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Senior 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 a Children’s Social Care Senior Lawyer and to establish and 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.
  • Access to the in-house advocacy team and or support to develop own advocacy skills.

Main Responsibility

  • To manage a caseload of the most complex and novel child protection matters ensuring that all work is both of a high quality and delivered in a timely manner. All work should be undertaken with the purpose of assisting the council to achieve its business objectives and operates within the wider policy context.
  • To undertake advocacy, including fact finding and contested final hearings, at all levels of the Family Court including High Court and the Family Drug and Alcohol Court.
  • To establish and maintain a deep understanding of the client’s business needs and objectives as these evolve over time through building professional relationships, ensuring those objectives are understood and shared by colleagues.
  • As a Senior Lawyer to be responsible for the quality of the advice, advocacy and casework of assistant solicitors or legal assistants as arranged with the Principal through supervision or other arrangements.

The Ideal Candidate

  • Qualified Solicitor or Barrister (Supreme Court of England and Wales/English Bar) or Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives or equivalent relevant qualification with relevant experience.
  • Higher Rights of Audience or willing to work towards obtaining higher rights.
  • Significant experience of providing advice in complex and novel situations and conduct of advocacy in proceedings relating to children.
  • Significant knowledge of relevant local government law.
  • The role holder will be able and committed to working in a flexible manner, including unsociable hours and weekends, when the role necessitates the same.

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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