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In-House Advocate Lawyer (Children’s Social Care)

Job Introduction

Milton Keynes City Council's Legal Services is a fast-paced, dynamic and innovative in-house Legal Service which advises a wide-range of the Council’s departments. From contracts and procurement to child protection, from major development projects to criminal prosecution, the team aim to provide clear, high-quality and pragmatic advice to professional clients.

This post is a fantastic opportunity to join an exciting and innovative legal team as an In-house Advocate and to develop your legal career and expertise.

The department is led by Head of Service Catherine Stephens, a solicitor who has worked for over 25 years in Childcare both in local government and private practice, and who has a real understanding of the demands of the role, and the challenges faced by Legal professionals in this area of law. The department is being restructured to allow individuals to undertake advocacy as their primary role, or to focus on Case management and advice. The lawyers will supported by both a court support team and paralegals to assist in the smooth running of the Children’s Legal Service. We know how important it is to work as a team.

We recognise the importance of managing casework to ensure that whilst the service is delivered expertly, our people are well supported and able to excel in their roles and positively manage the demands of the job. 

We are really proud of the benefits we are able to offer our staff here at Milton Keynes City Council Children’s Services Legal including:-

  • Golden Hello of £5000 at all levels for qualified roles.
  • Capped caseloads to support a good work-life balance.
  • Sabbatical scheme.
  • Expert Supervision and support.
  • Option for Home Based working  - one day in office 4 working from home.
  • Excellent opportunities for development.

Main Responsibility

  • To provide representation in all types of proceedings, including complex matters on behalf of the client department.
  • To carry out advocacy in the Family Court in respect of (but not limited to) the following types of hearing: Case Management; Contested; Fact Finding – including non-accidental injury cases; Issues Resolution; Final – including those lasting 5 days or longer; Applications for an Emergency Protection Order; Applications for a Placement Order; Applications under Section 25 Children Act 1989 (Secure Accommodation); Deprivation of Liberty.
  • To robustly advocate in Court on behalf of the client department to achieve the best outcome in the case.
  • To advise the client department in respect of emergency or urgent applications and to provide representation at Court in respect of those cases, including out of hours cover where necessary.
  • To represent the client department at Advocates Meetings.

The Ideal Candidate

  • Admitted Solicitor, Solicitor/Advocate, Barrister, Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives or equivalent qualification.
  • Good working knowledge of key childcare legislation, in particular The Children Act 1989, The Adoption Act 1976, The Adoption and Children Act 2002, The Children & Families Act 2014 and related delegated legislation.
  • Experience as a childcare specialist in local government or private practice, in the areas of key public childcare legislation, in particular The Children Act 1989, The Adoption and Children Act 2002, The Children & Families Act 2014 and related delegated legislation, statutory and non-statutory guidance and case law.
  • Proven advocacy skills in all tiers of the Family Court.

Package Description

​We are really proud of the benefits we are able to offer our staff here at Milton Keynes City Council, including:-

  • Local Government Pension Scheme, considered to be one of the best employer contribution rates of 18.8%
  • 27 days annual leave per year in addition to statutory and public holidays, rising to 31 days after 5 years. From April 2023 this will increase to 28, and 32 days after 5 years.
  • Holiday Purchase Scheme
  • Our Professional Development Centre provides access to courses such as in-house management development programmes endorsed by the Institute of Leadership, Apprenticeship Programmes (junior and senior), coaching and mentoring and access to our Smarter Learning portal
  • Cycle to Work Scheme
  • Health Cashplan
  • MK Advantage benefits package – a range of savings on a wide range of retail, leisure and entertainment products and services such as Pizza Express, M&S, B&Q, John Lewis and Arriva Travel.
  • SmartGo – Aimed at encouraging low-carbon transport and healthy lifestyle with discounted travel e.g. Halfords, Arriva, Europcar, National Railcards and Stagecoach.
  • Homebuy Scheme (for eligible roles)
  • Smarter working which provides the opportunity to work from various locations including from home for a proportion of your role (subject to business needs)
  • A full range of family friendly policies including enhanced Maternity, Adoption and Paternity entitlements
  • Childcare Subsidy

About the Company

Milton Keynes is a diverse, welcoming, and expanding place, built on smart ideas with even bigger plans for the future. We have world class attractions, beautiful open spaces, and a great standard of living.

Milton Keynes City Council is one of the largest employers in the region, making a difference every day for local people. We’re responsible for all local government services in MK including education, housing, highways, and social services - around 240 services in all.

Our values are to be dedicated, respectful, and collaborative. If this sounds like you, join us for a stimulating and fulfilling career measured on results, and a rewarding work-life balance.

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