Public sector in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP’s large practice has significant experience in local government, health and education work. The local government subteam is headed up by Penny Rinta-Suksi, who is ‘a leader in the field‘ when it comes to local authority leisure mandates. Senior associate Jennifer Sore is also ‘skilled at dealing with highway claims in particular.’ Under the leadership of Matthew Smith, the team’s educational subteam is instructed on transaction, litigation proceedings and specialist education tribunal mandates. Bruce Potter leads the health subteam, which acts for a range of clients including NHS England. Vicky Schollar, who is an employment expert, also contributes to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Penny Rinta-Suksi; Bruce Potter; Matthew Smith

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Sore; Vicky Schollar


‘We work with the leisure team who in my opinion are unrivalled in their expertise in this field. Their depth of knowledge is incredible and ensures that clients have the full understanding of very complex issues.’

‘Penny Rinta-Suksi is a leader in her field; she has experience that is unmatched in the industry and brings a commercial understanding alongside the legal expertise.’

‘Jennifer Sore has an excellent knowledge of the public sector, and is skilled at dealing with highway claims in particular. Would highly recommend her.’

‘The team have an excellent knowledge of social care regulatory law.’

‘The individuals we work with are very approachable and are always prepared to answer ad-hoc queries.’

‘Blake Morgan is very receptive to the individual needs of its clients. They are clear in their advice and will always seek a collaborative approach to the client’s issue.’

Key clients

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and The Metropolitan Police Service

Mansfield District Council

Reading Borough Council

Surrey County Council

Brighton & Hove City Council

Wokingham Borough Council

Hart District Council

Lewisham Borough Council

RB of Kingston on Thames

Buckinghamshire County Council

North Norfolk District Council

Oxfordshire County Council

London Borough of Merton

Test Valley Borough Council

Dover District Council

West Berkshire District Council

New College, Oxford

Balliol College, Oxford

Oxford Foundation for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence

Gregg School Trust

Work highlights

  • Assisted Reading Borough Council with successfully completing its complex leisure project to radically improve its mixture of new and existing wet and dry leisure facilities.
  • Advised Brighton & Hove City Council on the sponsored conversion of Moulsecoomb Primary School which converted to join academy trust company, the Pioneer Academy.


With a strong track record in the healthcare sector, the practice at Brachers has represented NHS trusts for over 40 years from its offices in Maidstone and Canterbury. Its specialist cross-disciplinary team works within the education sectors and is developing a growing portfolio of academy schools and further education colleges, as well as other types of education providers. Catherine DawAsh Jilani and Antonio Fletcher are the trio leading the overall team, which also includes senior lawyers who have spent time working in-house for local authorities.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Daw; Ash Jilani; Antonio Fletcher

Other key lawyers:

Colin Smith


‘The team is technically very strong and commercial.’

‘Catherine Daw is a strong leader of the department who works hard for her clients. Colin Smith is very strong on collective employment, such as redundancy and TUPE.’

Key clients

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation

Ashford Borough Council

Sevenoaks District Council

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

East Kent Hospital NHS Foundation Trust



Benenden Hospital

Dover District Council

Five Acre Wood School

Plumpton College

Medway Practices Alliance

Phoenix Medical Centre

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented a trust in respect of a complex, multi-faceted employment tribunal claim brought by a doctor.
  • Acting for the partners in a GP practice in taking up a lease of a significant new development for the provision of primary care.
  • Representing an NHS Trust and eight other senior individuals in respect of a series of complex employment tribunal claims for whistleblowing and disability discrimination.


The bulk of the workload for the versatile practitioners at Cripps is made up of asset management and property dispute resolution work, acting for government departments with large occupied estates. The team has a broad public sector client base, including central government bodies, local authorities and utility companies. In relation to local government work, the group was retained recently to assist Slough Borough Council with a large regeneration scheme. James Lee heads up the construction practice and Miles Paffard is head of the property dispute resolution team; the pair jointly lead the overall practice, which also includes Beth Gascoyne.

Practice head(s):

James Lee; Miles Paffard

Other key lawyers:

Beth Gasgoyne

Key clients

The Home Office

Crawley Borough Council

Canterbury Christ Church University

Ashford Borough Council

Runnymede Borough Council

Sevenoaks District Council

Slough Borough Council

South East Water

Town and Country Housing

University of Kent

Work highlights

  • Advised Slough Borough Council in relation to its £1bn urban regeneration with its development partner Morgan Sindall.
  • Acting for Sevenoaks District Council in the negotiation of a s106 agreement in connection with an application for 340 dwellings, land for a 4FE secondary school, land for a community facility and improvements to the town railway station.
  • Advising Runnymede Borough Council in relation to the development of a mixed-use urban regeneration scheme known as Egham Gateway West, with the intention to create a new cultural quarter in Egham Town Centre.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

The practice at DAC Beachcroft LLP provides a variety of legal advice to the NHS and handles strategic, commercial and regulatory issues within the public sector as a whole. With access to a high volume of health partners in offices throughout the UK, the team is able to offer a wealth of specialist healthcare knowledge to clients. Healthcare law expert Belinda Dix leads the Winchester-based health, care and public law team, while Matthew McGrath and Heather Durston-Hillyer head up the clinical risk team in Winchester.

Practice head(s):

Belinda Dix; Matthew McGrath; Heather Durston-Hillyer

Other key lawyers:

Udara Ranasinghe; Joanna Pennick


‘Very approachable and they tailor their approach.’

‘All individuals I have worked with bring their own unique set of skills but the level of professionalism is evident with all who work with this firm.’

‘Leaders with great judgment who train and oversee a team who reflect their attention to detail. Top-drawer firm for NHS work.’

‘DAC Beachcroft employs smart lawyers and has great partners who really establish relationships with our team.’

‘Udara Ranasinghe is an absolute pleasure to deal with – so smart, on top of his game, always happy to take on our tricky and messy cases. Joanna Pennick is smart and good to work with.’

‘Excellent legal knowledge and communication.’

Key clients

NHS Resolution

Medical Defence Union

Oxford University Hospitals NHS FT

University Hospitals Southampton NHS FT

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

United Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust (formerly Bournemouth and Poole Trusts)

Isle of Wight NHS Trust

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

South Central Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust

Solent NHS Trust

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Resolution


Crown Commercial Service

NHS Commercial Solutions

MS Amlin Casualty (inc Med-mal)

RSA Complex Loss

WR Berkley Themis

Work highlights

  • Advised the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust throughout the process of procuring a provider of pathology managed services relating to blood sciences, virology and immunology on behalf of itself and the members of BSPS.
  • Advised UHS on the negotiation and completion of a development agreement between UHS and Prime in respect of the Park & Ride facility.
  • Represented NEL CSU in a high profile and complex multi-party, Article 2, jury inquest involving the death of a 64 year old man from sepsis in 2016.

Birkett Long LLP

The Colchester-based group at Birkett Long LLP is extremely active in the healthcare sector, and continues to work closely with GP and residential care home businesses. Clients value the fact that it ‘has the required depth to be able to support transactions of all sizes‘. Tim Field leads the team and is well supported by corporate and M&A specialist Tracey Dickens; both are commended for offering ‘quality advice in a timely manner.’

Practice head(s):

Tim Field

Other key lawyers:

Tracey Dickens


The team at Birkett Long has the required depth to be able to support transactions of all sizes and has the ability to turn around work to deadlines. Their collaboration with other advisers on the clients’ team provides confidence in their ability to be a great team player and support to the client at a stressful time.’

‘Tim Field and Tracey Dickens recognise that all clients are important and that their reputation depends upon this. They both provide quality advice in a timely manner, which provides confidence in them’.

Key clients

Healthcare Homes Limited

Healthcare Homes Group Limited

Healthcare Homes (2020) Limited

Healthcare Homes (LSC) Limited

Healthcare Homes (Genesis) Limited

Manorcourt Care (Norfolk) Limited

Runwood Homes Limited

St Helena Hospice

Work highlights

  • Advising a healthcare homes group on the acquisition of a two care home businesses from a single seller along with the associated property acquisition by an American owned REIT.
  • Advising Healthcare Homes (LSC) on the acquisition of a care home businesses and associated property acquisition by an American owned REIT.
  • Advising on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Avidcrave Group Limited.

Blandy & Blandy LLP

Blandy & Blandy LLP, based primarily in Reading, provides a wealth of experience and ‘high-quality advice‘ to clients in the public sector including local governments, schools, colleges and universities. The group counts internationally recognised universities such as the University of Oxford among its clients. Experienced charity and commercial lawyer Nick Burrows leads the team and regularly advises charities, schools and third sector organisations.

Practice head(s):

Nick Burrows

Other key lawyers:

Tim Clark


‘Excellent, high quality advice.’

‘The team delivers a very well-connected service, especially for matters which might span two subject areas/specialisms.’

‘Without exception, they treat you as a valued customer, communicate clearly and ensure that they are always contactable at short notice.’

‘Blandy and Blandy know our school well across all areas of specialisation and I always get the support I need.’

Key clients

Tottenham Hotspur Ltd/Tottenham Hotspur Football & Athletic Co

The FA Group/ Wembley National Stadium Ltd

Rugby Football Union (RFU) NAEG Europe/The O2

Royal Academy of Arts

Marylebone Cricket Club (in relation to Lord’s Cricket Ground)

Henley Royal Regatta NAEG Presents

Martin Searle Solicitors

Brighton-based specialist community care law firm Martin Searle Solicitors is unique in combining its mental capacity and Court of Protection litigation expertise with a more traditional private client law offering. ‘Expert in community care lawCate Searle leads the team. Clients include claimants such as professional deputies, individuals and their families, which the team advises on bringing challenges against decisions made by the health and social services. The ‘extremely knowledgeablePaula Jones provides support to Searle, with a depth of experience in adult social care law. Clare English is the go-to team member for mandates relating to planning and paying for care, NHS Continuing Health Care funding and Court of Protection deputy applications.

Practice head(s):

Cate Searle

Other key lawyers:

Paula Jones; Clare English


‘The team is well versed in supporting and resolving complex issues of Public Law and Community Care. They are easily able to navigate the labyrinth of rules that dominate this area, providing practical solutions to difficult situations. They are not afraid to challenge the law to obtain the best possible outcomes for their clients.’

‘Cate Searle is an outstanding individual in this field. She is the unquestionable expert in community care law, but alongside that, displays impeccable professionalism and integrity.’

‘The team are exceptionally knowledgeable, approachable and thorough.’

‘Paula Jones is a real expert in her field. Paula has helped to navigate our team through some difficult scenarios, leading us towards a successful outcome for our clients.’

‘They have breadth and depth of knowledge of community care law which is unrivalled I believe. They are continually ahead of the curve when it comes to developments within the law and cases currently progressing through the Court of Protection.’

‘The team are a delight to deal with. They are knowledgeable, responsive and proactive in achieving a good result for each of their clients. We have dealt with several members of the team and have no hesitation in recommending them to others, which we do on a regular basis.’

‘Cate Searle is incredibly knowledgeable on all matters welfare related. Cate takes a pragmatic and sensible approach to what can be a bit of a minefield.’

‘I have always been impressed with Paula Jones. She is extremely knowledgeable and gives you the confidence to know she really is an expert.’

Key clients

Anthony Gold

Blanchards Bailey

Moore Barlow

Nexus Chambers


Beers LLP

JE Bennett Law

Kew Law

Charles Russel Speechley

Work highlights

  • Advised and represented a client to help secure a care package of almost £80,000 pa to allow an 88-year-old lady with Alzheimer’s to remain at home.
  • Assisted with the move of a man with complex disabilities from an inadequate placement to a new community placement with a bespoke support package.
  • Represented a client in a highly contentious Court of Protection proceedings to reinstate contact between a vulnerable older lady and her closest friend.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP‘s cross disciplinary team has deep expertise advising clients in the public sector, primarily acting for higher education institutions and independent schools. Its deep bench includes Reading-based school sector expert Gemma Woodhouse as well as Oxford-based education group co-head Daff Richardson, whose experience in employment law enables her to engage with the often sensitive issues involved in student complaints and employment disciplinary matters. Collaboration with the firm’s wider departments means the team is well-placed to take on employment, immigration, corporate, commercial and IP-related mandates.

Practice head(s):

Daff Richardson

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Woodhouse; Sophie Whitbread; Hilary Aldred; Sam Rose


‘A fantastic team. Knowledge of the law is second to none. They are completely dedicated to achieving the best outcomes for clients. They also have formidable expertise in managing complex and sensitive investigations.’

‘Hilary Aldred is a truly exceptional lawyer. Hard-working, brilliantly intelligent, judgment is second to none.’

‘Sophie Whitbread is a fantastic lawyer, very knowledgeable, supremely organised.’

‘Daff Richardson is enormously experienced and able to answer most questions. When not able to help, she is able to direct clients to parts of her firm where she knows there is expertise.’

‘Sam Rose is not only an excellent, incisive lawyer, who is always a pleasure to deal with, extremely efficient and a very safe pair of hands for even the most complex of cases, but she has the key advantage of having previously worked in-house at a University.’

Key clients

Christ Church, Oxford

Pembroke College, Oxford

St Mary’s University Twickenham

The Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys and Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls

Wellington College

Nuffield College, Oxford

Work highlights

  • Assisted an Oxbridge college which had received substantial funds from a legacy and wished to invest the funds by subscribing for additional units in a bespoke fund into which only other charities could subscribe.
  • Advised an Oxbridge college on when to make data breach reports to the Information Commissioners office.
  • Assisted Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys and School for Girls with reviewing all staff contracts and queries in relation to term time working and zero hours.

Boyes Turner

Boyes Turner has niche expertise in advising solely on SEN and related matters; practice head Laxmi Patel in Reading is a specialist in this area. The team also includes associate Rachael Allison, SEN specialist Rachel Baxter and solicitor Lydia Dunford, who regularly represent clients in hearings.

Practice head(s):

Laxmi Patel

Other key lawyers:

Rachael Allison; Rachel Baxter; Lydia Dunford

Field Seymour Parkes LLP

Practitioners at Field Seymour Parkes LLP in Reading assist with the full range of legal issues faced by public sector clients and educational bodies. Senior associate Katie Burley heads up the team, which counts universities and borough councils as its clients. Employment specialist Louise Smyth is also a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Katie Burley

Other key lawyers:

Louise Smyth

Key clients

Berkshire College of Agriculture

University of Reading

University College of Estate Management

Berkshire Youth

Streatley Parish Council

Wokingham Borough Council

British Association for International & Comparative Education

Oaks Childcare Clubs Community Interest Company

Panasonic Trust for Further Education and Training of Engineers

Cranford House School

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow‘s Southampton-based ‘skilled, knowledgeable, and collaborative team‘ is one of few dedicated community care teams in the South East which offers specialist advice and assistance to those requiring access to health and social care services from the NHS or local authorities. Rebecca Sparrow now leads the team, having joined from Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP in August 2021. Associate Mea North‘s practice focuses on health and social care provision issues, and Nicholas Endean is ‘very knowledgeable in community care issues’.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Sparrow

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Endean; Mea North


‘Skilled, knowledgeable, and collaborative team. Easy to work with. Good communication.’

‘Nicholas Endean is very knowledgeable in community care issues, caring, and an excellent communicator.’

‘We dealt with Nicholas Endean. He was extremely knowledgeable and approachable.’

‘Very professional and outcome focused. Displayed a good partnership dynamic, working successfully with a separate, adjacent legal team. Very accessible and responsive.’

‘My main dealings were with Nicholas Endean. He was flexible enough to take on board the ideas and knowledge of others, whilst still maintaining a clear and authoritative “direction of travel” for the case. Abundant specialist knowledge and firm, meaningful advice at the critical stages. Very sharp analysis of case material and effective communication with client. Highly competent.’

PDT Solicitors

Located in Horsham, the healthcare team at PDT Solicitors has strengthened its presence in the healthcare sector, adding an increase in dental sales and acquisitions work to its work roster. Managing partner James Clewlow is the team’s practice head and is well regarded for his expertise and understanding of the pharmacy sector, while Holly Goacher is a go-to name for transactional work.

Practice head(s):

James Clewlow

Other key lawyers:

Holly Goacher


‘Each team member is approachable and knowledgeable about each case. Always quick to respond to any enquiries.’

‘The team is extremely knowledgeable and diligent. Both practical and organised which is priceless in my opinion. The team never require chasing as they constantly keep in touch with you through the legal process and provide timely solutions and advice where required.’

‘James Clewlow has always been personable and professional at the same time. He has been able to quickly grasp the legal requirements of the transaction at hand and was available to speak at all times.’

‘The team were extremely helpful in the purchase of my business. They were knowledgeable and skilfully guided me through the complex process.’

‘Efficient and knowledgeable team with practical advice and guidance.’

Key clients

Suffolk Pharma Group, Theatre Medical Supplies, Roundwell Norwich Limited

Pearl Chemist Limited

Dejasu Limited

Breakspear (Ashford) Limited

Ari Pharm Limited

A2 Health Limited

Keshav Limited

NKLA Healthcare Limited

Vibikaso Ltd

Mapex Pharmacy Consultancy Limited

A Dadhiwala Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client on the retirement sale of the shares of their pharmacy company to a pharmaceutical supplier company looking to expand its pharmacy portfolio for over £6.5m.
  • Acted for Suffolk Pharma Limited on the acquisition of 15 separate pharmacy shops as part of a national disposal programme by a well-known high-street pharmacy chain, with a combined value of circa £4m.
  • Acted for two individuals on the sale of 2 pharmacy shops for a sale price of £2.4m, with complicated cash extraction and retention considerations.

Thomson Snell & Passmore

The team at Thomson Snell & Passmore operates across the public sector acting for institutions such as special needs schools and charities. A large feature of the group’s recent work has involved advising large multi-academy trusts which have several schools within their care. Leading the practice is established employment lawyer Nick Hobden, whose strategic assistance to state schools is a standout element of his practice. Dispute resolution expert Douglas Skilton is also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hobden

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Skilton


‘We chose them and their partner Nick Hobson because of their particular expertise in state school governance.’

‘Expertise and a rapid grasp of our issues.’

Key clients

North Kent College – Dartford

Skills for Life Trust

Parallel Learning Trust

Cranbrook School Academy Trust and School Trust

St Edmund’s School Canterbury

Academy of Woodlands

Rivermead Inclusive Trust

Work highlights

  • Assisting Parallel Learning Trust with all its employee disputes within and outside employment tribunal claims.
  • Assisting the Skills for Life Trust with its employment tribunal disputes.
  • Assisting the Incorporated Rochester Diocesan Board of Education and the Governing Body of the Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School with a property dispute.

Carter Bond Solicitors

Harrow-based healthcare specialist Carter Bond Solicitors fields a ‘strong all round team‘, which is regularly instructed by clients such as the NHS and CQC. Kate Beech joined the firm in 2021, and specialises in the healthcare sector. Healthcare transaction expert, firm founder and managing partner Reena Popat heads up the team, and clients recommend Hammad Naveed whose work regularly has an international element.

Practice head(s):

Reena Popat

Other key lawyers:

Kate Beech; Hammad Naveed


‘I have worked with Carter Bond for the last 3-4 years, having been introduced to Reena Popat by one of my colleagues. She is always available to speak to potential clients and has an excellent team who work for her. Besides their good knowledge of the healthcare sector, their solicitors tend to be excellent communicators.’

‘Interactions with Hammad Naveed have been excellent. He has a very calm and reassuring manner.’

‘Good sector knowledge.’

‘Strong all round team.’

‘I was extremely impressed with the way our case was dealt with. We purchased a pharmacy and Carter Bond was exceptional in advising me on all the liabilities I need to be aware of when purchasing, also any unexpected issues that may occur. They provide a speedy service.’    

‘Carter Bond show a strong combination of technical experience and ability, which is also backed by the key considerations of being great communicators, supportive, approachable, pragmatic, responsive and easy to get in touch with.’

‘They anticipate and understand the issues or problems.’

‘They are a dedicated team of professionals with a high quality service delivered to their clients.’

Key clients

Markeaton Healthcare Ltd

Voot Limited

Roman Pharma Ltd

BKR Limited

Pharmacentric Limited

The Toothclub

Lukka Care Homes

Pharma4you Ltd

Crescent Dental Care

Work highlights

  • Advised Roman Pharma Ltd on its £2.1m acquisition of Shan Pharmacy Ltd.
  • Advised Markeaton Healthcare Ltd on its £1.45m acquisition of a pharmacy by way of a company purchase.
  • Advised Pharmacentric Limited on its pharmacy purchase to expand its pharmacy group.


Planning and education work is a focus for EMW Law LLP in Milton Keynes, a practice which is ‘well regarded in the field of education law and very ably represents the needs of clients, which are predominantly local authorities and independent schools‘. A large part of the firm’s education workload involves acting for local authorities in defending appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Tribunal. Laura Thompson and Marco Mauro are the group’s practice heads.

Practice head(s):

Laura Thompson; Marco Mauro


‘EMW is well regarded in the field of education law and very ably represent the needs of their clients, who are predominantly local authorities and independent schools. They offer to their clients pragmatic and commercially sound advice and handle complex cases with sensitivity and professionalism.’

‘Laura Thompson is a real star. She is totally committed to her field and has significant experience behind her. She is a persuasive advocate with a sensible approach.’

Key clients

Hertfordshire County Council

Worcestershire County Council

Long Itchington Parish Council

Work highlights

  • Represented Worcestershire County Council in an appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) following its successful defence of a first-tier tribunal decision.
  • Advised a local authority maintained school on its powers and responsibilities when directing a pupil off-site for their education.
  • Advising a council in connection with a controversial planning application for nine self-build units in an area considered by the Parish to be unsuitable for development.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP operates across multiple practice areas to assist clients in the education and healthcare sectors. Jointly leading the team is employment law specialist Graham Irons in Northampton and healthcare expert Oliver Pritchard in Norwich, who has over two decades of expertise in the field.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Pritchard; Graham Irons

Key clients

Anchor Carehomes Limited

Anchor Hanover Group

BHR Pharmaceuticals Limited

De Montfort University


Learners Trust

Medigold Health Consultancy Limited

Milton Keynes College

P J Care Limited

Polyco Healthline

St Matthews Healthcare

The Insolvency Service

The Official Receivers for England and Wales

University of Coventry

Tees Law

Located in Hertfordshire, Tees Law‘s ‘dedicated, personal and client-focused‘ group ‘undertakes work across all areas of education law’, with a particular focus on mandates involving SEND elements, an area in which Polly Kerr has become a significant presence, regularly acting for parents of children with SEND issues in tribunal proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Polly Kerr


‘They are quick and efficient, providing timely answers to difficult problems.’

‘The quick responses and detailed answers that do not shy away from highlighting potential risks in a given approach.’

‘Tees Law undertake work across all areas of education law, with a particular emphasis on SEN, admissions/exclusions, and issues relating to school governance and complaints. They have good experience of public law. In my experience, they offer a very dedicated, personal and client focused service.’

‘Tees Law is my go-to firm when I am recommending a solicitor for education or social care work.’

‘A standout solicitor in this firm is Polly Kerr. Polly manages to quickly gain the trust of the client in every case in which we’ve worked together. Polly is also not afraid to ask questions of local authorities.’

Key clients

Bishop’s Stortford College

Work highlights

  • Advised a client on bringing an appeal against the content of their child’s EHCP, where the local authority had not updated the EHCP in over 5 years.
  • Advising a school on a SEND tribunal arising from a permanent exclusion.
  • Represented a client through a tribunal process, including mediation with a local authority.