Insight Local Government Lawyer Insight February 2018 19 Local government law is constantly changing and local authorities need to review their services regularly to ensure they are meeting the needs of their communities. This means that those providing legal services to local authorities – both in the public and private sector – need to find ways of working that meet the requirements of current and future circumstances. The partnering approach helps local authorities and law firms to work effectively and is currently being used by Geldards and Sheffield City Council for a successful working relationship. The organisations involved use the strength of their resources for mutual benefit, going beyond traditional relationships such as provider/client and contractor/sub- contractor. The firms and the local authorities communicate regularly on matters of interest and engage in activities which are useful to all involved, such as training, update meetings, briefings and publicity. This approach can be used effectively to pursue business opportunities. Local authorities have limited resources and will be looking for high quality and cost- effective services. Analysis by local authority and private sector lawyers brings a broad perspective to a potential piece of work, meaning that those who work together in a partnering approach are good at identifying the most effective way of completing work and at writing convincing proposals. A law firm will have experience of tendering for work and acting on many different local authority matters, whilst a local authority will have political awareness and empathy from working directly within local government. These attributes can be used throughout the delivery of a project and the pooling of resources can help achieve efficient delivery and competitive pricing. Many clients now expect added value from providers of legal services. The partnering approach allows organisations to combine their skills and resources to provide added value services, which reduces the demand on each individual organisation and increases the impact of the services. Public and private sector lawyers work together as one team, ultimately achieving the best possible results for the team’s clients. Geldards and Sheffield City Council developed our partnering approach after recognising that each organisation had something to offer the other. We have worked together on a range of initiatives. So far our focus has been on tendering for appointment to frameworks, which will give us a wide range of opportunities Tiffany Cloynes and Gillian Duckworth outline the benefits of the partnership between Sheffield City Council and law firm Geldards for the public and private sector alike. The best of both worlds