Newsletter updates members about progress made by the Association since October
1998. The Chairman apologises to members for not being able, due to other work
commitments, to send out any Newsletters in 1999. As will be obvious from this Newsletter, the Chairman is
pleased to confirm that the Association continues to make progress on many
Website : Members should note that
the Chairman designed, launched in January
1999 (and continuously maintains) a website presence for the Association at www.balgps.freeserve.co.uk.
The Chairman regularly places lots of up-to-date information on the website and,
as such, members are encouraged to access the website for more up-to-date news
and information about the Association and the Bar Council.
appreciates that not all members have access to the Internet. This Newsletter,
therefore, summarises some of the important information available on the
website. Any member wishing to place any information on the website should
contact the Chairman for further information. Articles of general interest to
members are always welcome.
The Chairman is minded
to set up an e-mail group of members
so that Newsletters and other more up-to-date information can be e-mailed
quickly to members. Any member wishing to be part of this e-mail group should e-mail the Chairman at: Chairman@balgps.freeserve.co.uk.
Raising the Association's Profile :
In keeping with the Feedback Questionnaire results of 1998, the
Chairman has continued to raise the profile of the Association by:-
representing the Association on the
Bar Council (the Chairman was successful in securing co-option to the Bar
Council in May 1999); and
working with other professional
organisations, such as the Association of Council Secretaries & Solicitors,
Local Government Association, CIPFA's Best Value Advisory Service, Law Society's
Local Government Group and the Local Government Information Unit.
In addition, following
the successful completion of his LLM in Employment & Industrial Relations
Law in late 1998, the Chairman published a booklet on the 'Implications of the
Human Rights Act 1998 for UK Local Government'. This booklet is available to
members (free of charge) from the Chairman.
The Chairman has also spoken
extensively at national conferences organised on the Human Rights Act and is
speaking at other national conferences this year.
Chairman's commitments for 1999 / 2000 :
Some highlights from the Chairman's commitments in 1999, along with a list of
his current commitments for 2000, are attached. Any member wishing to play a
more active part in the work of the Association is encouraged to contact the
Chairman or the Secretary.
Articles written by the Chairman in 1999 / 2000:
The Chairman has written
articles, for various national organisations, on:-
Preparing for Best Value Service
Review of Legal Services;
Consultation in Local Government Legal Services;
Benchmarking in Local Government
Business Excellence Model;
Best Value : Productivity &
Performance in Local Government Legal Services;
Search for Quality : ISO 9001
Quality Assurance in Local Government Legal
Dawn of a new era of Rights; and
The Silent Tide of Change (Human
Most of these articles are available on the Association's website. If any member would like a copy of any of the articles, please contact the Chairman.
Association's membership :
As respects attracting new members to the Association, the Chairman sent a
letter, in January 1999, to almost all local authority chief executives in
England & Wales. The Association only paid the postage costs of this
initiative. This initiative not
only proved successful in raising the profile of the Association but also
achieved its aim of increasing membership.
The Association's database
now stands at about 110 members. Since 1998, 10 new members have joined and a
few members have retired. Any member who knows of other barristers, who may wish
to join our Association, should ask them to contact the Chairman or the
Secretary for further information.
Local Authority bias : In
addition to the chief executive mail-shot initiative, the Chairman continues to
challenge local authorities that blatantly advertise for 'solicitor only'
These challenges are
becoming less frequent and local authority jobs are now becoming increasingly
open to employed barristers. Once the right to litigate restriction is removed
by the Bar Council (hopefully, later this year!), there will no longer be any
reason why employed barristers could not be considered and appointed to
'Solicitor to the Council' positions.
Feedback on the Consultation Questionnaire:
As will be apparent from the above, the Chairman has endeavoured to
progress and successfully address, within the time available to him, all the
points raised in the Consultation Questionnaire of 1998, viz.:-
"Enhanced rights of audience
and rights to conduct litigation (this received unanimous support);
Maintain profile of employed bar
and representation at the Bar Council;
Deal with local authority bias
towards employed solicitors and against employed barristers; and
Undertake a marketing drive to
increase membership of the Association."
With the support of the
membership, the Chairman will continue to build on the progress made to date. If
any member wishes to raise any other subjects for action by the Association,
s/he is encouraged to contact the Chairman or the Secretary.
consultations : The Association
has continued to consider (and duly respond where time has permitted) to
Consultation papers issued by the Government with regard to:-
ĹModernising Local Governmentĺ
(on Best Value, Ethical Standards, Monitoring Officer and 'New Constitution'
Rights of audience and rights to
Review of Judicial appointments
& QC selection procedures; and
Restructuring the Bar Vocational
The Chairman &
Vice-Chairman also attended a high level meeting, in 1999, with officials from
the Department of the Environment & the Regions. Such meeting helped to
inform and influence Government thinking on the Best Value provisions known as
the 'Henry VIII clauses' (now contained in the Local Government Act 1999).
The Chairman will continue
to watch developments in these areas and undertake appropriate further work when
legislation is proposed. If any member would like any further information on any
of the above consultations, please do not hesitate to contact the Chairman.
Bar Council News: In May
1999, the Chairman, after a direct approach to Dan Brennan (the then Chairman of
the Bar Council), was co-opted to represent the Association on the Bar Council.
In addition, the Chairman is
also a member of the highly prestigious Working Group, chaired by Lord
Alexander, which is looking at the future composition of the Bar Council. The
Alexander Working Group has agreed to recommend, inter alia, that our
Association should be represented, as of right, on the Bar Council. The
recommendations are likely to go to the Bar Council meeting in April 2000.
This is a major recognition
and improvement for our Association. We will need to ensure, however, that our
Association continues to flourish, if it wishes to retain that position of
influence on the Bar Council. For example, we could lose that position if, on a
future review of the composition of the Bar, it was determined that the size of
our membership did not warrant an automatic place.
Attached are some
'highlights' from previous Bar Council meetings. If any member would like any
further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Chairman.
Annual Subscriptions: The
subscriptions for 1999/ 2000 / 2001 will remain as follows:
Full members :
Associate / Retired
Members are encouraged to
pay their tax-deductible subscriptions by Standing Order. Any member who
established a Standing Order, prior to
1996, is also encouraged to update his/her Standing Order to the new banking
details of the Association. If a member would like a fresh standing order
mandate, please contact the Chairman.
AGM & Elections 2000 :
The Chairman and Secretary will endeavour to call an AGM for later this year. In
the meantime, if any member wishes to be co-opted to serve on the Executive
Committee of the Association, s/he should contact the Chairman or the Secretary.
Members of the Executive Committee include : -
Vice-Chairman & Honorary Auditor:
Swansea City Council
Public Relations Officer:
Lipscomb, Milton Keynes Council
Members' continued support and assistance
is most appreciated.