Essex and Southend authorities begin roll-out of shared legal managers

Essex County Council’s (ECC) and Southend Council have hired their first-ever joint manager as part of a scheme that will see four authorities work as one practice.

Childcare lawyer Dorothy Simon, currently head of legal for Haringey Council’s social care team, will head the childcare teams at ECC and Southend from 8 May.

The role follows last year’s launch of The Public Law Partnership (PLP), a sharing service that sees legal teams from ECC, Hertfordshire, Southend and Castlepoint provide legal services collaboratively.

Since August 2011 the four legal teams have been sharing a number of services, including a case management system and a court diary, with new member authorities expected to join the project from July 2012.

A number of joint-manager positions are expected to follow as part of the scheme, with Simon’s role being the first.

“The joint-manager positions will not only save the amount of time lawyers are sitting in cars,” said ECC legal head Philip Thomson. “It will also create significant efficiencies and open up the capacity for additional work.”