08 December 2017 - Stephen Taylor, Southern Branch LeadPublish date: 08/12/2017
Thoughts from the coal face at Southern Branch.
It is 'all systems go' in Southern Branch. We are finally coming to the end of the tendering process for our call-off contract for legal services. In the last 7 years, around £9 million has been commissioned through it. The contract has saved hours of time in commissioning legal work and overall, we estimate, hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal costs. It is not the only call-off contract in being, or necessarily the largest in terms of volume of work, but as it has been in place since 2006 it may well be one of the longest lasting.
A strong branch structure is important for the future of LLG. In Southern Branch, the quarterly Branch meetings rotate around the branch area and are reasonably well attended with around 20 authorities represented. Some come for the presentation and others come to network at the meeting or over lunch. South West branch members were invited to a meeting in Bath earlier this year as this was a convenient venue for them and it was good to see that many did come along. We also have various special interest groups that meet on a more ad hoc basis depending on the enthusiasm of the SAA organiser. Does this formula of a quarterly branch meeting and SAA group meet the needs of branch members? No-one has yet come up with a viable local alternative!
Just as in other branches, a number of authorities in Southern Branch have joint legal services, and other authorities have either combined or plan to do so. Inevitably, as there are fewer members at Head of Service level, the support of those that are in post to encourage participation in LLG activities and taking time out of the office to attend branch meetings is needed. This is increasingly important not only for the future of the branch network but also, arguably, for LLG itself.
It is crucial that LLG and branch secretaries can communicate directly with individual members. Please ask your colleagues to make sure they are registered with LLG and their local branch so they can receive the weekly LLG bulletin, access the LLG website, and receive information about branch activities.
Southern Branch Lead