Essex Legal Services ("ELS") is the award winning in-house legal service of Essex County Council, one of the largest local authorities in the country. Its innovative vision has led to ELS being at the forefront of developing shared legal services and proactively disseminating its expertise and experience with a wide range of public bodies.
All public bodies, large and small, increasingly require expert advice to deal with complex situations, including major commercial projects, against a backdrop of cost restraint. ELS has developed and structured its teams to conduct a wide range of legal work for Essex County Council and other public bodies. This includes a focus on major commercial projects and procurements including organisational transformation, governance, outsourcing and the creation of Academies.
ELS offers a breadth and depth of services from the conduct of child care proceedings to employment, personal injury claims and property transactions. Our people are highly skilled and client focussed. Our service combines commercial acumen with public sector ethos. We have been accredited with the Lexcel standard since 1999 and strive to put the needs of our clients first.
ELS has conducted legal services for other public bodies for a number of years. It has successfully tendered for work and is on two large frameworks of legal service providers in London and the South West. Our clients include other councils, probation trusts, fire and police authorities, schools and academies. As a result ELS have generated income for ECC and provided excellent services at low cost to other public bodies.
ELS has led the way in shared services. In 2008 it was a founding member of the ELS Partnership which evolved into the Public Law Partnership with members across Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire. The Partnership provides real benefits and savings by pooling resources to procure services and through and internal market enabling partners to conduct work on each others behalf at discounted rates. The Partnership provides shared expertise and opportunities for staff to develop. Recently ELS has established a Business Hub with three other partner authorities to provide shared practice management including business systems and management information. This enables effective sharing of services without the need for formal merger or transfer of staff. Led by a Board, with shared management, it aims to create a regionally deployed legal service taking advantage of economies of scale and greater capacity to deliver a higher quality of service, real efficiencies and enhanced trading capability.
ELS is a member of the Legal Services Collaboration (of East of England authorities) and contributed to the launch of a counsel's database which is an invaluable aid to negotiating fees at best value as well as a trading database to enable authorities to offer services to each other across the region.
Winner LGC Award 2010
Winner Municipal Mutual Award 2010
Shortlisted Lawyer Award 2010