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Public Bodies

Weightmans is a nationally renowned legal advisor to the public sector. We act for over 150 local authorities across the UK and have been appointed to numerous public sector legal purchasing consortia.

We have an in-depth understanding of how local authorities and other public bodies work, and the particular challenges they face.

Our legal experts appreciate that, in the public sector, budgets are often tight and cost certainty is essential. Our team will work closely with you to manage any emerging issues promptly and efficiently, to reduce the risk of protracted employment disputes arising.

We are also alive to the importance of strong employee engagement and employment relationships to our public sector clients, including maintaining good rapport with unions. Our advice will always take into account your preferred risk-management strategy, and your organisation’s composition and culture to ensure the smoothest possible resolution to a problem.

Our team

Our dedicated team of public sector lawyers offers a wealth of specialist, sector-specific knowledge and experience to help you resolve any employment or personnel issues in your organisation. Several of our team are former Local Authority lawyers, and others have undertaken secondments in a local authority environment.

As part of a full-service law firm, our HR Rely employment advisors can draw on a wealth of other public sector legal expertise when a personnel problem engages broader issues such as governance or procurement.

Our service

We deliver a high-quality personal service to your managers and HR professionals, ensuring we give practically focused, strategic advice. This can include advice on managing relationships with unions and handling your public communications.

Your Client Relationship Owner (CRO) will ensure total continuity of service. They will work to understand your key strategic aims, and tailor our approach to meet your needs. Your CRO will focus on supporting your business to achieve your objectives within costs agreed with you.

Our HR Rely team is flexible, available and supports our clients to address their issues confidently and quickly. Our service is demand-led to meet significant peaks and troughs of activity.


We operate a dedicated HR helpline service to answer any day-to-day queries that arise. We find that the majority of issues fall with the scope of the retainer and that our early advice helps to mitigate against bigger issues down the line. Our advisers will act as a ‘sounding board’ to your in-house HR specialists, to confirm that your business is on the right track, or to provide a crucial steer when needed.

You can choose whether you want your HR team to liaise with us every time, or whether you would prefer to free-up valuable HR time by asking us to support your managers directly. Either way, our advisors will be on the lookout for any recurring issues and provide upskilling tips to help you grow.

Employment tribunals

Whilst we work with you closely to avoid employment tribunal claims, they will inevitably, occasionally arise. You can be assured that, at the outset of each case, we will review the claim and advise on the legal issues and the relevant evidence that needs to be collated, as well as identifying the witnesses. As early as is reasonably practicable, we provide an initial assessment of the merits and potential quantum of compensation as well as giving advice about other relevant factors such as potential reputational damage, policy, and strategic implications.

Recent work for public bodies

  • Design and review of employment contracts, policies, and procedures.
  • Supporting major workforce restructure projects and redundancy exercises.
  • Advising on changing terms and conditions across the workforce.
  • TUPE issues: Including the out-sourcing of public services and changes of contractor.
  • Advising on and defending sensitive and high-profile claims including bullying and harassment and discrimination.
  • Advising on all aspects of equality and discrimination law, and the Public Sector Equality Duty.
  • Supporting public bodies to maintain excellent employee relations and strong working relationships with public sector unions.
  • Secondments of a senior employees to linked public sector bodies.

Our three-tier menu offering enables you to choose the right support package that works for best for your business. Your CRO will be able to help guide you through the process.

Susan  Matthews
Principal Associate

Susan Matthews

  • +44 (0)113 213 4013

What our clients say

Head of Legal Services, Large Metropolitan Council
We have instructed Weightmans on a range of contentious employment case which they have dealt with efficiently and cost effectively. They provide a responsive, accessible service and have a good rapport with HR colleagues.

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