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Bevan Brittan snaps up former chief executive of Birmingham City Council

Bevan Brittan has hired a former chief executive of Birmingham City Council, Stephen Hughes, as an Associate Consultant.

His role will be to work with the law firm on areas including:

  • The integration of public services, particularly health, social care and housing;
  • The development of innovative new delivery solutions including social investment;
  • The regional growth agenda;
  • The future models for local government finance and funding.

Bethan Evans, Senior Partner at Bevan Brittan, said: "Stephen brings huge experience at operational level within local authorities. He brings that senior level understanding of transformation.

“Also, his background is financial and he is one of the leading writers on the financial arrangements not just for local authorities but also across the public sector. That was very much something we wanted to bring in because he is probably the leading person who is looking at the models of health and social care funding and how you bring those things together.”

Evans added: “When we are looking at solutions and new ways of working for local authorities, health trusts or our private sector clients in that market, very often the financial arrangements to facilitate that are really important. Having Stephen’s expertise when we are designing for example new commercial models of operating, new pooled budget arrangements between health and social care or new commercial structures, he will help us design robust arrangements.”

Hughes would also help the firm’s understanding of the market in a general sense and could have a client-facing role in appropriate situations, she said.

Stephen Hughes said: "Bevan Brittan is a law firm I hold in high regard as being at the forefront of public service innovation. I am excited at the prospect of working with their lawyers to explore new models and contribute to the debate on public service reform".

Bevan Brittan recently advised Buckinghamshire Law Plus – run by Buckinghamshire County Council and Milton Keynes Fire Authority – and HB Public Law – the shared legal service between Harrow and Barnet councils – on the grant of alternative business structure licences (ABSs) by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Evans said there had been significant interest since the announcement. “People were waiting to see if the first two went through,” she said. “Those two ABSs will go live later in the year. A number of councils have been waiting to see how that works and thinking whether it is route for them to go down.

“There is a level of cost and consequent regulation that goes along with it [setting up an ABS] so it will probably be for those authorities or perhaps shared services arrangements that can see the opportunity to increase revenue and have got the capacity to deal with it.”