Posted on 9th July 2019
Leading law firm Blake Morgan has advised Hampshire County Council on its joint venture with Kent County Council for a new recruitment agency to support the recruitment of temporary agency staff across the Authority.

Blake Morgan provided legal support to Hampshire County Council for the establishment of the joint venture with Commercial Services Kent Ltd (a company owned and controlled by Kent County Council).  The new joint venture company Hampshire & Kent Commercial Services LLP (HKCS) will help protect and improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the recruitment and resourcing of staff. This will cover all agency placements within Hampshire County Council, with the exception of supply teachers and technical service roles based within the Economy, Transport and Environment Department.  Ultimately, the joint venture will make sure vital services are protected and resourced with high quality people.

The firm’s work on this project included advising the Council on structuring of the venture and supporting the implementation of the structure through drafting amendments to the contractual arrangements with the company and the members’ agreement itself.  Blake Morgan also advised on internal service transition from the council’s current supply to the new arrangement.

The project was led by Blake Morgan partner Penny Rinta-Suksi, an expert in commercial law and local government, alongside team members Simon McCann, Rajiv Joshi, John Cole, Ollie Clymow, Aimee Murphy and Nicola Diggle.  Bevan Brittan LLP provided legal advice to Commercial Services Kent Ltd.

Penny Rinta-Suksi, partner in the commercial team at Blake Morgan, who led on the project, said: “This project is really important given the unprecedented pressure placed on social care service provision in a backdrop of budget cuts and declining spend. Sadly, a lot of councils are looking to strip back to core services, despite recent Government announcements on investment in health and social care. Hampshire is trying to get ahead of this by thinking strategically about how they secure and safeguard high quality service provision in a market of increasing demand and decreasing funds. Establishing this new joint venture will really help to streamline the recruitment process for residential services in Hampshire while allowing the County Council to invest in and safeguard its supply of staff for essential services. We’ve enjoyed supporting Stephanie Randall, Carolyn Williamson and the rest of the team at Hampshire County Council throughout the process and we wish them all the best with the new joint venture.”

Carolyn Williamson, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources at Hampshire County Council said: “This has been an ambitious project to bring to fruition, but through efficient, constructive and collaborative partnership working we have delivered what we set out to – with our new joint venture opening for business on 1 April.  The commitment of all those working on the project has been marked, and the advice and support received, first rate.  My thanks to Penny and the team for their support in getting this innovative and important initiative off the ground.”

Blake Morgan’s local government solicitors advise a wide range of clients, including the London Borough of Merton, Reading Borough Council and Test Valley Borough Council, as well as the Department of Health and Social Care.

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