Focus: Unitary authorities: No county for old men

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  • The Lawyer has sent round an article about public sector recruitment today, which is not yet on the website. The article does not address some of the reasons why local authorities have difficulty in recruiting.
    1. Town halls etc., are often in the most out of the way part of the area with poor communication links. No lawyer is going to want a job which involves an hour on the train and then another 30 mins on a bus or the same on foot. Has anyone outside Southwark ever tried finding Southwark Town Hall? I find it difficult and I don't live that far away.
    2. Only permanent staff are given season ticket/travelcard loans so lawyers are unwilling to accept contracts which involve expensive travel costs.
    3. Local authorities do not offer help with relocation or even finding somewhere to live locally; it is all very well to place national adverts for eg. a Head of the Legal dept in Glasgow but no-one living outside Scotland is going to apply for it.
    4. Local authorities will insist on trying to recruit on the cheap. I have nearly 20 years' experience but am routinely told x authority will only offer £22 per hour, inc. holiday pay and not including travel for a contract. I have lost count of the number of adverts I have seen, placed by London and Home Counties local authorities, which offer derisory rates of pay for what are clearly senior legal roles and which take no account whatsoever of the local cost of living. If local authorities want good people they must be prepared to pay them properly and take account of PQE and/or seniority.

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