Are You ‘Fit For the Future’?

The main theme of EM LawShares bi-annual legal conference provided the key focus for a creative and innovative approach to overcoming the challenges of providing cost effective, efficient and customer focused public services from the legal perspective. Over 150 delegates attended from local authorities and the legal consortium.

The focus of the conference was on developing and maintaining ‘fit’ public services in the context of a period of rapid change and a challenging funding environment. The sessions ranged from delivering value through partnerships; analysing public procurement after the rules change; implications of data protection for Local Authorities; re-shaping public services through mutual and employee-led spinout companies.

The biggest shakeup for local government and the NHS for a generation has raised issues for Local Authorities. A session covering this particularly asked ‘How can lawyers help their Council most?’

The sporting setting of St. George’s Park, Burton was the perfect setting for Graham Taylor (former England, Watford, Aston Villa and Lincoln City Manager) and Sam Rush’s (ex-City Lawyer and Derby County CEO) session on ‘Building a team for Optimum Performance’.

Jayne Francis-Ward (EM LawShare Management Panel Chair, Corporate Director and Monitoring Officer of Nottinghamshire County Council) said: “The conference was a tremendous success. It was a visible demonstration of the partnership between the councils and the firms which distinguishes EM LawShare from traditional panel arrangements. Delegates were able to meet colleagues, get high quality legal training and CPD points, be challenged with new ways of working and take back information and ideas to their authorities”.

The EM LawShare consortium, originally launched in 2006, spearheaded the drive to deliver efficiency and cost savings to local authorities buying legal services. Working with its six legal partner firms, the consortium delivers efficiencies and improved service through a range of factors including partnership working, added value services and multi-million pound savings achieved through bulk purchasing power.

The consortium has now grown to 78 members and includes a range of local authorities, housing associations, police and fire authorities and ambulance trusts. The most recent joiner is Sheffield City Council.

The six partner firms are:

Pictured: (Left to right) Colin Gibson (ex BBC journalist), Jayne Francis-Ward (Nottinghamshire County Council), Graham Taylor (former England, Watford, Aston Villa and Lincoln City manager), Sam Rush (President & CEO, Derby County FC).