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Public Sector

These are challenging times for the public sector. Budgets have been slashed, but there is no decrease in the demand for services or expectation of delivery.

At Gowling WLG, we understand these pressures because our leading experts have either worked in, or have been seconded to, major public sector providers. Mark Greenburgh at Buckinghamshire County Council, Sarah Sasse at the Cabinet Office: this first-hand experience means we understand clients' needs, motivators and challenges.

These clients expect a legal team that provides:

  • Sector insight - technically outstanding lawyers who understand the issues you face and the regulatory frameworks in which you operate
  • Breadth and depth of expertise - the resource and experience to meet your needs - whether it's a lead role in a landmark project or boosting in-house capacity during spikes of activity
  • Commercial pragmatism - fresh thinking to deliver your objectives - on time and on budget

That's exactly what we deliver. Hundreds of public sector organisations choose us for sector-focused advice.

These include operators in the healthcare sector, who regularly turn to our award-winning team to complete sector firsts, those seeking a different approach to social housing, or those needing expert advice in the social care sector - from commissioning to connected health, investigations to funding and investments. Clients also include organisations in the defence, education, utilities, waste and regeneration sectors.

Our commercial, employment, pensions, real estate, IT, intellectual property, defence, infrastructure, energy, public procurement, public law and regulation, regeneration and projects experts advise both public sector organisations and private sector suppliers on their arrangements with the public sector.

Experience ranges from supporting Amey on a ground-breaking £500 million PPP scheme to upgrade the Scottish motorway network, to advising Birmingham City Council on the high-profile sale of the NEC Group.

Rising to your challenge

By establishing your objectives from the outset, we ensure a successful outcome is achieved. It's how we build lasting relationships with clients. Clients such as Jo Miller (then chief executive of Bradford MBC), who said: "The best compliment I can pay to you is that if anyone I ever knew had employment difficulties, I would send them to you without hesitation...that's more than a recommendation."

From reputation management to overhauling service delivery, defending complex litigation to transferring risk to third parties ... pose a challenge and we will find the solution. It might be because our 50-strong team of experts have done it countless times before. It could be that adapting best practice from one industry and applying it to another offers the best outcome.

Sometimes, starting with a blank sheet of paper is required. Award wins for public sector work ranging from innovative advice on equal pay issues to landmark healthcare transactions showcase our original thinking.

A law firm you can trust

With the pressure on to reduce costs and overhaul service provision, sharing services and outsourcing agreements are in high demand. Our public sector outsourcing experts, led by Sarah Sasse, are here to help. A reputation for pragmatic, commercially-sound advice is why a major council called upon the team's expertise when re-procuring its entire £100 million ICT solution.

The firm's "widely respected" (Chambers 2014) Local Government team advises local authorities throughout England and Wales, as well as industry sector bodies such as the Local Government Association, London Legacy Development Corporation and Transport for London.

Delivering savings and efficiencies is a key concern for government bodies. We have acted on significant programmes that have targeted the delivery of savings and efficiencies through restructuring the delivery of services and re-negotiating existing contractual arrangements. Fully immersed in the central government sector, clients include Department of Health, Ofqual, MoD, Insolvency Service and the Department for Energy & Climate Change.

Results for clients

High-profile sale of the NEC Group

Birmingham City Council called upon our public sector experts to advise on the high-profile sale of the NEC Group. Supporting around 29,000 jobs, the NEC is worth more than £2 billion per year to the West Midlands region.

A highly significant transaction, it will enable NEC Group to take full advantage of its growth opportunities and reach the next stage of its development. The firm is ideally placed to advise, with its experience in major corporate transactions and market-leading real estate offering.

Advising the UK's largest housing association on its biggest finance transaction of the year

Advising Sanctuary Housing Association on its £150 million secured bond tap issue, listed on the London Stock Exchange. Barclays Bank PLC and Lloyds Bank PLC arranged the issue, which will contribute towards Sanctuary's £750 million national development programme. The largest of its kind, the programme sees the delivery of more than 5,000 affordable new homes across the UK by 2015.

Not simply a bond issue, it required detailed financing and security arrangements to be structured below the bond. A strategically important transaction, the firm's detailed understanding of the housing sector and solutions-driven, pragmatic advice were critical factors in its successful outcome.

Ealing Council - proposed Copley Close estate redevelopment

Another public sector highlight is advising Ealing Council on the financial, housing (leasehold acquisition and tenancy issues) and estate management implications of the proposed redevelopment of the Copley Close estate.

Our experts are helping the council to overcome many challenges, including financial viability and the fact that part of the estate is constructed over a Network Rail tunnel.

Advice includes the finance options and the terms of the package of incentives to be offered to leaseholders and tenants. A phased decant programme will be put in place to enable the redevelopment and refurbishment of around 500 homes to proceed.

Securing courtroom success for the Local Government Association

Courtroom success came when the Local Government Association turned to our public law and regulation specialists to resist a judicial review challenge. A lot was at stake. If successful, the challenge could have forced all local authorities across England and Wales to adopt certain methods of waste collection - increasing costs substantially.

Key Contacts

Mark Greenburgh
Mark Greenburgh

Sarah Sasse
Sarah Sasse

Meet our Public Sector professionals

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