Careers in legal and democratic services

Find out about careers in our legal and democratic services department.

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Are you passionate about providing robust and strong legal guidance to the public sector? Do you have a strong commitment to making a positive impact on communities through your legal expertise? If so, we want you to join our vibrant and pioneering legal team.

Our legal services are unique in their size and scope of delivery and offer the chance for you to have a fascinatingly diverse and positive career within local government. The formation of the new council in April 2023 has made us geographically the largest council in the country and the largest employer in North Yorkshire, meaning the opportunity we can offer you as a legal professional is unique. We have effective leadership within the service who are dedicated to ensuring that their teams have the very best training, development and career opportunities. You will work alongside a large team of experienced and supportive colleagues, providing you with the opportunity to share ideas, best practice and expertise. Additionally, due to the size of our teams, we have the opportunity to offer you a wide and varied caseload, so that you can benefit from wider exposure and an increased skill set.

The legal team is part of Legal and Democratic Services within the Chief Executive’s group. The council provides a range of services across North Yorkshire, and the legal team provide a comprehensive and efficient legal service to officers, the Executive, full council, its committees and members, and external clients.

Legal and democratic services lie at the heart of everything that the council thinks and does. 

We are also responsible for supporting the promotion of high ethical standards within the organisation.

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Our current job opportunities

Lawyer / Solicitor

Title: Lawyer / Solicitor
Grade: JK - M
Salary: from £35,745 up to £48,474 per annum pro rata
Hours: full time
Contract type: permanent
Location: flexibility over agreeing which one of our council offices locations the role is based from, with hybrid working opportunities and a requirement to cover the North Yorkshire area for hearings and meetings.
Closing date: 27 May 2024

Apply online: Lawyer / Solicitor

Paralegal officer - Northallerton area / hybrid

Title: Paralegal officer
Grade: E
Salary: from £23,893 up to £25,119 per annum, pro rata
Vacancy hours: full time - 37 hours per week
Contract type: permanent
Location: County Hall, Northallerton - hybrid working available
Closing date: 27 May 2024

Apply online: Paralegal officer

Governance officer

Title: Governance officer
Grade: H
Salary: from £29,269 up to £32,067 per annum pro rata
Contract: permanent
Hours: full time - 37 hours per week
Locations: Flexibility over agreeing which one of our council offices locations the role is based from, with hybrid working opportunities and a requirement to cover the North Yorkshire area for hearings and meetings.
Closing date: 27 May 2024

Apply online: Governance officer

Legal officer - property

Title: Legal officer - property
Grade: F and H
Salary: from £25,119 up to £32,076 per annum pro rata
Contract: permanent
Hours: full time - 37 hours per week
Location: North Yorkshire, with the flexibility over agreeing which one of our council offices locations the role is based from, with hybrid working opportunities and a requirement to cover the North Yorkshire area for hearings and meetings.
Closing date: 27 May 2024

Apply online: Legal officer - property

Senior Scrutiny Officer - Northallerton area

Title: Senior Scrutiny Officer
Grade: L
Salary: From £40,221 up to £44,428 per annum pro rata
Hours: Part time (22.5 hours per week)
Contract: Permanent
Location: Based at County Hall, Northallerton, although working from other council offices can be accommodated.
Close date: 28 April 2024

Apply online: Senior scrutiny officer

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Hear from some of our team

What is it like working within the legal team?

"Although we specialise in different areas of the law, you feel as though you are one big team and you can always rely on your colleagues for help, guidance and support."

"It is busy but very interesting and there is a lot of team work."

"I love working in the legal team and find the work interesting and varied. There are opportunities to move around between the different teams within legal and democratic services which is great for experience and allows you to find an area that suits you."

"I really enjoy working within the legal team. Everyone is so friendly and approachable and willing to help you. You can ask people from different areas any questions and they will answer them for you."

What do you think of our flexible working opportunities?

"The flexible working policy is great as it means you can still do your required hours but not necessarily at a specified time, such as starting the day later or finishing the day earlier. The ability to work from home or another suitable location as and when the need arises is a great advantage and legal is very good at accommodating this."

"The flexible working is very good."

"Flexi working is really handy and helps to strike a good work-life balance."

"I sometimes use flexi, when I need to leave early and I really like the fact I can work flexibly as it makes it so much easier."

What training and development is available to you?

"I have been able to obtain a postgraduate diploma whilst continuing to work part-time as part of my career progression. Legal were more than happy to accommodate this and by learning on the job, I have been able to incorporate my training and development into my everyday work."

"CPD training is very accessible."

"There are definitely progression opportunities available and I have been able to gain support with my studying as well as a wealth of experience which will really assist my career going forward. Staff are very supportive and promote career development."

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Read more about our teams and services

Democratic services

The democratic services are the core source of advice and support for the democratic processes of the council. They support the democratic decision making processes of the council, executive, committees, individual councillors and officers, and the appeal processes related to employment matters, schools admissions and home to school transport.

Legal services

Legal services are responsible principally for ensuring the legality of the council’s operations including:

  • the provision of legal advice to the council and executive, committees, directorates, and council members on all aspects of local government law
  • representing the council in courts and tribunals
  • undertaking the statutory duties attached to the role of monitoring officer
  • advising members in relation to the code of conduct
  • maintaining the members register of interests
  • the provision of a legal service to external bodies such as the North Yorkshire fire and rescue authority and other public bodies and companies
  • the maintenance of the council’s constitution and other governance frameworks
  • monitoring and advising on legislation

Commercial contracts and procurement team

The commercial contracts and procurement team is responsible for advising on the law relating to contracts, procurement, local authority companies and general commercial issues including:

  • providing advice on all aspects of contracts for supplies, works and services - we advise upon suppliers' terms and conditions, draft contract and project agreements and we oversee the drafting of the council’s procurement manual
  • advising on the law relating to contracts and procurement, especially the council’s own contract and property procedure rules and the Public Contract Regulations 2015
  • advising on and drafting procurement documentation
  • involvement in project teams for complex and corporate projects
  • advising on the issues relating to partnership working including governance and legal powers
  • drafting and advising upon grant agreements, for example from external funding agencies such as ERDF and the lottery fund
  • dealing with the legal aspects of insourcing and outsourcing of services
  • advising on intellectual property rights such as copyright and trademarks
  • advising and assisting with the legal aspects of education, joint use projects and academisation
  • advising and assisting with traded services contracts and managed service framework agreements
  • providing strategic advice to the council as members of the corporate procurement group
  • attending meetings of various strategic groups such as the tactical property group and the central services procurement group
  • providing advice in respect of the setting up of local authority controlled companies
  • providing company law advice and state aid advice

Business and environment legal team

The business and environment team in legal and democratic services advise members and officers of the council on its functions relating to planning, highways and public rights or regulatory controls over land in its administrative area. 

Our main areas of work are: 

  • planning
  • highways - maintenance and improvement
  • adoption of roads
  • traffic and transport
  • compulsory purchase
  • public right of way
  • town and village greens
  • waste management
  • environmental law and regulation
  • flooding and drainage

Education, employment and litigation team

The education, employment and litigation team provide comprehensive, efficient and expedient legal advice to the council and external clients, including schools / academies. The team provides advice on all aspects of employment law, education law including Special Educational Needs, debt recovery and civil litigation. In addition, our friendly, supportive staff provide advice to external clients on a wide range of legal issues such as civil litigation, contract, tort, information governance and school complaints.

Our main areas of work are:

  • employment law, including employment tribunals, both for internal and external clients
  • education law, both for internal and external clients, advising on the schools legal helpline
  • special educational needs, including special educational needs tribunals
  • debt recovery
  • civil litigation, including school attendance prosecutions
  • information governance
  • contract law
  • tort

Adults team

The adults team provides advice to health and adult services on all aspects of adult social care, including:

  • ordinary residence
  • eligibility - both as regards needs and financial eligibility
  • s117 MHA aftercare
  • the provision of care
  • deprivation of liberty
  • safeguarding
  • complex financial matters related to financial assessment and charging for adult social care
  • advice and support in health and adult services safeguarding / financial abuse cases
  • advice and support in the recovery of social care debts
  • the preparation of legal briefs on a wide range of topics for HAS managers and operational staff
  • legal surgeries
  • advice and support to pursue outstanding debts due to the council

Awards, accolades and achievements

We are Lexcel accredited.

Apprentice of the year (CILEX) 2018 - shortlisted.

LLG young lawyer of the year award 2016.

We are an innovative and forward-thinking council.

First North Law

First North Law launched in March 2020, becoming the first local authority in the north to trade its legal service.

Our newly formed company has the ability to trade more widely in a range of specialist legal services to other public sector bodies as well as the private sector. The creation of the company supports the council’s commercial growth with its expanding portfolio of services offered to external markets, including initiatives in education, waste disposal, broadband, information governance and auditing and in property. These commercial ambitions are driven by the council’s determination to protect as well as transform frontline services.

We offer services across a wide range of fields including:

  • education and schools law
  • adult and children’s social care
  • employment law
  • debt recovery
  • information law
  • governance
  • commercial and procurement services
  • business and environmental services such as advice on minerals and waste planning
  • highways maintenance and improvement and flooding - the council is the lead flood authority

We also offer training across all of these specialisms.

We are a highly professional body and, as we work for a local authority with an outstanding record in areas like children’s services, and in transforming services and organisational delivery, people can be confident that we work to the highest standards and with great integrity.

With holding the Lexcel accreditation for almost two decades, we have an enviable background and reputation and we pride ourselves in achieving excellent customer satisfaction.

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What we can offer you

We offer modern work practices, enabling colleagues to work from home or their chosen base, with office across the geography of North Yorkshire to choose from. We regularly come together as a team for development, connection and collaboration, otherwise we work where its most productive to do so. You will be provided with technology to enable efficient and effective work, ensuring that you are connected and well supported. You are provided with a comprehensive benefits package with an excellent employer defined pension scheme, enhanced holidays, flexible working to help you thrive at home and well as work.

Why work for us

We are strong performing authority, with supportive political leadership, and talented teams providing the platform to have a fulfilling, challenging and successful career in a truly stunning place.

A recent peer challenge found that the council is a good place to work, with strong leadership and a loyal and committed workforce who have access to well-regarded training and development.

We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice, offering a range of training and development opportunities and career progression allowing you to manage your own development journey and empowering you to control your career. Your career can change with your life here in North Yorkshire.

We positively encourage flexible working and we provide you with the technology you need to work from a wide variety of locations.

We believe in the importance of inclusion, which is why we are always working towards being a more diverse, equitable and inclusive employer. Find out more about our equality, diversity and inclusion work on our working for us page. You can bring your whole self to work, and we will support you to be the best that you can be.

Our values, behaviours and ambitions underpin everything we do.

In addition to your salary, we offer a range of great benefits to help you financially make life a bit easier. These include:

  • a local government, career average employer contribution pension scheme
  • family friendly leave
  • salary sacrifice schemes
  • modern flexible working practices
  • learning and development packages
  • career advancement opportunities
  • employee discount benefits including shopping and gym discounts
  • green car and cycle schemes
  • travel loans

You can find more information on the range of benefits we offer on our total rewards page.

Watch this video to find out about our employee networks.

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Living and working in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire is a thriving county that adapts to a changing world and remains a special place to live and work.

North Yorkshire's natural beauty is captured in its three areas of outstanding natural parks, national nature reserves, stunning coastlines, scenic rural villages, vibrant cities and market towns. North Yorkshire really is a beautiful, thriving and special place to live and work, rich in heritage and culture.

North Yorkshire features significantly in the ten best places to live in the UK in Halifax Quality of Life Survey. The Quality of Life index aims to quantify where living standards are highest in the UK by ranking local performance across a range of indicators. Local areas featured in the top ten included Richmond, Selby and Malton.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics bulletin positions North Yorkshire as the safest place in England with extremely low crime rates.

In addition, the county benefits from excellent road and rail links, with easy access via the east coast mainline, the A1(M) and A19. Leeds, York, Newcastle, Durham and Teesside are all easily commutable, and London and Edinburgh are just two hours away by train.

From its lively cities to pretty villages, rolling countryside and grand coastline, Yorkshire has so much to offer including great employment opportunities for your family members, along with a higher proportion of schools which are good or outstanding compared to national figures.

You can find out more about what North Yorkshire has to offer on the No place like North Yorkshire website.

Application tips

Find advice on making your application.

Contact us and apply

If you feel you have the skills, passion, and drive that we are seeking, we want to hear from you!

To apply please submit your application via our jobs and careers site.

We will not accept applications from agencies.