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District councils pursue s.113 agreement to continue sharing legal services and other officers following end of wider partnership

Two councils are considering entering into a section 113 agreement to share legal and other officers following the end of their shared management and joint working arrangement.

In March this year South Holland District Council (in Lincolnshire) and Breckland District Councils (in Norfolk) said they had “mutually agreed to end their successful eleven-year partnership, in order to pursue new local strategic partnerships at each council”. These new partnerships are expected to be within the councils' respective county boundaries.

A report for a meeting of the full council at Breckland earlier this month (2 September) sought and obtained formal approval for certain continuing arrangements. It said: “Whilst the existing shared management Memorandum of Agreement is now largely obsolete that Agreement, as amended, allowed each Council to continue to place any of the officers affected by that Agreement at the disposal of the non-employing Council on terms to be agreed, subject to a fresh Section 113 Agreement being entered into.

“Pending decisions on future shared arrangements, both Councils signed side letters to the Memorandum of Agreement allowing the following Breckland Council (BDC) officers to continue providing support to South Holland District Council (SHDC) until such time as a new Section 113 Agreement was entered into:

  • Legal Services Manager
  • Information Governance Officer
  • Lawyer
  • Lawyer
  • Procurement and Contracts Manager
  • Procurement Contracts Officer
  • Procurement Contracts Officer (currently vacant)
  • Contracts Support Officer
  • Environmental Protection Business Support Officer."

Some basic principles are to apply to the agreement including:

  • The officers will initially be shared on a 60/40 (BDC/SHDC) basis, except for the Environmental Protection Business Support Officer, who will be engaged on SHDC work for only a limited number of hours, where hourly charges will apply;
  • Both councils will have the right to seek amendment of the percentage allocation;
  • Breckland will remain fully responsible for the management and performance of shared officers (including discipline, recruitment etc);
  • South Holland may remove an officer at short notice if it is not satisfied with any management or performance issues, or with any proposed amended terms and conditions of employment;
  • Either council may remove one or more shared officers from the arrangement for operational reasons;
  • Either side may terminate the entire Agreement upon 6 months’ notice or at shorter notice if agreed by both sides.

The report for Breckland said that the proposed agreement would “extend some on-going shared officer arrangements and provide some certainty pending each authority finalising any future sharing arrangements.”

A similar report will be submitted to full council at South Holland later this month.

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