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16 November 2018

Publish date: 16/11/2018

The LLG Awards are a good time to take stock about what it means to be working in local government, demonstrating time and time again the tangible contribution to the local community that our members make.

Clive Myrie set the tone at the start – professional, upbeat, and positive. He presented the awards with authority and gravitas, eminently respectful of the winners. So, who were our stars?

Emma Duncan, our Governance Lawyer of the Year, spends her day job impressively juggling complex political and governance challenges. Kate Hillier earned the title of Litigation Lawyer of the year for her outstanding ability to grasp the complexity, uniqueness and variety of local government litigation with vim and vigour. Junior Lawyer of the Year Paige Ferris – Bedward, a role model for all junior lawyers, was moved to tears by the recognition of her work on complex projects that made such a difference in her community. Our Lawyer of the Year Gary Dalton stands proud of his achievements – remarkable in his ability to work across disciplines; taking time to invest in the lawyers of the future.

The Significant Contribution award went to Jayne Francis-Ward, who has an impressive CV, having played a key role in the foundation of EM LawShare, and working ceaselessly with charities to promote equality.

But it's not just about the individuals. Teamwork counts. People Team of the year, the Education team at Swansea, are seen not just as lawyers, but as a vital part of the wider school community, making life easier for Headteachers with their sheer professionalism. Milton Keynes Procurement and Governance Team had much to celebrate – they clinched the Public / Private Partnership team of the year with their bold and courageous projects.

There were undeniable moments that felt forward looking - the Legal Team of the Year, Southampton and Fareham Legal Services Partnership have undertaken life changing work, delivering innovative projects to inspire the next generation of schoolchildren in the face of growing demand.

Heartening speeches from the winners demonstrated that many have been enablers in the delivery of the objectives of their council. Some have worked hard to transform their departments to ensure they remain sustainable in times of shrinking budgets and resources. All love their job.

Congratulations to all who received one of the coveted awards. In a sector full of challenges, that shows no sign of slowing down, it's important to take the time to pause and say a heartfelt thank you.

Deborah Evans