13.45 - 14.45 Breakout Sessions 1a - 1c

Session 1a: Implementing change in Local Government Legal Services during challenging times

Suzanne Dodd, Assistant Director & Solicitor, Birmingham City Council

Anthony Farmer, Head of Practice Management, Birmingham City Council

Staying static in Local Government Legal Services is not an option. Nationally and locally things are changing at a rapid pace e.g. budgets, politics, the way we deliver services, therefore it is paramount that Legal Services are modern, flexible, agile and resilient. This session examines the methods a Local Government Legal Service could implement to deliver change in challenging times, using Birmingham Legal Services as a case example.

Session 1b: Key lessons from recent cases on governance (including the Equality Act 2010, misfeasance in public office, procurement)

Owen Wilcox, Public Procurement Editor, Thomson Reuters

Mary-Anne Anaradoh, Senior Editor, Thomson Reuters

This presentation will examine how key governance issues arising in recent challenges to public authorities have been dealt with by the courts, including abandoning procurements, conflicts of interest and bias, contents of VEAT notices, decision making and the PSED, fiduciary duties and misfeasance in public office.

Session 1c: Member Behaviour - Measures vs Sanctions

David Kitson, Senior Associate, Bevan Brittan LLP

Standards of Member behaviour continue on a downward spiral, but what can be done when this behaviour is so serious that it impacts upon a Council’s core duties and functions? What are “measures” in this context and how are they potentially different from and separate to “sanctions”?

14.45 - 15.45 Breakout Sessions 2a - 2c

Session 2a: Climate Change and Clean Air Issues

Stephen Tromans QC, 39 Essex Chambers

Rose Grogan, 39 Essex Chambers

Air quality and climate change are two of the most significant global environmental issues of our time. But what can be done at a local level? This session will examine recent law, policy and practical challenges from a local government perspective

Session 2b: Data Protection and Brexit (deal or not) and how this will affect local authorities

Damien Welfare, Cornerstone Chambers

Dr Sam Fowles, Cornerstone Chambers

This talk will look at data protection after Brexit, whether or not the UK leaves the EU with a ‘deal’, and the key features for local authorities of the GDPR. It will cover changes under the ‘DPPEC Regulations’, when in force, and cross-border (eg ‘Cloud’) transfers of data after Brexit.

Session 2c: Making your Pension work for you

Sarah Deacon, Area Manager, Wesleyan

Session will cover:

  • Who are Wesleyan, why we are different and how we can help?
  • The need for Financial Education
  • Understanding the value of a Local Authority Pension
  • What does your pension mean to you and your team?

16.15 - 17.15 Breakout Sessions 3a - 3c

Session 3a: Governance and Council Bodies

Hugh Peart, Director of Legal & Governance Services, London Borough of Harrow

We are all familiar with the rules for decision making, interests, etc when our Councils decide to do things, but increasingly, important decisions are taken by joint ventures, companies, partnerships, shared services, trusts, etc. This session explains some of these arrangements and focusses on vires, delegations, decision making, public scrutiny and access to information, procurement, member and officer liability, conflicts of interests and council oversight. The session aims to highlight key issues and suggest how good governance can be maintained in an increasingly complex environment.

Session 3b: Employment law update

Huw Rolant-Jones, Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Interest in employment law and related matters such as equality; diversity and worker rights has rarely, if ever, enjoyed such prominence. Huw’s session will cover the key issues and developments and provide practical advice and know-how and a glimpse of the future depending on who prevails in Westminster

Session 3c: Tactics to build success as a legal leader: what legal leaders should be doing to secure longevity within local government, building reputation and managing conflict

Hannah Cottam, Sellick Partnership

Is the prospect of being a legal leader within local government exciting or becoming increasingly daunting? Sellick Partnership Group Director Hannah Cottam takes a detailed look at how you can secure your longevity within the legal sector through managing successful relationships, identifying and tackling potential conflicts and utilising peers and support networks to your advantage.

12.00 - 13.00 Breakout Sessions 4a - 4c

Session 4a: Holding each other to account in devolved arrangements

Olwen Brown, Anthony Collins

Matthew Gregson, Anthony Collins

This session looks at the way in which the "Golden Triangle" works when local authorities have entered into different delivery mechanisms such as wholly owned companies, joint ventures and other arrangements which bring different tensions into the golden triangle dynamic, and often require a difference in arrangements and an changed understanding of officer roles; especially when those officers have responsibilities outside their core council position. And what happens when something goes wrong? Do normal disciplinary processes apply unchanged?

Session 4b: Procurement Update

Peter Ware, Browne Jacobson LLP

An update on the key changes in procurement law in the last 12 months. A current view on how leaving the EU will impact on the procurement regime and what steps ought to be taken in relation to that impact.

Session 4c: Culture, Engagement and Accountability

Tanya Corsie, Iken

Join Tanya in a lively and engaging discussion about how culture, engagement and accountability impacts upon our working lives as individuals and as a team member. Take the opportunity to share experiences and learn from colleagues. Positivity, laughter and chocolate is guaranteed.

13.45 - 14.30 Breakout Sessions 5a - 5c

Session 5a: Legal Department of the Future – Local Government Lawyer with LexisNexis

Philip Hoult, Co-Founder of Local Government Lawyer
Anne Kingsley, Local Government PSL, LexisNexis

This session will include a presentation on the outcomes of research which is being conducted by Local Government Lawyer - looking to understand how the changes to the structure of local government and other public sector legal teams are affecting lawyers career and development prospects. As well as insight into how In-house Public Sector team are implementing and using technology.

Session 5b: Relativity applies to physics, not ethics – are principles of member conduct absolute?

Simon Goacher, Weightmans LLP

Philip McCourt, Wirral Council

We will take a look at the current landscape governing member conduct in the light of the current political climate, the world of the instant tweet and blog post and after the CSPL review. Have our expectations of acceptable behaviour shifted does freedom of speech trump norms of respect and civil behaviour?

We will take a practical look at the application of the member conduct regime. What should feature in the national code of conduct for England, if we ever get one? Is the position on official capacity shifting? Is it ever going to be possible to effectively police social media and should we even try? How can the current limited sanctions regime be used to manage poor behaviour and is what is the role of political groups? Have the roles of members and officers changed and are your protocols on member/officer relations fit for the modern environment?

Session 5c: Levers of Governance

Former Joint Managing Director, Warwickshire County Council

A look at the way in which the corporate lawyer can influence the levers of governance.

Covering a wide range of areas as well as the core legal issues. This will include finance, information management, service delivery vehicles, risk management and the political arena.

14.30 - 15.30 Breakout Sessions 6a - 6c

Session 6a: Resilience Planning

Roseanne Serrelli, Sharpe Pritchard

Following the demise of Carillion and Interserve, there is understandable nervousness about entering into long term outsourcing programmes or major contracts without care begin taken to ensure there is a safety net in case of contractor insolvency. This session will explore financial tests at SQ stage from a legal perspective and also how to put together a “living Will”. The session will draw on the Government’s Outsourcing Playbook and provides useful guidance and template documents.

Session 6b: Running a lawful election

Mark Heath, Consultant, VWV

The session will focus of the key aspects election law underpinning the delivery of a lawful poll but also election practice. The aim is to cover the practicalities of delivering a lawful election, and will include consideration of the latest developments in election law.

Session 6c: Managing conflict

Jonathan Goolden, Wilkin Chapman

Richard Parnell, Wilkin Chapman

Richard and Jonathan offer legal and practical advice on handling conflict from a MO or DMO’s perspective. From suspending the chief executive, investigating the leader, handling a grievance or even preparing your own exit, they have been there before. If you’d like to learn about the drama triangle or just fancy some group therapy, this is the session for you!