Operating in a Political Environment


Wednesday 10 February 2016, 9.30am registration (9.45am start) – 1.00pm (followed by lunch) Freeths Nottingham, (with Video Conferencing Equipment to Freeths offices in Leicester, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield)

Presented by Bevan Brittan, Freeths and Nottinghamshire County Council

Seminar overview

This seminar gives some practical perspectives from experienced practitioners on how you can most effectively work with your council members.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Understanding the political environment
  • Pressures of the councillor’s world
  • Negotiating the bridge between officers and members
  • Corporate propriety
  • Some essential attributes
  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • Competence, integrity and authenticity
  • Getting into the member space
  • Officer/member protocols
  • Survival skills

Duration:  Half a day (3 CPD points) including lunch

Speaker profiles:

Beth Evans is Senior Partner at Bevan Brittan. She is an experienced local government lawyer rated as Band One in Chambers. She worked as an in house lawyer in local government for over 20 years working for councils of all types and political persuasions. She was a corporate director in a unitary council and carried out the roles of MO and Returning Officer.

At Bevan Brittan Beth specialises in advising local authority clients on new ways of working including the governance around shared services, innovative delivery models including company structures and probity/standards.

Frances Woodhead is a Partner at Bevan Brittan and before joining Bevan Brittan has worked in senior roles in the public sector for over 25 years, both in house and in the private sector. She has worked for Sheffield City Council for 23 years including the role of Director of Legal Services at Sheffield City Council, managing a large legal and governance department and advising Members as part of the Executive Management Team.  She has over 25 years’ experience of advising and working with local authorities, police, central government and the private sector on strategic and policy issues; over 15 years in a leadership role. She has considerable experience of advising elected members in a range of formal meetings and informally, as individuals or in political groups. She also has experience of advising on innovative projects and inquiries into sensitive issues.

Nicholas Dobson is a leading local government and public lawyer with extensive experience of local government law, management and practice. Currently a consultant with leading law firm, Freeths, for many years he was head of local government with Pinsent Masons. He has also worked as a lawyer within six local authorities.

Nicholas writes and speaks regularly on local authority and public law and his work is published in a variety of media. These include Lexis, Law Society’s Gazette (in which he has a regular local government column), Local Government Lawyer, Municipal Journal and New Law Journal. In addition he wrote a substantial paper on the General Power of Competence for the Local Government Association. Nicholas is also Communications Officer for Lawyers in Local Government.

Jayne Francis-Ward Jayne is the Corporate Director and Monitoring officer at Nottinghamshire County Council and the Chair of the EM LawShare Management panel. She has undertaken these roles under Conservative, Labour and NOC administrations. She led Nottinghamshire’s transition to a committee based system of governance.  She is currently the lead officer for the County on the governance arrangements for the proposed Combined Authority.



Please note, EM LawShare events are only open to existing members. Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

If you would like to send a list of registrants, please email Julie.Scheller@freeths.co.uk.