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Presidents Blog

15th June 2018

Publish date: 15/06/2018

The bi-annual Northern Branch Conference hosted by the LLG North East Branch kicked off yesterday at the Gateshead International Athletics Stadium. The well attended and packed conference was engineered by Tim Briton and Suzanne Gamble, both of Gateshead Council (pictured above) and was supported by a host of sponsors and delegates from the region. Suki Binjal gave the key note address and spoke about the importance of local government lawyers in strategic and policy development roles, noting the need to be experts in the development of new service models; supporting agile governance and establishing effective risk frameworks.

The Conference was also attended by Michael King, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman who identified real merit in the role of LLG and closer working relationships stating he was "looking forward to working more closely with LLG as it has significant influence in local government, particularly on governance and compliance issues". He went on to say he was confident that; "through its professional network, the opportunity can be taken to share 'learning points' as councils continue to operate in challenging environments".

Olwen Dutton, Partner at Anthony Collins and corporate partner noted the North East has a strong and vibrant network, stating "It is a pleasure to meet up again with colleagues and share our experience acting for authorities across the country". Speaking about her session on trading and commercialisation, Olwen stressed the importance of sharing ideas concerning the effective operation of new models and of working operationally outside the council. Judith Barnes, Partner at Bevan Brittan and corporate partner who presented on Governance and Standards echoed the North East sentiment stating, "I look forward to LLG's conferences for their unmissable opportunity to network with colleagues. Nobody does it better".

Whist the north was a hub of activity, 'down south' the London Branch was also busy hosting it's AGM and Summer Garden Party. The event is always well attended and a brilliant opportunity to catch up with old colleagues and hear the news. Movement between London Boroughs means there is usually only two degrees of separation between you and the person you are introduced to, which always lends itself to a very friendly and rejuvenating occasion.

Have a lovely weekend.

Helen McGrath

LLG Policy & Communications Manager