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Emergency Services lawyers

The emergency services in the UK are second to none, serving the public in our times of acute need.

For over thirty years we’ve worked closely with ambulance, fire and rescue and police forces across the UK, developing a deep understanding of the sensitive, often high profile nature of your work.

Legal compliance is paramount to the sector and our dedicated, experienced legal experts advise on the full range of issues facing services. We work closely with in-house departments, often operating as an extension of their team. We act as a supportive partner, offering measured advice, steeped in experience. We’ll help provide clarity in times of crisis and value at every opportunity.

We advise on a range of issues including procurement, employment, inquests and inquiries to joint-working, property issues, disputes and reputation management.

Have confidence in our experienced team of legal professionals. We understand your world, your ambitions and your challenges and we’re here to help

Work we have done

  • Establishing a wholly owned trading company for a NHS Ambulance Trust with bespoke articles of association which addressed lessons learned from first generation trading vehicles. This included:
    • an SLA between the Trust and trading company
    • An SLA between the trading company and Trust
    • Advice in relation to a loan from the Trust to the trading company
    • Advice in relation to a charge on trading company assets to favour the Trust
    • Training for directors
    • Employment T&Cs for new employees
    • Leases of premises
    • Pensions advice
    • Competition Law Advice/State Aid input
    • Procurement structure advice and guidance on filing and other statutory/compliance issues
    • Advice on maintaining arms-length status of the trading company
  • Advising a Fire and Rescue service on their PFI arrangements
  • Advising three authorities that form a Fire and Rescue Authority on their joint PFI arrangement
  • Advising an NHS ambulance trust client in relation to equal pay claims
  • Advising an NHS ambulance trust client in relation to whistleblowing complaints including advising on an investigation and subsequent termination of employment of a director and head of department
  • Advising an NHS ambulance trust client on restructuring departments and operational and non-operational roles
  • Advising an NHS ambulance trust on contracts of employment including differing terms and conditions arising out of ambulance trust mergers, pay protection issues and Whitley Council terms
  • Advising on TUPE  issues concerning 111 call operators for an NHS ambulance trust client
  • Defending claims at employment tribunal including claims for unfair dismissal, sex, race and disability discrimination brought by paramedics and call operators for ambulance trust clients as well as claims
  • Providing advice to an NHS ambulance trust on grievance and disciplinary matters at an early stage to help reduce the risk of employment tribunal claims
  • Undertaking a 3 month secondment with an ambulance trust’s HR team to support on an absence management project aimed at reducing sickness absence across the trust
  • Undertaking an in depth review of an ambulance trust’s full suite of policies and procedures to ensure legal and regulatory compliance
  • We advised an NHS Ambulance Trust on the transfer of 40 staff to the Trust’s wholly owned subsidiary limited company. We advised on the contracting in for an NHS Trust of over 700 staff from a neighbouring trust providing a full range of TUPE advice (including information and consultation advice) and due diligence
Health and Regulatory
  • Advising Ambulance Trusts and other emergency services on a variety of matters including:
    • Inquests and representation, which includes multi-agency Inquests where other emergency services are required to attend, such as the police and fire and rescue service
    • Support and representation during criminal investigations
    • Regulatory / CQC support and representation
    • Advice with respect to Duty of Candour
    • Advice with respect to data protection and GDPR
    • Safeguarding work
    • Judicial Review matters
    • Strategic reviews, such as NHS 111 to establish claim trends and areas of risk
Property and construction
  • We have advised an ambulance trust on a disposal of a major site, incorporating an overage which subsequently yielded a payment of over £300,000 to the ambulance trust
  • Advising an ambulance trust on community asset implications and other defects to resolve issues at an early stage before marketing of a surplus property for sale
  • Advising ambulance trusts on taking new leases including projects involving extensive works and PFI projects
  • We acted for County Durham and Darlington fire and rescue service on the site assembly,  procurement and development of the Quad Station at Barnard Castle which was one of the first co-location projects to house fire, police, ambulance and mountain rescue services. We also dealt with the leases to the other services
  • We acted on the development of a new innovative crisis management centre with hi- tech, state of the art equipment to create virtual scenarios and a fire tower to allow multiple emergency services to train together to manage for example terrorist attacks
  • Acting for a Fire Service Authority in a successful adjudication regarding a payment and defects dispute relating to a newly constructed training facility
  • Advising an ambulance trust on a £1 million dispute involving the building contractor and other parties regarding defective air conditioning at their headquarters and main control centre. This involved dealing with litigation proceedings, a mediation and other settlement attempts. We have recently achieved settlement of the dispute
  • Advising an ambulance trust on a dispute with the building contractor regarding the repayment of retention monies following car parking and security works at an ambulance station

Contact a specialist

James Donnelly

Managing Associate | Healthcare

+44 (0) 330 137 3375

+44 (0) 7730 521 898

Email James

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Melanie Pears

Partner | Head of Public Sector

+44 (0) 330 137 3451

+44 (0)789 987 8424

Email Melanie Pears

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What people say

  • The team is always highly responsive, incredibly thorough, proactive and professional.

    Client quote
  • Ward Hadaway is an excellent law firm. The advice is always well considered and forward-thinking.

    Chambers & Partners
  • The team are highly professional with excellent knowledge of the NHS and in particular the Ambulance Service. They are very reliable and promptly respond to clients requests. Ward Hadaway are an exceptionally client-focused firm who truly work in partnership with Trust. Overall we have an extremely good working relationship providing high quality and value for money.

    Alan Gallagher, Head of Risk and Regulatory Services, North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
  • Very honest, straight, gives good advice and tells us what to do…Access to the team is brilliant. Every interaction has been great and response is excellent.

    Andie Mackay, Projects Manager, County Durham Darlington Fire and Rescue Authority
  • In all areas their advice has been prompt and reliable. Their knowledge of the relevant legislation in these areas has been excellent and very helpful to the Trust.

    Kevin Lewis, Procurement & Contracts Manager, North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust

What we're thinking