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LLG Spring Conference Review | Michael Attwood

Posted on June 2023

Group of legal worker and recruiters celebrating their awards at the LLG Spring Conference.
​Michael Attwood, Manager of our South West Legal team, reflects on the recent LLG Spring Conference and the latest developments in the Local Government Legal market.


Having been involved in the LLG Spring Conference for a number of years prior to Covid, it was excellent to return and be among such a large compliment of attendees at this year’s event. It was also great to witness the use of technology which allowed hybrid attendance for both guests and speakers; there were a number of engaging and topical talks all held at a wonderful venue.

This year included a major focus on Diversity and Inclusion, and the positive impact it can have on the delivery of services. Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, discussed how diversity in leadership leads to diversity in ideas through bringing alternative viewpoints to organisational strategy and policy. We similarly prioritise D&I in our recruitment processes, and have recently partnered with Bridge of Hope Careers, as well as our long-term partnership with the Young Women’s Trust, allowing us to present an untapped talent pool to our clients.

The biggest issue facing the Local Government legal market at present is the shortage of available candidates, as high caseloads have led to a high demand for lawyers across many areas. Local authorities have been left with three options: keep trying to hire permanent staff, which can leave vacancies open for months or even years; outsource their work to private firms; or make a greater use of agency Locums.

Matthew Philips, Head of Legal at Monmouthshire Council, emphasised the need for innovation by opening the parameters of who to recruit; himself from a military background, he cautioned against discounting candidates on the basis that they don’t fit a previous mould. There was further discussion on how recently developed technologies have helped in this regard, as Paiger AI and SmartSearch allow us to source particularly niche candidates.

Venn Group have been investigating other innovative ways to source candidates; in the new age of remote working, the scope to recruit Locums outside of the local area is both increasingly viable and has proved an effective solution on a number of occasions. Similarly, we have led successful campaigns based around retained recruitment for targeted projects and successful permanent appointments following unsuccessful recruitment campaigns from the Local Authorities themselves. In a market with such a low number of applicants for open vacancies, we have proved successful by using our experience and knowledge of candidates in the sector.

I would like to offer a huge congratulations to the City Leap team at Bristol City Council for winning the Team of the Year award, and Laura Summers from Milton Keynes Council for winning Lawyer of the Year. Having worked with Stephen Taylor previously and seen his incredible work first-hand, it was a particular delight to watch him win Significant Contribution to Local Government Law and Practice. Congratulations also go to Sebastian Teterra for winning Junior Lawyer, Sandra O’Brien for Leadership in the Profession, and Wolverhampton City Council for Community Impact, alongside all the incredibly skilled and dedicated legal professionals who were nominated for the awards.

In all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable event with many excellent keynote speakers, and it’s fantastic to be in a developing and innovative market that encourages open discussion on relevant topics. I’m looking forward to reconnecting next year.


Should you wish to discuss your recruitment requirements, please contact Michael Attwood on 0117 930 8760 or email