We are determined to create a more equal Islington, where everyone who lives here has an equal chance to thrive. To do this, everyone who works at Islington Council lives by a set of values which guide us in everything that we do: collaborative, ambitious, resourceful, and empowering. They spell out ‘CARE’, which is what we think public service is all about.
As the Deputy Director of Legal Services, your primary role will be to lead the delivery of Legal Services within Islington Council. You will be responsible for ensuring that the service is effective, fit for purpose, and aligns with the Council’s requirements.
Your duties will include proactively leading, managing, planning, and organising the workflows of the service. You will provide operational and strategic vision, strong leadership, and support as a key management role in the service.
A crucial part of your role will be to ensure that the service is run in the most cost-effective and efficient way. You will also be tasked with raising the profile of Islington Council Legal Services internally, regionally, and nationally through collaborative working, professional networking, and innovation in solutions.
Additionally, you will act as the Deputy Monitoring Officer for the Council.
Main duties of the job
The primary purposes of the Deputy Director of Legal Services are:
- To lead the delivery of Legal Services within the Council
- Ensuring that the service is effective, fit for purpose and in line with the Council’s requirements
- Through proactively leading, managing, planning and organising the workflows of the service
- Becoming a core member of the Law and Governance Management Team
- Providing operational and strategic vision, strong leadership and support as the key management role in the service
- Ensuring that the service is run in the most cost effective and efficient way
- Raising the profile of Islington Council Legal Services internally, regionally and nationally through collaborative working, professional networking and innovation in solutions.
Detailed job description and main responsibilities
- Be accountable for the provision and development of Legal Services
- Deputise for the Director of Law and Governance as required, including the role of Deputy Monitoring Officer
- Be responsible for the Legal Services budget including monitoring and reporting with a view to deliver savings and a cost effective service
- Personally provide high quality and timely legal advice and professional work to Directors and their directorates within the Council
- Ensure that the Council receives timely, effective and customer focussed legal advice that appropriately meets the needs of all stakeholders and customers
- Develop, implement and review the Legal Service improvement plan
- Develop an effective and resilient team including reviewing effectiveness of existing working methods and devise creative approaches to service development in collaboration with relevant staff
- Support the discharge of the statutory duties and responsibility of the Monitoring Officer, promoting high standards of conduct across the Council
- Procure and act as the contract manager for external legal services and advice
- Act as the ‘intelligent client’ enabling better decision making and ensuring value for money through being responsible for the management of external legal expenditure
- Lead on a broad range of legal functions within Legal Services and be accountable for the wide range of advice on critical, sensitive and strategic statutory services such as Adult and Children’s social care, planning and regulatory services
- Undertake other duties and responsibilities of a similar nature as may be required from time to time.
- Resolve the most complex and high-profile legal issues, identifying effective solutions and establishing precedents.
- Institute and defend civil and criminal proceedings on behalf of the Council ensuring pre-court preparations are of the highest quality.
- Issue and receive legal notices on behalf of the Council (except where another officer of the Council is so authorised).
- Review and advise on new legislation, case law and other developments.
- Represent the services at relevant Committees. Also represent the Council on relevant outside bodies, government bodies and other agencies as is appropriate to the services.
- Be an integral member of the Law and Governance Management Team providing advice and leadership to all colleagues and advice and support to Councillors
- Be accountable for the scale, management and organisation of resources and assets within the Legal service to meet corporate standards of performance
- Identify and promote new and innovative opportunities to develop the Legal service for the future including alternative methods of service delivery.
- Advise the Director of Law and Governance of all legal risks resulting from service client decision making, escalating concerns or issues in a timely manner whilst seeking to find resolutions for service managers and managing and resolving conflict which may arise.
- Manage own professional development, keep up to date with relevant statutory legislation, regulations, standards, service developments and initiatives and the Council’s policies and procedures to provide high-level legal advice to service clients and legal staff.
- Be responsible for the promotion and implementation of all the Council’s policies and procedures including equalities and diversity, health and safety, security and the use of personal data.
- A qualified solicitor or barrister and member of a specified legal body, and substantial post qualification experience at senior level in a large organisation.
- A substantial track record of success at senior management level as a solicitor or barrister, within a large, complex organisation
- Evidence of a clear understanding of the legal, financial and political framework of local government, and a record of successful application of relevant legislation and appropriate business management to achieve corporate and service objectives.
- Experience of leadership within large and diverse organisation, which demonstrates achievement at a senior, strategic & corporate management level
- Strategic management experience, including translating organisational drivers into strategic objectives, longer term plans, new ways of working and specific outcomes, for a service in a large public sector organisation (preferably local government)
- Experience of leading staff across multiple practice areas
- Ability to apply relevant laws, including law relating to local government and local authority administration, local government finance, property, social services, data protection and freedom of information, discrimination and harassment, employment and industrial relations, environment, education and civil litigation.
- Exceptional political nous with the ability to apply diplomacy, tact and discretion in challenging situations.
- Ability to communicate clearly and concisely in writing and orally and present arguments in a confident, articulate and persuasive manner at a senior level
- Resilience, not easily deterred in the face of challenges
- Ability to think critically, apply innovative and creative thinking to address complex service challenges
- Strong interpersonal and communication and presentation skills, with proven ability to communicate effectively to a wide range of audiences both horizontally and vertically, financial and non-financial
- Able to lead, inspire and motivate employees and generate a positive working environment
- Ability to adhere to the Council’s Dignity for All policy – and a commitment to championing the Council’s equality policies and practices across all aspects of the role.
It is the policy of Islington Council that no user of service, present or future employee or job applicant receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of their sex, perceived or actual sexual orientation, marital status, race, religion or belief, age, creed, colour, nationality, national origin, ethnic origin, or disability, or on the grounds of their association with someone in one of these groups; nor is disadvantaged by any conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be justified. We welcome applications from Black and Minority Ethnic candidates and acknowledge our responsibility to mitigate against racial discrimination.
Please note: Priority will be given to those at risk of redundancy within Islington Council. Current employees who are part of the redeployment pool must meet the essential criteria for shortlisting to be prioritised.
Islington Council operates a guaranteed interview scheme for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria and we are committed to providing support to applicants who request reasonable adjustments to be made during the recruitment process and throughout their career with us.
We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults, and expects all staff, and volunteers to share this commitment.
We are also committed to flexible working and will consider requests where possible.
Islington Council also operates random drug or alcohol testing for safety critical roles or for where there may be just cause.
To apply for this position please use the online application process. Please note that the council only accepts online applications, no CVs or alternative forms of applications are accepted. If you are unable to use the online process please contact the Recruitment team on 020 7527 2155 or e-mail email@example.com