As a member of the LGC and an erstwhile local government lawyer, now in private practice, I would hope that local government lawyers are eagerly awaiting the final reports from the commission, due this autumn, and subsequently the decision of the Secretary of the State for the Environment on these reports which have to be approved by Parliament.
However, I am aware from personal experience of previous local government reorganisations that anyone employed in local government will now be uncertain about their future.
The timing of the implementations of any changes is a matter for the Secretary of State, not the commission to decide, but any decisions made should be implemented speedily, efficiently and effectively.
Changes will create opportunities for lawyers. The powers and duties of the new authorities will need examination, the transfer of assets provisions, Tupe implications – the list is endless. In addition, local government lawyers will need to acquire new skills in areas of the law which may not be familiar to them.
Once reorganisation has been introduced, local government lawyers will have to face up to the organisational implications of CCT for legal services.
Leadership skills, vision and commitment will be essential if objectives are to be achieved – presuming there are no major changes to legislation in service areas.
Experience suggests that local government lawyers are facing difficult but exciting times. They have always had a supreme ability to make things work. I have no doubt that they will succeed again.
David Ansbro is a member of the LGC and managing partner at Eversheds Hepworth Chadwick.