Careers in legal and democratic services

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

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Legal and democratic services are responsible for ensuring the legality of the council’s operations and decision-making, providing high quality support to elected members, the council, the executive, committees, directorates and external clients, as well as supporting the democratic processes.

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

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

We are responsible for:

  • ensuring that the council’s operations are lawful
  • ensuring that the decisions taken by members and officers are effective and lawful
  • supporting the delivery of the council’s services and projects
  • maintaining, promoting and monitoring high ethical standards for members and officers
  • providing support to the council’s elected members
  • the conduct of elections
  • providing high-quality legal advice and representation for the council and to some of its key partners
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Our current job opportunities

Children’s services lawyer/solicitor - Northallerton area

Title: Children’s services lawyer/solicitor
Grade: JK and M
Salary: £35,745 to £48,474
Vacancy hours: 37 hours per week
Contract type: full time - permanent
Closing date: 1 March 2024
Interview date: week commencing 11 March 2024
Venue for interview: County Hall Northallerton or Teams

Apply online: Children’s services lawyer/solicitor

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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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Working for us - what we can offer you

North Yorkshire Council is the largest and one of the best local authorities in the country. A recent local government association peer challenge found that our 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. We positively encourage flexible working and we provide you with the technology you need to work from a wide variety of locations. 

"The ability to work from home or another location is a great advantage and legal is very good at accommodating this."

In addition to your salary we offer a range of great benefits to help you financially make life a bit easier. From childcare vouchers, travel loans, shopping and gym discounts to name but a few. You can find more information on the range of benefits we offer in our total rewards programme.

"I have been able to obtain a post-graduate diploma whilst continuing to work part time as part of my career progression."

North Yorkshire is a beautiful place to live and work, and the council is proud of its high calibre staff and services.

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Living and working in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire really is a stunning, vibrant county with safe communities and excellent education. Over the past two years the new national crime figures have revealed North Yorkshire to be the safest place in England. It is rich in heritage and culture, in a back drop of outstanding natural beauty, vibrant cities, market towns, quaint villages, stunning rural and coast landscapes.

If you are considering relocating to North Yorkshire we provide a comprehensive relocation benefits package - subject to eligibility - and as a whole North Yorkshire offers some great employment opportunities for your family members along with a substantial number of good to outstanding performing schools. A simply stunning location to live and work, we really do have it all!

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 just two hours by train. North Yorkshire borders the Lake District, Lancashire, County Durham, and Yorkshire and Humber regions with all they have to offer.

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

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