Solicitor to the Council job description

This is a description of the job as it is constituted at the date shown August 2014. It is the practice of the Council to periodically examine job descriptions, through the Employee Development Review Scheme, and, update them or incorporate any changes to ensure that they reflect the job performed. The procedure will be conducted in consultation with the post holder.

The aim will be to reach agreement on reasonable changes, but if agreement is not possible the Council reserves the right to make changes to your job description.

Job title

Solicitor to the Council

Directorate

Chief Executive

Section

Not applicable

Salary

Deputy Chief Officer (fixed point)

Post number

004

Location

Wyre Forest House, Finepoint Way, Kidderminster.

Hours

Part time, 22.2 hours per week - see special conditions

Car allowance

Mileage allowance in accordance with Council policy.

Purpose of job

  • To lead on a portfolio of functions and responsibilities including legal services and human resources, and significant aspects of the Council’s corporate governance regime.
  • To act as the Council’s Monitoring Officer pursuant to section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.
  • To be responsible for compliance with the Corporate Governance provisions in relevant legislation including the Localism Act 2011 and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
  • To be responsible for establishing and maintaining a robust ethical framework for Members and officers and the operation of the Code of Conduct for Councillors and Co-opted Members, including establishing and maintaining registers of members’ interests for all District and Parish Councils within Wyre Forest.
  • Responsibility for revision and supervision of the Council’s Constitution.
  • Responsibility for the Legal Team which lie within the “enabling  services” purpose. To ensure that these services are delivered in line with the Council's established and agreed objectives; and that the services enable the delivery of the Council’s other purposes.
  • Responsibility for co-ordinating and oversight of the HR service delivered by Worcestershire County Council.
  • To be a member of the Council's Corporate Leadership Team and to support the Chief Executive and Directors in the delivery of the Council’s agreed purposes (set out below) and in developing the Council's vision, priorities and values.
  • This is an influential senior management role with direct responsibility for driving forward or supporting workstreams within the “Wyre Forest Forward” transformation agenda and being part of the senior leadership team to ensure that the Council's corporate priorities are delivered.
  • To assist in developing an organisation which provides efficient, environmentally sound and customer sensitive services and has the capability of learning from and responding to change.

Reporting relationships to other posts

Reports to the Chief Executive

Requirements in relation to expereince, education, special qualifications and training

  • A degree and/or professional qualification relevant to the post and/or equivalent learning through professional experience.

Main duties and responsibilities

Strategic responsibilities

  1. Taking a full and active role in the corporate leadership of the Council both individually and as a member of the Corporate Leadership Team by contributing to the corporate delivery of the Council's vision, mission and values.
  2. Working corporately and in a professional capacity to build and foster effective working arrangements with other senior managers, Members, Employees, Trade Unions and internal/external partnerships in order to maximise the resources available and deliver effective services.
  3. Assisting in constructing, implementing and revising a strategy for delivery of best value customer-focused services which relate to the needs and aspirations of the people  of  Wyre  Forest,  and  managing  resources  available,  or  potentially available, to meet those needs.
  4. Embracing the Council’s transformation agenda “Wyre Forest Forward” whilst promoting sustainability in the formulation and implementation of Council policies, practices and procedures.

Corporate responsibilities

  1. Participating in the review of the Corporate Plan and annual Business Planning.
  2. To promote and maintain high standards of corporate governance, reporting any issues or serious concerns regarding Corporate Governance issues or non- compliance with Statutory requirements to the Chief Executive and, where appropriate, to  Council.
  3. To give high level advice  on  vires  issues,  including maladministration, financial impropriety, probity and policy framework issues.
  4. Lead role in promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct. To provide confidential  and  sensitive  advice  to  members on interpretation of  Code  of Conduct, including Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Disclosable Interests.
  5. Ensuring that appropriate professional advice and information is given to the Council, Cabinet, Scrutiny and Regulatory Committees and Elected Members within agreed procedures so that they are fully informed and involved in appropriate decision making.
  6. To provide guidance to Councillors and officers, as appropriate, to assist them in understanding   the nature,   breadth   and   requirements   relating   to   legality, avoidance  of  maladministration  and observance  of  codes  of  conduct/practice where there is actual/potential transgression by the Council.
  7. Responsibility for and oversight of the Council’s Constitution.
  8. Taking a lead role on behalf of the Corporate Leadership Team on topics or projects as specified from time to time by the Chief Executive.
  9. Monitoring performance against agreed performance indicators and purposeful measures.
  10. Preparing and monitoring service budgets, in accordance with Council policy, in order to contribute to the delivery of Corporate Objectives and to ensure that the plans  and  policies  are  understood  and  effectively  implemented  to  maximise service outcomes.
  11. To work closely and co-operate with the other professional officers, in particular the Section 151 Officer and Head of Paid Service to ensure that the Council complies within the legal and budgetary framework.
  12. Effectively managing employees, and overseeing the “My Development Review” process which shall include the setting of clear targets and the monitoring and review of performance, in order to maximise the potential of employees and ensure best value service delivery.
  13. Assisting the Chief Executive in the day-to-day management of health, safety and welfare at work of all employees and others who may be affected by the undertakings of the Council as described in the organisation section of the Council's Health and Safety Policy document.
  14. To liaise with County and District colleagues, other public and private organisations to develop best practice and to share expertise.

Service and other responsibilities

  1. Direct and ensure effective management of legal and HR services, as set out from time to time in the management structure.
  2. Establish and maintain a strong ethical framework including behaviour protocols and whistle-blowing procedures.
  3. To 'troubleshoot' specific problems or issues as necessary.
  4. To contribute to peacetime emergency planning and acting as emergency response team leader on the emergency duty rota as appropriate.
  5. To maintain the confidentiality of personal and sensitive information.
  6. To maintain a strategic overview and act in the best interests of the Council rather than the specific interest of a particular stakeholder.
  7. To give authoritative advice and guidance on issues which will be conducive to a culture of propriety and integrity.
  8. To carry out any other duties and responsibilities within the scope of this post which may be allocated from time to time by the Chief Executive.

General duties

  1. As an employee you must comply with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and affiliated regulations. You are also required to comply with the Council’s Health and Safety Policies and take reasonable care for the health and safety of yourself and of others.
  2. Responsibility for ensuring that data created, received or acted upon is of high quality in accordance with the Council’s Data Quality Policy.
  3. To maintain the confidentiality of personal and sensitive information.
  4. To have a flexible approach to the work required to be undertaken, to assist other employees and ensure that the administrative needs of the Council are met.
  5. To work outside normal office hours from time to time as the demands of the post and emergencies dictate.
  6. To demonstrate commitment to the Council’s values of being open, responsive and accountable; promoting sustainable development; putting customers first; valuing employees and working in partnership.
  7. The postholder may be required to carry out any other duties and responsibilities within the scope of the post which may be allocated from time to time by the Chief Executive.

Health and safety statement

As an employee you must comply with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and affiliated regulations. You are also required to comply with the Council’s Health and Safety Policies and take reasonable care for the health and safety of yourself and of others.

Special conditions of the post

The normal working week is one of 22.2 hours but reasonable working hours beyond this will be required in the effective performance of  your duties and responsibilities, and such working will include attendance at evening meetings. Hours worked over and above the standard 22.2 hours per week will be taken as time off in lieu.

The attention of the postholder is drawn to paragraph 70 of the Scheme and Conditions of Service, that he/she is not to prepare any plans on behalf of any applicant to this Council for planning and/or Building Regulations consent.

This post is politically restricted without rights of appeal for exemption to the local authority’s standards committee.

Annual Leave arrangements, or any other planned absence by the postholder, must be agreed with the Chief Executive in advance.

The postholder is required to provide a suitable vehicle for use in connection with the duties of the post. Allowances are paid for business mileage in accordance with the scheme which applies to all staff. Your car insurance should cover you for business use.

Reasonable adjustments will be considered as required by the Equality Act 2010.

The duties described in this job description must be carried out in a manner which promotes equality of opportunity, dignity and due respect for all employees and service users and is consistent with the Council’s Single Equalities Scheme.

Person specifiaction

Essential criteria - qualifications

  • A degree and/or professional qualification relevant to the post and/or equivalent learning through professional experience

Desirable criteria - qualifications

  • A recognised management qualification
  • Membership of relevant professional body
  • Legal qualification

Essential criteria - experience

  • Relevant managerial and professional experience in a related area at a senior level.
  • A successful record of working within a change environment and a commitment to the delivery of Best Value services.
  • A sound knowledge or experience of legislation relevant to the post.

Desirable criteria - experience

  • Proven experience of carrying out the key tasks of this post.
  • Knowledge of principles of, or direct experience of, “lean thinking” methodologies e.g. systems thinking

Essential criteria - knowledge and skills

  • Able to carry out the key tasks of this post.
  • Thorough understanding of the operation of Local Government and the challenges facing local authorities.
  • Proven leadership qualities required to motivate and inspire.
  • You are an inspirational leader i.e. you have developed a successful team that has achieved organisational objectives.
  • Effective budget management skills.
  • Proven excellent communication skills, both written and oral and demonstrable negotiation and advocacy skills.
  • A proven good team player.
  • An innovative proactive approach to recognising and solving problems.
  • Competent in the use of Information Technology.

Desirable criteria - knowledge and skills

  • You have an awareness of organisational politics and how political interests, positions and policies impact on the organisation.
  • You have taken decisive action and made tough decisions.
  • You have held others to account for agreed targets and delivering a high level of service.
  • You are skilled at communicating, engaging and facilitating change.
  • You are a strategic thinker i.e. you have taken a long-term view on how services will need to be developed to meet changing needs.
  • You are skilled at promoting collaborative working with other organisations and users and ensuring decisions complement the corporate agenda.
  • You understand how performance management is planned, shaped and delivered.

Essential criteria - special requirements

  • This job includes duties that may require an element of physical effort and mobility on an occasional basis.
  • To meet the needs of the role, the ability to undertake the full range of duties for the contracted hours will be required.
  • Able and willing to work unsocial hours if required.
  • Able to work under pressure and to tight deadlines.
  • Able to work as part of a small corporate team.