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Mansfield to bring legal service back in-house

Mansfield District Council is on a recruitment drive after deciding not to renew the shared legal service it has had with Ashfield District Council since 2012.

A review of the shared service, which was up for renewal in October this year, concluded that Mansfield’s locally specific priorities and challenges were different to those of its partner and therefore required different skills and experience.

The council subsequently decided to build a new, tailored service in-house to assist it in meeting its priorities and reflect the needs of the business. It is hiring for the following roles:

  • Service Manager – Legal Services and Deputy Monitoring Officer
  • Senior Lawyers
  • Lawyers
  • Graduate Legal Assistant
  • Information Governance Manager and Data Protection Officer, and
  • Information Governance Officer.

Information on all these roles can be found on Public Law Jobs here. The closing date for all roles is 14 February with interviews to be conducted early March.

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Sarah Hall, Head of Law and Governance at Mansfield, said: “This is a really exciting time to be joining Mansfield District Council, we have some key projects ongoing and having an in-house legal service will be essential to the delivery of those.

“We are a small council which presents the opportunity for legal officers to get involved in a variety of projects and make a difference. We have a low turnover of staff and it is a friendly place to work with a strong team ethic.”

She added that its new legal officers would have the opportunity to work with officers from across the council, elected Members (including the directly elected Mayor) and its external partners.

Hall said that – through the East Midlands Development Network (for EM LawShare) – Mansfield is working with partner firms Bevan Brittan, Browne Jacobson and Weightmans in not only the recruitment process but also with offers of mentoring contracts to help people take the next step in their career.

She explained: “I want to encourage people who have the right skills to feel confident and supported in moving to a more senior post, in returning to the workplace after a career break or in moving from another legal sector.

“Similarly I’ve made the Lawyer posts career graded so that trainees nearing qualification, newly-qualified individuals or those with no experience of local government can see that there are opportunities to develop.”

Mansfield will also in due course be offering three apprenticeship roles within the new legal service – a Legal Administration Apprentice, an Information Governance Apprentice and a Solicitor Apprentice.

“These roles will really help the council to ‘grow our own’ and offer opportunities to people that are away from the usual A level and university route,” Hall said.

Mansfield’s Head of Law and Governance also said she was open to a discussion on any form of flexible working, “be that part time, condensed hours, home working etc” for all of the roles within the new legal service.

“This is about attracting people with the right skills to help Mansfield achieve its priorities but also recognising that we all have lives outside of work and there is a balance to be struck,” she said.

Mike Robinson, Co-CEO at Mansfield, has backed the development of an in-house service.

He said: “This is a great time to join the council as we push forward with our ambitious, Growth, Wellbeing, Place & Aspiration plans. We can offer an exciting range of legal service roles at a time of significant growth and development.

“There are a range of exciting and ambitious regeneration plans including developing a new multi-occupational town centre service hub, a new Community Leisure hub and plans to create more town centre living on brownfield sites. These major projects provide great opportunities for legal officers to become involved in such impactful schemes.”

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