltd LGSS Law Ltd is a highly-regarded team of innovative and experienced legal professionals who together provide cost-effective legal advice and assistance to a range of public and not for profit sector clients. Originally formed in April 2015 from the merger of two County Council legal teams, LGSS Law has steadily expanded due to increasing demand for its services and now comprises approximately 140 team members who are divided into specialist teams located across a network of four branch offices in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Northampton and Bedfordshire (Shefford). We pride ourselves on our clientfocussed approach and we have a good understanding of the challenges facing our clients. We are committed to providing you with quality legal advice and assistance that will enable you to achieve your goals. Our Legal Professionals are supported by an experienced practice management team, who ensure that all of our lawyers are able to work efficiently and cost effectively. The practice management team also manage billing and administration to ensure that clients receive regular information about their cases.
About Us LGSS Law Ltd is a “Social Enterprise Law Firm” one of the first of its kind to be established in the UK it is wholly owned by public bodies and has a different structure to that of an ordinary commercial law firm. We are unique amongst law firms in that we’re owned by our clients and we don’t have ‘Partners’ which ensures that we’re run for the benefit of the clients we serve. We have our roots in the provision of legal services to local authorities and a significant proportion of our work remains within this sector. However, over recent years our client base has grown and widened to include more than one hundred organisations across the public and not for profit sectors including, Local Authorities, CCG’s, Foundation Trusts, Charities and Fire Services. LGSS was set up as a Shared Service in October 2010 between Cambridgeshire County Council and Northamptonshire County Council to provide legal services to the two founding Councils and also to a range of external clients in the public and not-for-profit sector. In March 2015 LGSS Law was granted the ability to become a company owned by non-lawyers an “Alternative Business Structure” (ABS) and became LGSS Law Ltd on 1st April 2015, wholly owned by Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire County Councils. In April 2016 Central Bedfordshire Council joined LGSS Law as our third local authority owner. LGSS Law Ltd now employs nearly 150 members of staff within specialist legal teams and provides services to more than 100 organisations across the public and not-for-profit sectors, including local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, foundation trusts, charities and fire services. Page 2
Our Commitment to Quality As part of our commitment to providing a quality assured service, LGSS Law has been awarded by the Law society’s LEXCEL quality assurance standard. The LEXCEL practice management standard is only awarded to organisations who meet the highest management and customer care standards.
LEXCEL accredited organisations undergo rigorous independent assessment every year to ensure they meet required standards of excellence in areas such as client care, case management and risk management. We constantly monitor our services to ensure that we are always providing you with the highest quality service possible.
Our Vision Our client focused legal team of enthusiastic and innovative people provides robust quality and cost effective legal services exclusively to clients in the public and not for profit sectors, creating an environment in which we are able to realise our full potential.
Our Mission To support our clients in achieving their objectives we will supply timely, flexible and effective legal services by exploiting the benefits of scale, to increase the depth of legal specialism and resilience and thereby providing a better alternative to private practice and maximising affordability for clients.
Our Services LGSS Law provides a wide range of comprehensive legal services spanning a wide range of legal expertise associated with public and not for profit sectors including: Corporate Governance & Regulatory Matters Assisting clients to establish robust Governance and decision making processes in order to minimise challenges and ensure compliance with corporate governance and regulatory requirements. Advising on ethical standards and conduct related matters and investigations. Children & Adult Social Care Advice and representation in childcare proceedings and services to vulnerable adults. Commercial Property Matters Advising and acting in the full range of property transactions including the transfer and lease of land assets. We have particular expertise in the conversion of schools to academies. Planning & Regeneration Acting for clients on the full range of planning matters including section 106s, enforcement, appeals, travellers, certificates of lawful use, compulsory purchase orders, minerals and waste. Highways Advising on highways and public rights of way including highways agreements, orders and enforcement. District and Parish Council Law Advice on all areas of law affecting district and parish councils. Litigation & Public Law Matters Issuing legal proceedings to protect the client’s position and defending legal actions taken against our clients. This includes challenges of lawfulness by way of Judicial Review, representation at relevant tribunals, debt collection enforcement, enforcing contracts, safeguarding client assets through both the civil and criminal courts and enforcing planning law. Employment Matters Advising on all aspects of employment law matters including the provisions of TUPE (Transfer of UndertakingsProtection of Employment) as well as representing client bodies at the Employment Tribunal. Regulatory Risk Providing advice on legal risks, in all areas such as employment law, contracts, insurance, health and safety, special educational needs, school admissions and other regulatory specialisms. Education Law Providing specialist legal advice assistance, and training to support and represent Local Authorities in all aspects of Special Educational Needs Tribunals. We can offer a bespoke service for authorities with specific SEN legal needs. Contracts & Procurement Advising on contractual arrangements with external bodies and assisting our clients to enter into the most effective and commercially beneficial arrangements for their business. We also advise on the formation and structure of Companies, Charities and other corporate models, ensuring legally compliant and swiftly executed public procurement.
Clinical Commissioning Group
Schools & Academies
Parish & District Councils
Fire & Rescue Authorities
Healthcare Foundation Trusts
Our Charges We are owned by three local authorities and our business model is radically different from that of a traditional commercial law firm. As a consequence our charging rates are highly costs effective when compared to the commercial providers in this sector. Working exclusively with public sector clients, we offer a range of charging options for our clients as well as providing regular and transparent billing information to help clients manage their legal expenditure. Please contact us for further information about our current charging rates and options.
Our Teams and our People Our people work in teams organised around the specialist areas of practice and include Solicitors, Barristers, Legal Executives and Paralegals all of whom are ably supported by our experienced Practice Management team. Our wide range of expertise enables us to undertake work at the right level and cost for our clients.
Trainee Contracts LGSS Law Ltd is extremely committed to investing time and money in our future generations of Lawyers and has a commitment to recruiting Trainee Solicitors every year to fulfil their training requirements. We aim to recruit at least two new Trainee Solicitors every September to work alongside our experienced Solicitors. Our trainees must complete a minimum of three seats within different areas of law prior to their qualification at the end of the two year training contract.
Please find our Team details on the following pages:
Corporate Governance, Monitoring Officer and Major Projects Team Quentin has overall responsibility for the services provided by LGSS Law and leads on the provision of legal support to high profile matters and those relating to corporate governance. Quentin has worked as a Lawyer in the public sector for 20 years and has considerable experience of advising on matters of corporate and ethical governance as well as local authority companies and collaborative ventures.
Quentin Baker Director of Law & Governance
Quentin also leads on Monitoring Officer and ethical standards matters and in this regard draws on the experience of Fiona McMillan and Maria Damigos who also advise extensively in this area and conduct investigations into complaints.
Community Services (Children & Adult Social Care) Suzy Edge is the Head of Community Services Law which advises clients on the law relating to the protection of children and vulnerable adults. Suzy qualified as a Solicitor in 1996. Suzy specializes in child protection and adoption work and has been a member of the Law Society Children’s Panel since 2002.
Jennifer qualified as a Solicitor in 2000 and has worked in both private practice and Local Authority Legal departments, specialising in Child Protection and Social Care Law. Jennifer’s current role as Senior Solicitor involves advice and representation in childcare related care proceedings and services to vulnerable adults. Jennifer is based at our Shefford office. Office: 01223 729192 Mobile: 07833 403144 Email: [email protected]
Jennifer Lee Legal Services Manager The Community Services and Education Law Team covers the law relating to children and adults Social Services. The team comprises specialist Lawyers with extensive experience in care proceedings, adoption and all aspects of children’s social care and the Council’s duties towards children and young people. In addition, the team provides advice in relation to adult Social Services. Our children’s social care team have worked successfully with social workers and with our local courts on an important national target to reduce the duration of court cases, so that children spend less time in the care system. We have also been involved in setting up a new voluntary adoption agency with the aim of improving planning, reducing delays and recruiting enough adopters for children awaiting permanent homes. In addition to legal services, the team provides a range of training courses on the legal framework around safeguarding to Social Workers and professionals from other agencies. The Community Services teams are directly managed by our Principal Lawyers, Christine Tinkler, Salma Kantharia and Adrian Francis. Phone: Email:
Property Michael has extensive Planning and Regeneration experience including planning and highways agreements and Compulsory Purchase (Highways and Housing) schemes, planning enforcement injunctions and Judicial Review.
Michael Kelly Head of Property & Planning
He has considerable experience in a public sector management role advising committees officers and member briefings. Michael has also worked in private practice on a number of Transport and Works Acts (TWA) infrastructure projects for Network Rail - West Coast Main Line (WCML) for Transport for London (TFL) Docklands Light Railway Schemes and the Thames Bridge River Crossing and more recently on Phase one of the High Speed rail link. Phone: 01604 364286 Mobile: 07990 634711 Email: [email protected]
The Property Team comprises specialist Lawyers with extensive experience in conveyancing and property management law, planning and highways. The team advises both internal and external clients, notably other Local Authorities and public sector bodies. The Planning and Property Team represent our host Councils on planning matters including major highway schemes, planning enquiries, rights of way and village green matters as well as Section 106 Agreements, Highway Agreements, traveller law and assets of community value. The Property Team are currently acting on behalf of a number of District and County Councils along with other not for profit organisations. They have experience of dealing with significant property disposals with values of £1.4 million, completed acquisitions of land required for bypass schemes through agreement as well as by compulsory purchase. In addition, the team has a wealth of experience in dealing with academy conversions, leases, licences and general property advice. Right to buys are a strong area of practice for LGSS Law. The Property Team are directly managed by our Principal Lawyers, Mickaela McMurtry and Duncan Bisatt. Phone: Email:
Planning The Planning and Highways Team comprises specialist Lawyers with extensive experience in conveyancing and property management law, planning and highways. The team advises both internal and external clients, notably other Local Authorities and public sector bodies, and advise county and district councils. The Planning and Property Team represent our host Councils on planning matters including major highway schemes, planning enquiries, rights of way and village green matters as well as Section 106 Agreements, Highway Agreements, traveller law and assets of community value. The Property Team are currently acting on behalf of a number of District and County Councils along with other not for profit organisations. They have experience of dealing with significant property disposals with values of £1.4 million, completed acquisitions of land required for bypass schemes through agreement as well as by compulsory purchase. In addition, the team has a wealth of experience in dealing with academy conversions, leases, licences and general property advice. Right to buys are a strong area of practice for LGSS Law. The Planning Team are directly managed by our Principal Lawyer, Hannah Edwards. Phone: Email:
District Law, Litigation, SEN Tribunals and Contracts & Procurement Fiona is a very experienced former Head of Legal and Monitoring Officer at South Cambridgeshire District Council, with over 18 years’ experience of working with district and parish councils. She is extremely knowledgeable on governance, ethical standards and code of conduct, planning, housing, licensing, employment, and environmental health, council decision-making and constitutional issues. Fiona manages LGSS Law’s District Law team, Litigation team, Special Educational Needs (SEN) Tribunals team and is currently overseeing the Contracts and Procurement team.
Fiona McMillan Head of District Law, Litigation, SEN Tribunals and Phone: 01223 699093 Contracts & Procurement Mobile: 07342 064972 Email:
District Law The District Law Team comprises specialist Lawyers with extensive experience advising both internal and external clients, notably other Local Authorities and public sector bodies and advise both county and district councils. The District Law Team are currently acting on behalf of a number of District and County Councils along with other not for profit organisations. They have experience of dealing with significant property disposals with values of £1.4 million, completed acquisitions of land required for bypass schemes through agreement as well as by compulsory purchase. In addition, the team has a wealth of experience in dealing with academy conversions, leases, licences and general property advice. The District Law Team are:
Litigation & Special Educational Needs (SEN) Tribunals Team The Litigation Team have a wealth of experience in Judicial Review, general litigation and employment disputes and also work with Trading Standards teams and District Councils on criminal matters. We have represented numerous schools converting to academies on the full range of legal issues and changes resulting from the conversion. We have also been involved in advising a number of other organisations on large scale transfers of staff under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings-Protection of Employment). We are working closely with education colleagues in dealing with ever increasing numbers of appeals by parents whose children have not been given places at their preferred schools. We are working closely with education colleagues in dealing with ever increasing numbers of appeals by parents whose children have not been given places at their preferred schools. We also provide advice, representation and training on a range of legal issues including: Admissions; attendance; abusive visitors to school; access to educational records/ data protection; behaviour management and exclusions; changes of pupil name; child protection; duty of care; educational provision; governance procedures; internet abuse; parental responsibility; pupils’ property; school trips; school uniform; sex education; witness statements; and work experience. The Special Educational Needs Tribunals Team at LGSS Law Ltd are different to private law firms as we recognise that the Tribunal process can be a very stressful place for parents and young people and we seek to avoid making it adversarial. We will work with families in the spirit of collaboration, and to inspire confidence and high ethical standards, not to increase conflict. We are specialist education lawyers who are familiar with both ‘old law’ and the appeals system under the Children and Families Act 2014. Their knowledge and practical experience ensures our clients are empowered to achieve the right outcome. Many local authorities face constant challenges in their day to day work. This is without the additional problems of a legal issue that could arise at any time. For example a school’s decision to permanently exclude a pupil is challenged; a disability discrimination claim is brought against the School; or, parents involve the School in their own personal dispute. When such issues do arise we work closely with the local authorities to help you resolve matters in the most favourable and timely way possible. The Litigation Team and SEN Tribunals Team are directly managed by our Senior Principal Lawyer, Darren Marshman-Stewart. Phone: Email:
Contracts & Procurement The Contracts & Procurement Team covers a wide remit from public procurement, contracts and litigation. The team has amassed considerable experience of advising clients on major procurements and outsourcing, and more recently has been advising and supporting clients in establishing Companies and Trusts to undertake services on behalf of Local Authorities. Members of the team have also been involved in the establishment of Academy schools. The team advises both internal and external clients, notably other local authorities and public sector bodies including the Clinical Commissioning Group and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Authority. The work of the Contracts and Procurement Team is overseen by our Principal Paralegal, Nicola Molloy. Phone: Email:
Practice Management (Operations) Lynne is the Practice Manager (Operations) with responsibility for all operational aspects of LGSS Law Ltd, including the Operations Team, Legal Compliance and Accreditations, comprising the Law Society’s Lexcel Management Standard.
The Operations Team provide high quality business support to the Lawyers and Paralegals of LGSS Law, carrying out the administrative tasks of a busy office, to allow our qualified Legal Advisors to focus their time and efforts in providing a superior service that is excellent value for money. Our Operations team are based across three branches in Huntingdon, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire (Shefford) and operate on a single system and run duplicate processes to ensure LGSS Law is supported through a single streamlined process. Lynne is supported by her Practice Management Team consisting of:
Kim Allen (Assistant Practice Manager- Information & Communications Technology- ICT)
Barbara Warsap (Personal Assistant to Executive Director)
Practice Management (Finance) Jeremy is a Chartered Management Accountant. He has considerable experience in Financial Management in staff-intensive organisations in both the public and private sectors. Office: 01480 379087 Mobile: 07884 246167 Email: [email protected]
Jeremy Wright Practice Manager (Finance) The Finance Team provide high quality financial support to the Lawyers and Paralegals of LGSS Law, carrying out all the financial administrative tasks of a busy office, allowing our qualified Legal Advisors to focus on providing a superior service to our clients. The Finance Management Team are:
Contact us If you would like further information about the services we provide or would like to speak to a Lawyer please do not hesitate to contact the Practice Manager, Lynne Owen or any of the teams directly. Office: Mobile: Email: