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Local government bodies deliver vital local services. They are the bedrock of communities and critical to successful outcomes for local people. They are also multi-layered, complex organisations, with dynamic structures.

An in-depth knowledge of local government and public sector law and regulation underpins the advice required by local government organisations. In many cases we provide the knowledge and expertise needed to support in-house legal teams, in other instances our specific expertise is needed to run projects which are outside the expertise of those teams.

With wide experience of partnering with many local government organisations including councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Combined Authorities and development corporations, we work all across the UK.

Our expert knowledge encompasses economic development, planning, judicial review, inward investment, state aid, grant funding, governance, freedom of information, procurement and subsidiary companies, partnerships and joint-ventures. Through our multi-disciplinary teams, we offer additional specialist services including rates recovery, safeguarding, child protection, care contracts and housing disrepair.

So when you need a team in your corner with a deep understanding of your world, a focus on what matters in your locality, that delivers value at every opportunity, we’re here to help.

Work we have done

Commercial
  • Advising a group of councils upon the creation of a separate entity to run a regional adoption agency
  • Acting for North East SPV Limited (owned by the North East Combined Authority) on its negotiations with the EIB for funding £60m for the new £120m JEREMIE 2 fund
  • Advising a local authority on a challenge on a tender for children’s legal services
  • Advising a local authority on structuring a contract for extensive infrastructure works avoiding multiple separate procurements, including state aid
  • Advising a supplier on a series of complex contracts for the development, supply and implementation of the national probation system
  • Assisting Newcastle City Council and the Freemen of the City to secure registered trade mark protection for Europe’s largest travelling fair
  • Advising a new charitable trust established to manage a city’s parks and allotments
  • Advised a local authority on options to create a new trading arm including its powers under the Localism Act and the governance structures to control this commercial arm and retain the transparency required under the authority’s constitution
  • Advising a combined authority on a number of state aid issues, including in relation to the formation of a joint venture
  • Advising a combined authority in relation to a concession contract for the operation and maintenance of vehicle tunnels
  • Advising a development corporation on the procurement of a framework of demolition contractors
Employment
  • Defending a claim for a failure to inform and consult under TUPE, following the merger of 6 local authorities and the creation of a unitary authority. The claim sought a protective award for over 15,000 employees and was valued at over £70m.  Following successful defence of the claims, they were withdrawn without any financial incentive or settlement
  • Advising local authorities on the implementation of a single status / job evaluation schemes and being instructed by other clients to undertake equal pay audits to identify potential equal pay risks
  • Defending 188 Equal Pay Claims arising from the part-time pensions litigation for a local authority with less than 10 succeeding
  • Successfully defending over a 9 day hearing, a race, sex discrimination, breach of the fixed term employees regulations, wrongful and constructively unfair dismissal claim brought by an equalities officer against a local authority
  • Successfully defending over a 12 day hearing, a sex and disability discrimination claim brought by a Head of Service who had alleged that another Director and that local authority had manipulated her grievance and unfairly dismissed her for gross misconduct
  • Defending claims arising from dismissal of a council director following allegations of bullying by his deputy
  • Advising on all employee related aspects of the transfer out of control room staff employed by 4 separate fire and rescue authorities into a newly set up Local Authority Controlled Company
  • Dealing with the employment aspects in the sale from the public to private sector of a local authority owned transport service
  • Dealing with the outsourcing of numerous transport services from local authorities to the private sector.
  • Dealing with admission agreements facilitating access for 3rd parties to the LGPS after outsourcing of Local Authority contracts
  • Contract to provide a full range of pensions advice to a Yorkshire based council which is the administering authority of a Pension Fund
  • Advising local authorities on the implementation of a single status / job evaluation schemes and being instructed by other clients to undertake equal pay audits to identify potential equal pay risks
  • Drafting a template settlement agreement for a local authority who were about to embark on a large scale restructuring exercise
  • Through an 18 month secondment, providing day to day advice (e-mail, written, telephone and face to face) on the employment issues associated with the merger of 7 smaller local authorities
  • Advising on the employee issues in relation to an IT consultancy providing outsourced services to a number of local authorities and government departments
Litigation
  • Represented a midlands council in a high-profile judicial review relating to the Government’s decision to halt it’s Building Schools for the Future scheme
  • Advised local authorities in relation to challenges by interested parties to decisions to close/alter schools, including advising generally in relation to the procedures to be adopted and assisting with the production of submissions to the adjudicator
  • Acted for a local authority pension scheme in its group action against a UK bank for a breach of section 91 of the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000 in a multi-million pound action, In respect of exit payments due to the pension scheme fund following a restructure of scheme employers and in its claim against its advisers in respect of a Forward Foreign Exchange (FFX) Contract, following Lehman’s Collapse in 2009
  • We advised on a case involving allegations of financial irregularities in a Parish Council, which involved Freedom of Information requests, an appeal to the Information Commissioner and proceedings before the Tribunal of the General Regulatory Chamber
  • Acted for a large local authority client in the defence of a challenge brought to the procurement of a £4 million contract for the provision of children’s legal services
  • Advised a conglomerate of city councils in a multi-million pound dispute with a major waste disposal services provider which alleged an entitlement to terminate a long-term contract, but which ended with the withdrawal of the claim following a series of joint meetings. The client said after that “Ward Hadaway was our first choice to approach on this matter and our experience working with you vindicated entirely our initial thinking”
Regulatory
  • Successfully representing a large County Council following a joint investigation by the Police and the HSE into the death of a 14 year old pupil. We appeared at the inquest and in relation to the trial of the County Council in respect of criminal proceedings brought by the HSE. The Council were found not guilty of all charges
  • Representing another County Council in relation to HSE prosecution following serious injury to a pupil attending a large comprehensive school. We provided representation before both the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court in relation to those proceedings
  • Representing a County Council before the Coroner’s Court in an inquest into the death of a cyclist following an accident, the suggestion being that the accident was caused by a pothole in the road and the neglect of the Council in completing appropriate repairs
Property
  • Providing property due diligence advice to a Combined Authority in relation to a number of FE and HE grant funding arrangements
  • Providing landlord and tenant advice to a Yorkshire based Local Authority
  • Advising the a Yorkshire based council in relation to a major planning appeal concerning a large brownfield mixed use development proposal involving the delivery of more than 1,000 new homes, community uses and public open space. As well as providing strategic advice in respect of the planning appeal, we are providing specialist section 106 advice in relation to a viability re-assessment mechanism to secure the ongoing supply and delivery of affordable housing from the site.
  • We acted on behalf of a North East Council in relation to the grant of a lease of part of a historic city centre building for A3 or A4 uses. This involved a complex Agreement for Lease conditional on planning, listed building consent, landlord’s consent to tenant’s works and the approval of the tenant’s premises licence application and licence
  • We advised South Tees Development Corporation on a wide range of property matters relating to the former British Steel site on the south bank of the River Tees one of the largest development sites in Europe
  • We advised Newcastle City Council and Science central management on a range of property matters relating to the prestigious Science Central/Helix site in Newcastle city centre
  • We advised a new charitable company on due dilligence for the parks and allotments that were transferred to it by a council
  • Acting on BSF schemes for both local authorities and LEPs involving development agreements for freehold sales and leasehold disposals, with lease backs of IT, sports and community facilities with Joint use and community use arrangements, overage and grant funding novations.
  • Acting for a council in connection with their sale of a flagship site to the police authority for the development of new police facilities including infrastructure to serve the Council’s retained land with works obligations on both parties in connection with the infrastructure.
  • Acting for a Council in connection with the grant of a building lease to facilitate the development of a listed building with provisions for contributions to works and obtaining grant funding from third parties.
Debt
  • Recovering outstanding council tax and business rates from a debtor that had been outstanding for a significant time. We obtained a profile report that indicated a number of properties were owned by the debtor and if sold, could satisfy the debt owing. We established that a partial dispute regarding liability existed which had prevented payment being made. We issued a letter before action and entered into negotiations with the debtor and discussions with the Council. This enabled the dispute to be resolved in part, leaving only a small amount outstanding for determination and a substantial payment of the majority of the account, our costs were recovered from the debtor meaning overall costs to the Council were nil
  • Recovering outstanding council tax and an overpayment of benefits that amounted to a substantial sum, which remained unpaid for a number of years. We obtained a profile report which indicated that a number of properties were owned by the debtor that if sold could satisfy the debt owing. We became aware that the debt could not be paid in full and sought a voluntary charge as security for payment. We issued a letter before action seeking payment in full initially. We negotiated with the debtors solicitors to reach an acceptable agreement. We then prepared a settlement deed and agreed charges to include our costs and filed it with the land registry. The debt is secured against the property with an instalment arrangement and agreement to sell within 6 months. We also provided training to the Council on insolvency processes and systems to help track companies suspected of avoiding business rates payments, an increasing issue for many local authorities
  • Pursuing outstanding council tax where the property in question was up for sale and it was believed the owner was still in occupation. We attempted to seek a charge against the property by way of security for the debt. It later became clear the debtor had left the country, the property had been repossessed by the mortgage lender and surplus funds paid in to the court funds office. We made an application to court for payment of the debts owed out of the funds held at court following the repossession. We issued letter before action and prepared an application for a charging order. We traced the debtor to the US and made an application to court for payment from funds held. Payment recovered in full from the funds held at the court office
  • We were instructed in respect of a substantial council tax account where the liable party could not be traced and would not engage with the Council. Numerous enforcement attempts had also failed. We instructed our tracing agent to locate the debtor and obtained a profile report. We confirmed his whereabouts and also that the property in question was  unencumbered and had been inherited from a family member. We were also able to establish its value.  We issued a letter before action, followed by a statutory demand. The debtor initially refused to pay claiming that the account was in dispute. No satisfactory payment proposal or evidence of a genuine dispute was provided. A bankruptcy petition was subsequently issued.  Despite maintaining a dispute, although never evidenced, the debtor paid the debt in full in advance of the hearing and was subsequently ordered by the court to pay the petition costs in full, which was later paid meaning the net cost to the council was nil

Contact a specialist

Colin Hewitt

Colin Hewitt

Partner | Head of Commercial

+44 (0) 330 137 3402

+44 (0)797 985 8315

Email Colin Hewitt

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Tim Care

Tim Care

Partner | Public Sector

+44 (0) 330 137 3458

+44 (0) 752 590 3378

Email Tim Care

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Paul Scope

Paul Scope

Partner | Employment

+44 (0) 330 137 3167

+44 (0)754 055 6295

Email Paul Scope

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Saji Bratch

Partner | Built Environment

+44 (0) 330 137 3529

+44 (0)751 519 9153

Email Saji Bratch

Read bio

View all contacts

What people say

  • We have sent a significant number of our high value cases and the collection performance has been excellent. The cost to our authority has been negligible and this has been crucial given the constant pressures on our budget

    Brent Council
  • Ward Hadaway are a very knowledgeable, capable and friendly team who have provided a great service to us in all debt streams over the last few years, allowing us to progress complicated cases to a beneficial conclusion. They are so easy to talk to and always have time to explain and advise the best outcome and way forward. The costing structure is always is very fair and transparent.

    Bridgette Cowley, Revenues Group Manager, Southend-On-Sea Borough Council
  • Just a quick note to thank you and your team, especially Sarah and David for the excellent work provided to London Borough of Ealing. I’ve been really impressed with their dedication and effort, they have both been a dream to work with.

    Patrick Hall, Corporate Collections and Housing Benefit Overpayments, London Borough of Ealing
  • We have issued the team with some of our most challenging cases and have been impressed with the speed of recovery resulting in full settlement in most cases. The cost to our authority has been minimal. We have been given our own personal contact who is always available to discuss any of our cases.

    Alan Clark, St Albans City & District Council
  • Since we commenced working with Ward Hadaway in 2016, our revenues staff have praised the efficient, innovative and successful treatment of our Housing Benefit Overpayments and Council Tax and Business Rates debts. We have found their staff to be helpful and professional in providing solutions to the collection of our difficult to collect cases and they have successfully used Charging Orders, Orders for Sale and Bankruptcy to increase our collection.

    Gary Mitchell, Deputy Head of Exchequer Services, London Borough of Bexley Council
  • Ward Hadaway is a leading presence on the public sector side, across health, education and local government.

    Legal 500
  • Skilled in advising on disputed development agreements, insolvency, dilapidations claims, issues concerning covenants and rights of way, and contentious landlord and tenant matters. Represents a variety of clients including developers, investors and public sector entities.

    Chambers & Partners
  • Respected team with a diverse property disputes offering. Recognised for the strength of its landlord and tenant work, with experience extending to possession claims, trespass and rights of way issues, among other matters.

    Chambers & Partners
  • This team earned praise for its advice to significant employers on a range of matters, including employment tribunal claims and TUPE issues.

    Chambers & Partners

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