We know how hard local government works. Our lawyers support local governmental agencies across the UK and in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic United States, supporting assisting with all types of public projects.
The pressure on local authorities to protect and improve services sits alongside the imperative that they develop commercial activity to offset the continued cuts in spending. We can help with this – with innovative and practical solutions based on years of experience in local government.
In the UK, where we have seven regional offices, we are particularly proud of the part our firm has played in some of the’s most significant regeneration schemes, as well as public-private partnership projects involving the development of new housing, education, and waste facilities.
Our lawyers also have extensive experience participating in the process of setting up local authority companies and joint ventures. We are alert to the different solutions local authorities require and are used to supporting in-house legal teams in the more challenging areas of local government law. Our team has a national reputation in advising on a wide range of local government issues and has an enviable track-record of handling procurement challenges and judicial review cases.
In the US, our lawyers help local government fund, develop, improve, and defend important public projects. The majority of our work is concentrated in the area of public finance. Our public finance team, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, serves as bond counsel to the State of North Carolina and numerous other state and local governments. Our team has the capabilities and experience to assist with transactions involving practically every kind of public finance structure.
What we do
Our experienced team of lawyers advise local governments in a range of areas, including:
- Contracting, including facilities management agreements
- Joint ventures and local authority companies
- Public finance transaction in the US
- General obligation bonds
- Utility and public enterprise system revenue bonds
- Annual appropriation bonds and certificates of participation
- Installment financing and lease-purchase agreements
- Qualified housing bonds
- Qualified 501(c)(3) bonds for healthcare, educational and other facilities for charitable organizations
- Industrial revenue bonds and other exempt facility bonds
- Outsourcing, specifically in the waste and leisure sectors
- Real Estate development
- Freedom of information matters and data protection
- PPP and PFI
- Dispute resolution
- Procurement, as well as procurement challenges and judicial review
- State aid
- Energy and natural resources, including district heating projects and Green Deal
- Education, including setting up academies and advising on commercial transfer agreements
- Regeneration schemes
- Planning, including CPO
- Vires and local government law
Working closely with local authorities, we advise on issues related to many industry sectors where our lawyers also have extensive experience, including:
- Energy and natural resources
- Central government
- Transport and infrastructure
- Real estate
Examples of work
- Advised Warrington Borough Council on the outsourcing of its adult social care directorate to a staff-led social enterprise. The project included advice on the transfer of over 300 staff plus assets, and revised property arrangements for eight separate locations across the borough. Specific advice was required in relation to TUPE, pensions, state aid, procurement, leases and licensing, CQC registration and council participation in the social enterprise vehicle
- City of York Council sought our advice on the re-procurement of their existing Park & Ride service, which saw over 4.6 million passenger journeys since 2016. As part of our engagement we prepared the draft service contract and reviewed bidder mark ups, clarifications and responses. We advised the council on a deed of variation to the existing Park & Ride service contract to provide the council with additional time to carry out the re-procurement exercise. Further, we provided specialist procurement support in relation to ultra low emission vehicle grant funding from the Department for Transport
- We advised Newcastle City Council in relation to the procurement of a partner to deliver current and future district energy projects in Newcastle. We are advising in relation to the delivery of a district energy scheme at the Science Central development in Newcastle, and on the long-term partnering arrangements under which future schemes will be identified, evaluated and delivered
- We assisted in a complex procurement for Network Rail involving use of the competitive negotiated procedure to procure a partner to deliver design and construction of multi-disciplinary railway infrastructure and civil engineering works on the East West Phase 2 works. In addition, Network Rail wished to use an alliance form of agreement. We worked closely with the in-house procurement officer in respect of procurement strategy and documentation and led on all contract drafting and negotiations.
- We worked on all the relevant procurement documents with the in-house procurement officer including use of a qualification system (RISQS), two tender documents (outline and detailed), standstill letters and evaluation methodologies. We engaged regularly with the client to ensure that all relevant timescales were met and acted as a “critical friend” to ensure that the documentation was robust and fit for purpose. We delivered all the procurement milestones on time
- Our team advised Durham County Council on its extra care scheme for the delivery of six new adult social care facilities across the county on council-owned sites. The project had a value of £24 million and was delivered through PPP. We advised on the property aspects, SLAs for repair, catering, laundry and other FM services and advised on void guarantees and nomination agreements
- We advised London Borough of Croydon on their £40 million per annum outsourcing of buildings maintenance and other facilities management services. The council sought a partner to carry out buildings maintenance, cleaning and other services for the council at all of its facilities (schools excluded). We advised on all aspects of the procurement (negotiated procedure) and contractual documentation, and negotiated the final form of contract with Interserve. The contract is for a seven-year term with an option to extend for a further three years. There was a substantial TUPE and pensions element to the contract
- Represented bond counsel clients including some of the busiest issuers in North Carolina, such as the State of North Carolina; major cities and towns such as Raleigh, Greensboro, and Cary; major counties, including Wake County, the second largest county in the state; and Forsyth County; the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency; and the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, two of the three major airports in the state
- Members of our team have helped draft nearly all North Carolina legislation dealing with public finance matters over the past several years and have worked closely with the State Treasurer’s office, the North Carolina General Assembly, and the North Carolina Local Government Commission on numerous public finance and related matters
- Represented every major financial institution that underwrites bonds of North Carolina issuers, including the underwriters of billions of dollars of bonds issued by the two municipal power agencies in the State
“They're approachable, turn things around quickly and are good with communication.”
“Their (Womble Bond Dickinson) expertise in bond transactions renders them invaluable to clients and they offer experience in financing healthcare, educational, public infrastructure projects, among others.”