Reasons for extending current North East Council's Legal Panel

Johan Briggs made this Freedom of Information request to Sunderland City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was successful.

Sunderland City Council,

Since the London Boroughs Legal Alliance (representing 10 London
councils) appointed its legal panel in October 2009 it has
undertaken 3 panel reviews to achieve greater value for money for
the taxpayer.

The opposite appears to have happened with the management of the
Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint legal panel
(representing 5 North East councils). Information in the public
domain suggests that rather than undertake any money saving
reviews, the decision was made to extend the panel on the same
terms and with the same firms for an extra year!

1) Please provide any documents which set out how the decision was
reached to extend the Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint
legal panel for an extra year. This should include any submissions
made to councillors and arguments for / against extending the

2) When and where does the Council expect to advertise the
opportunity to be part of the next Tyne and Wear Metropolitan
Authority joint legal panel?

3) Please provide copies of any emails sent by Council staff to
staff at current panel law firms relating to the letting of the
next Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Authority joint legal panel.

4) Please provide a copy of the last email sent to all staff in the
legal services department reminding them of their obligations to
declare all gifts and hospitality received from law firms.

5) Please provide a list of all gifts and hospitality received by council staff from members of the panel (broken down by firm) since 1.1.2012.

Thank you in advance for your help with this request. I fully
understand that parts of the emails will need to be obscured to
protect personal and other sensitive information.

Yours faithfully,

Johan Briggs

Solicitor - Freedom of Information, Sunderland City Council

Re: Your request for information concerning: 

Reasons for extending current North East Council's Legal Panel.

Council aims to provide available information promptly and in any event
within 20 working days, unless, exceptionally, there is a need to consider
whether the information is exempt from disclosure.

Please note that there may be a charge for providing copies of the
information. If the cost of complying with your request in full exceeds
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the information is supplied. If a charge or fee is payable we will let you

I will contact you again soon in connection with your request.

Please quote the reference below if you contact the Council regarding this

Customer Request Number:  13 12  58

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Julienne Collinson, Sunderland City Council

Dear Mr Briggs,
I refer to your Freedom of Information request set out below. The numbers
in the response below correspond to your numbered questions.
1. The information is not held as no such documents are in existence. The
Tyne and Wear Legal Services Framework was extended for one year as
provided for as an option within its terms.
2. The information is not held. It is expected that this will be
advertised in the near future, following discussions between the local
authorities who wish to be involved.
3. The information is not held by this Authority.
4. The information is not held as no such e-mails have been sent. The
Council's Code of Conduct for Employees contained within the
Constitution contains provisions in relation to gifts and hospitality,
and is available on the Council's intranet site. In addition, Guidance
upon the Acceptance of Hospitality is available on the Law and Governance
page of the intranet.
5. An invitation was made by Dickinson Dees to a member of staff to see a
performance of the Glass Slipper at the Northern Stage on 7th January
2012. The Director of Commercial and Corporate Services approved the
acceptance of the invitation. No other gifts or hospitality have been
received by staff from the Framework firms since 1.1.12.
I hope this is satisfactory. If however you are dissatisfied with this
response to your request for information, you can ask for the response to
be reviewed. The review will be removed from this service area and
co-ordinated by the Council's Information Manager. A request for review
should be directed by e-mail to [1][Sunderland City Council request email],
or by post, or by hand to : The Information Manager, Commercial and
Corporate Services, Civic Centre, PO Box 100, Sunderland, SR2 7DN.

Julienne Collinson,

Assistant Head of Law and Governance,

Commercial and Corporate Services,

Sunderland City Council.

Tel: 01915611354

E-mail: [email address]




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