Essex County Council rebrands legal team as part of commercialisation drive

Shirley Jarlett, assistant director at ELS, formerly Essex Legal Services, talking to a visit to its

Shirley Jarlett, assistant director at ELS, formerly Essex Legal Services, talking to a visit to its stand at the Local Government Association Conference in Harrogate where its rebrand was launched. - Credit: Archant

Essex Legal Services, the in-house legal team at Essex County Council, has been relaunched as ELS as it prepares to enter new market sectors.

The rebrand marks another step in Essex County Council’s commercialisation plan, which is helping to reinvest financial resources into its frontline services by supporting growth within its business services.

Essex Legal Services was established as a “traded” service in 1998. Its relaunch as ELS is the result of a major business review and follows significant change in the legal services marketplace which led ELS to rethink its approach and future direction.

Derrick Louis, cabinet member for transformation and corporate and traded services at Essex County Council, said: “The relaunch of ELS is part of Essex County Council’s over-arching strategy to invest in and support its businesses to pursue a more commercial direction.”

The rebrand is the culmination of an 18-month change programme which involved investment in account management and customer relationship skills for the 125-strong team. ELS has also introduced a more proactive and customer-focused approach to delivering and evaluating services.

Shirley Jarlett, assistant director at ELS, said: “Beneath the change from Essex Legal Services to ELS has been a deep-rooted transformation which has strengthened our ability to diversify into new markets, take on larger contracts and work with more local authorities outside of Essex.”

She added: “The unique insight and understanding of the public sector which we have provides the added value for our clients and the competitive advantage for ELS which we plan to exploit through a new sales and marketing strategy.

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“One of our key skills as a team is the ability to balance issues such as the wider public interest, ethical values and democratic or governance considerations, which ELS can deliver as part of the advice process.”

ELS has been at the forefront of developing shared legal services and has built a reputation for commercial expertise combined with public sector values.

It has expertise in advising public sector bodies of all sizes on complex commercial projects and procurements, including organisational transformation, Governance and outsourcing. Its specialist practice areas include child care proceedings, health, adult social care, education, employment, personal injury claims, litigation and property transactions.

Current clients include other councils, probation, fire and police authorities, schools and academies.

ELS launched its new brand to public authorities at the recent Local Government Association (LGA) Conference in Harrogate where it sponsored a breakout session about the steps local authorities need to take to develop a more business-orientated approach to service delivery and generate new income streams.

The session, titled “The entrepreneurial council” was chaired by Kevin Bentley, deputy leader of Essex County Council and included a panel of speakers from the East of England.