Teamwork key for local authority framework

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Published on Friday, 12 October 2012 09:59
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

'Success through partnership' was the theme of the day as over 150 delegates from 58 different local authorities in the East Midlands gathered at the EM LawShare Conference on 8th October to discuss the most cost-effective methods of reducing their legal spend.


The bi-annual conference was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre and is the third to be hosted by EM LawShare, a consortium of 58 local authorities covering an area the size of Belgium. As the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham heard from the Chancellor on further budget cuts on the same day, the delegates, mostly in-house lawyers at local authorities, gathered to hear how they could use the private firms' expertise to complement their own legal offering at a reduced cost whilst maintaining high levels of service.

EM Lawshare has expanded from its original 13 founding members to 58, and is showing no signs of slowing, says Jayne Francis-Ward, Corporate Director, Policy, Planning and Corporate Services at Nottinghamshire County Council and architect of EM LawShare:

"We live in a changing world, and nothing is built to last. But despite challenges in recent years, EM Lawshare has made great strides, confronting these changing times head on and evolving to meet all the needs of its members. It continues to be a great success."

Crucially, Jayne believes that the key ingredient to this continuing success has been the complete dedication to collaboration and teamwork shown by the local authorities and private sector providers alike:

"The partnership element of EM Lawshare has by far been the most successful aspect of the framework. Everyone works together for the best outcome, and expertise is not just shared amongst the member authorities but between the panel law firms, who work shoulder to shoulder to provide the most cost effective yet comprehensive service for the client."

The day was brought to a reflective standstill when keynote speaker Tim Coulson MBE took to the stage to speak to delegates about the fateful day of 7 July 2005, where he was involved in the London bombings. The 'Angel of Edgware Road', received an MBE as part of the New Year Honours list 2009 and has done much to assist with the review of the terrorist attack and efforts to prevent future incidents. Tim's inspirational story struck a great chord with the audience as he spoke of how it was a sense of partnership on that day and since that has helped him through.

Jayne said:

"Tim is a very reserved person and very rarely gives public appearances so to have him with us for the conference was a real honour - he really believes in what we are trying to do here in terms of partnership and collaboration for the good of the end user – the general public.

"Tim gave a very humbling speech and left us all both privileged to have met him and inspired by his words. He is a true hero and example of triumph over adversity."

John Riddell, Partner in the Local Government team at law firm Weightmans – one of the five partner firms – explained:

"The event was a great success and the message is clear – collaboration works. Open communication through competitive dialogue and long term investment will see local authorities go from strength to strength.

"The Consortium presents an opportunity to truly work in partnership. It is hugely successful at delivering the best deal for local authorities in the region and we are delighted to be a part of it."

Source: ©EM LawShare

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