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Legal Assistant – Part Time

The following papers are enclosed:

1. Job Advertisement

2. Job description

3. Person specification

4. Arrangements for Selection

5. Information for applicants

6. Guidance notes for applicants

7. Policy on Equality and Diversity

8. Data Protection Policy

9. Application Form

10. Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form

Job Advertisement

Legal Assistant, part-time fixed-term contract, London

An exciting work experience opportunity has arisen to work alongside the Ombudsman’s Legal Adviser in advising on LG Law, HRA, DPA, FOIA and dealing with JR. It may be an ideal stepping stone for you in your legal career. Previous post holders have gone onto secure training contracts with councils, central government and private practice.

The Ombudsmen’s jurisdiction is set out in Part III of the LGA ’74. You will need to have excellent communication skills (both oral and written), the ability to assimilate large volumes

of information and be able to work using your own initiative. You must also be prepared to undertake general administrative duties and be computer literate.

The post is a six month contract with the possibility of extending this for a further six months. The post holder will initially work 4 days a week on a flexible work pattern, with the possibility of increasing to 5 days.

The successful applicant will:

• • • •

Hold a 2.2 degree or above, Have passed the LPC, Have a good understanding of at least one area of local government law (for example housing, social services, planning, education) or the law relating to information Preferably have some experience of working in a legal environment.

Salary: £22788 to £25164 (adjusted to part time hours worked)

Closing date: Tuesday 30 June
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Assessment and Interview: Assessments will take place in London on 9 and 10 July. Interviews will be scheduled during the week commencing 13 July.
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Anticipated start date is 17 August.
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How to apply For an information pack and application form, please email: hr.recruitment@lgo.org.uk

For information about the Ombudsman, visit our website: www.lgo.org.uk

We welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Job Description

Job title:

Legal Assistant

Grade:

21 -25

Accountable to: The Head of Policy and Research (with day-to-day direction of work by the Commission’s Legal Adviser or in her absence the Deputy Chief Executive)

Liaises with:

Internal includes • • • • • Deputy Chief Executive Other staff in Corporate services Local Government Ombudsmen Deputy Ombudsmen Investigative staff

External includes • • • External solicitors/lawyers retained by the Commission, solicitors acting for complainants and local authorities the Administrative Court office

Job summary

Provide research, advice drafting and general support to the Commission’s Legal Adviser in his/her role in advising and undertaking legal work for the Ombudsmen, Deputy Ombudsmen and Deputy Chief Executive. To assist these individuals directly in the absence/unavailability of the Legal Adviser..

Duties

1. Carry out research on the law and guidance as directed by the Commission’s Legal Adviser, Ombudsmen, Deputy Ombudsmen and Deputy Chief Executive and provide advice and/or draft responses or letters including answers to Parliamentary Questions

2. Attend internal and external meetings related to legal matters and where requested, produce minutes

3. Provide advice on Data Protection and Freedom of Information Act requests, in conjunction with the Communications and Records Manager, including suggesting changes to guidance and practice

4. Assist the Legal Adviser in judicial reviews against the Commission by considering the merits of a claim, drafting pre-action protocol responses and acknowledgements of service and summary grounds to oppose a claim for judicial review, attending court for any hearing and providing a note of the proceedings.

5. Advise on changes in the law that have implications for the work of the Commission and suggest any changes to policy or practice notes

6. Provide general administrative support to the Commission’s Legal Adviser, including cover in his/her absence.

7. Undertake other duties related to the work of the Policy and Research Unit appropriate for this level of post.

September 2008

Person specification

Note:

The Commission has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for candidates who cannot meet these requirements, because they are disabled under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Job title: Legal Assistant

1.

Qualifications

Essential:

Law degree or graduate (2.2 and above)

LPC (pass or above)

2.

Experience

Essential: IT literate

Proven experience of on line legal research

Desirable:

Experience of working in a legal environment

3.

Knowledge

Essential: A good understanding and working knowledge of at least one area of local government law (for example housing, social services, planning, education, etc)

4.

Personal aptitudes and skills

Essential: Evidence of: • • • • • • • • • Ability to organise own work and work on own initiative Able to assimilate large volumes of information and identify key points and legal issues Accuracy Ability to be detail conscious Good telephone manner Good keyboard skills Able to communicate clearly and concisely orally and in writing Able to think laterally Able to maintain confidentiality

5.

Disposition

Essential: • • • • Commitment to providing a service. Willingness to work flexibly. Commitment to the purpose and values of the Commission. Commitment to equality and diversity.

September 2008

Appointment of Legal Assistant

Arrangements for selection

1.

All applicants not short-listed for assessment and interview will be informed.

2. A number of applicants will be invited to complete a test and exercise designed to assess abilities related to the requirements of the job. Assessments will take place on the 9 and 10 of July 2009.
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3. A further list will then be prepared for interview. The selection interview panel will be Anne Whitehorn, Legal Adviser and a representative from Human Resources.

4.

Interviews will take place during the week commencing 13 July 2009.
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5. The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 5pm on Tuesday 30 June.
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6.

Application forms should be sent to hr.recruitment@lgo.org.uk or posted to:

Local Government Ombudsman 10 floor
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Millbank Tower Millbank SWlP 4QP

Att: Human Resources

7.

Anticipated start date is 17 August 2009.
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Information for candidates

Salary scale for post of Legal Assistant – Part Time Salary Scale £22,788 (point 21) to £25,164 (point 25) - adjusted to part time hours worked

Working hours The normal working hours are 9am -5pm each day.

The post holder will initially work 4 days a week on a flexible work pattern, with the possibility of increasing to 5 days.

Environment The office is based at Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP. The Commission has a café on site. Also, there are free drinks and facilities to heat or cook food at lunch time. There is a compulsory no smoking policy within the office.

Pension The Commission’s pension scheme is administered by the London Pension Funds Authority. Deductions are made from salary at the rate of 6.5%.

Annual leave There are 22 days annual leave per annum with three additional extra statutory days at Christmas, pro rata to hours worked.

Health Care Staff are eligible to join the Benenden Healthcare Scheme to complement the NHS service.

Guidance Notes for Applicants

Before you start to complete the application form, you are advised to read the information that has been included in the information pack sent to you. You will see that two of the documents refer specifically to the post in which you are interested - the job description and the person specification.

The job description lists the main duties and key tasks of the post. The person specification describes the qualifications, experience, knowledge and skills which the job holder needs to carry out the duties of the post. It is against these criteria that your application will be assessed.

Give only the information asked for in each section of the application form. Do not substitute a CV for any or all of the application form as it will not be considered.

At the end of the application form you are asked to give evidence to support your belief that you are the right person for this job. Do not simply reproduce information you have used in other applications but target your application to the information required by the person specification.

It is not enough to say that you meet the requirements of the person specification. You should demonstrate with clear examples how you meet the requirements of the post. If you do not tell us, we are unable to make assumptions about your experience. Remember that you are asked to do this in around 350 words.

In describing your experience you may draw widely, where appropriate, from eg. employment, voluntary or community work or training but not from your educational study.

We ask you to address the main heading of each section of the person specification. We do not expect you to cover every point.

Please use a black ink pen or ballpoint, typewriter or word processor to complete the application form. It should be completed as fully and clearly as possible. Print your answers if your normal writing is difficult to read.

Please let us know if you need assistance in completing the form because of any disability and we will be pleased to advise.

Please note the closing date by which completed application forms must be received by the Commission. Applications posted the night before often do not reach us in time to be included for consideration. Proof of posting is not proof of delivery.

Policy on Equality and Diversity
a. The Commission is totally opposed to all forms of unfair discrimination. It is committed to conducting its business in a way which is fair and appropriate to all sections of the community. This may mean taking positive steps to ensure equal opportunities in employment and equal access to its service. b. The Commission will demonstrate its commitment by promoting, maintaining and rigorously implementing this Policy and a Code of Practice on Equality and Diversity, which will underpin all decisions and actions taken by the Commission and its employees.

Employment
a. The Commission seeks to ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment than another on grounds of, for example, sex, disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic group, regional or national origin, age, marital status, trade union activity, political or religious belief, class or sexual orientation.

b. The Commission is committed to providing appropriate and relevant training in equality and diversity for all staff.

Service delivery
a. The Commission recognises the need to deliver services in ways which are appropriate to everyone and whenever possible removing barriers which will limit access. b. The Commission is committed to following the requirements of legislation against discrimination and related victimisation which are summarised in the Commission’s Code of Practice.

Discrimination
a. The Commission recognises that discrimination may be direct or indirect and aims to ensure that its policy and procedures cover both. b. ‘Direct discrimination’ consists of treating a person less favourably than others are, or would be, treated in the same circumstances. c. ‘Indirect discrimination’ consists of applying, in any circumstances, a requirement or condition which, intentionally or not, has a disproportionately adverse effect on a particular group.

Implementation and review
a. The Commission will review and monitor the implementation of the policy and take action as necessary. It will maintain an advisory group to help it to do this, the terms of reference of which are described in the Code of Practice.. b. It is the individual responsibility of every member of staff to ensure this policy is applied in practice, both in employment and in serving the public. c. The responsibility to abide by the Commission’s Equality and Diversity Policy and Code of Practice will be included in every job description, making it a contractual obligation. A special responsibility falls on those who have staff management, recruitment and personnel management responsibilities. d. The Deputy Ombudsmen and Deputy Chief Executive collectively, have responsibility for the implementation of this policy, with one of the Deputies nominated to take the lead role. 1

Recruitment Information – Data Protection Policy

This document explains how we process and safeguard information we gather and hold associated with staff recruitment, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). It also explains how you can obtain a copy of any personal information we may hold about you.

What personal data we hold You may have visited the recruitment page on our website. If you did so you may have given us information such as your name, address or email for enquiries. If this is the case, the information received will be kept only for the time taken to process your enquiry.

If you applied for a job we will have your application form. We may also have additional information that is gathered in the course of short-listing, testing or interview. We will have extracted information linked to your application for the purposes of monitoring race, sex and disability which is held separately because of its ‘sensitive’ nature.

If you are a successful candidate we will gather and hold information linked to your references, verification of educational qualifications and a medical questionnaire administered by our Occupational Health Physician.

How we manage your data All information related to recruitment is kept separately and securely in our Human Resources Unit. Access is strictly controlled and limited only to those who need to see it in the course of their duties.

We hold information concerning unsuccessful candidates for one year. This is to allow for any complaints or disputes. After this time, the paper and electronic records are securely destroyed. We just keep basic anonymised data for monitoring purposes comprising date of birth; postcode; gender; and ethnicity.

We may keep more detailed electronic and paper records about unsuccessful candidates for more than one year if we need it to improve our recruitment processes (eg for test validation). If we do so, the records will be anonymised.

Information about successful candidates is held on their personal file.

Your rights to see the information we hold about you You are entitled to have a copy of the information we hold about you. This right is the ‘right to subject access’ under the DPA. You are also entitled to be told where the information came from, what it is used for and if it is disclosed to anyone. There are some specific exceptions as set out in the Act; for example, we are allowed to refuse requests where releasing the information would prejudice the privacy rights of a third party.

How to apply for subject access You can contact us to request a copy of the information we hold. Requests can be made either in writing or by email to the address used for your job application.

We must be sure that we are releasing information to the right person. So you will be asked to supply information to prove your identity.

Responsibility for your personal data Nigel Karney, Deputy Chief Executive and Secretary is the ‘Data Controller’ of the information we hold about you. This means that he holds full responsibility for the security of your data.

The Commission’s contractors From time to time the Commission uses contractors or agencies as part of the recruitment process. They are required to comply with the Commission’s policy on data protection.

22 February 2005