Head of Corporate Law & Information Governance

Equality and Human Rights Commission

  • Team: Corporate Law and Governance
  • Grade: Senior Principal (Grade 6)
  • Salary: £61,117.92 plus £3,200 London Weighting Allowance (pro rata for part time)
  • Location: Cardiff, London or Manchester
  • Closing: 11:59pm, 26th Jun 2022 BST

Job Description

About us

We are Britain’s national equality regulator and a United Nations accredited ‘A status’ national human rights institution.

We uphold people’s rights without fear or favour. We use the full force of our legal powers to defend people from unfair or unequal treatment and to challenge breaches of the law. We advise on developing laws and provide guidance, training and support to enable compliance.

We bring people together to create change. We work with employers, governments and a wide range of organisations, to promote understanding of equality and human rights and we support them to make improvements in practice.

Overview of the role and responsibilities

Performing a key leadership role in the Legal Directorate, you will contribute significantly to the delivery of the Commission’s legal work, providing expert oversight and commercial law and legal governance expertise. This support will be fundamental to supporting the organisation’s delivery of it strategic goals throughout the course of our newly published three-year Strategic plan.  Joining at this pivotal time will give an opportunity to make a real contribution to the future of the Commission’s legal services and the Commission as a whole.

You will work with peers on the legal leadership team to contribute to the leadership of the Regulatory Network to tackle the challenges and opportunities faced by a modern public sector body.

Reporting to the Chief Legal Officer, you will be a source of expert legal advice to the Commission on all relevant in-house commercial legal matters and any actions against the Commission. The ability to provide appropriate, proportionate and risk aware solutions to the corporate law challenges faced by the Commission and doing so on time, on budget and to the highest professional standards is a given for this role. The Head of Corporate Law and Information Governance will provide legal expertise and lead a small expert team ensuring a timely and effective information governance and commercial legal service is provided across the organisation.

You will:

  • Be an experienced senior lawyer, responsible for providing inspiring leadership and effective management of our Corporate Law and Governance team. You will have responsibility for financial and quality control of relevant legal and other work, work planning, and staff performance and development management as they relate to your areas of responsibility.

  • Lead your team in delivering the highest quality legal and other corporate services to colleagues and stakeholders across the Commission, up to and including the Board of Commissioners.

  • Support the Senior Management Team and Board of Commissioners concerning the legal remit of their actions and on governance issues, ensuring that the legal consequences and risks of relevant decisions are properly understood and appropriately balanced.

  • Draft, review and negotiate contracts and provide procurement and contract dispute advice on; information governance law; governance advice; employee relations and employment law, contentious and otherwise; potential challenges against  the Commission (including public law challenges); property law issues; any other appropriate issues arising.

  • Manage contracts with outsourced legal service providers, ensuring alignment with budget, quality control and the appropriate use of the resource. You will be responsible for managing our corporate law budget.

  • Actively contribute to the wider management and leadership of the Legal Directorate, deputising for the Chief Legal Officer where appropriate, collaborating with other members of the legal leadership team to contribute to the strategic thinking, development and planning within the Directorate.

Team Responsibilities

The Head of Corporate Law and Information Governance will provide commercial law ensuring a timely and effective governance and commercial legal service is provided across the organisation.

The Head of Corporate Law and Information Governance will also manage a small expert team engaged in ensuring the Commission meets its statutory requirements under the Data Protection Act, General Data Protection Regulation, Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations.  The key responsibilities for this team include:

  • Handling and responding to freedom of information requests and information rights requests and ensuring that legislation is accurately applied and best practice is followed.

  • Providing pragmatic and risk based advice to colleagues across the Commission on the application of the data protection principles and other areas of data protection compliance.

  • Taking steps to resolve data protection issues and reduce risks (including conducting risk assessment of new projects).

  • Providing advice, training and guidance to colleagues.

Undertaking risk assessments, responding to incidents and breaches and monitoring and improving compliance.

 Knowledge, Skills and Experience:

The role requires a qualified solicitor or barrister entitled to practise in England and Wales, with substantial and relevant post qualification experience (ideally in-house, in another non-departmental public body (NDPB), regulator or in a similar public sector body).

The successful candidate will work with a high degree of independence, professional responsibility, autonomy and discretion within agreed delegated limits and supervisory framework.

 As a credible and persuasive communicator, with excellent judgement and impeccable discretion, you will be required to quickly develop a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by a modern public sector body. You will exercise a high degree of independent professional responsibility, autonomy and discretion to ensure the successful delivery across a range of work.

 Knowledge, Skills and Experience required include:

 Essential

  •  Evident experience in leading, managing and supervising a legal team (ideally in-house, in another non-departmental public body (NDPB), regulator or in a similar public sector body).

  • Substantial demonstrable knowledge and experience in at least three of the following and an ability and willingness to learn and develop in the other areas:

    -          Commercial law including drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts

    -          intellectual property; 

    -          data protection;

    -          freedom of information legislation;

    -          employment and discrimination law;

    -          litigation/dispute resolution; and

    -          public law.

  • The ability to ensure the highest standard of outputs from their team and to take personal conduct of the most high-risk, complex or sensitive legal work.

  • Be a credible, articulate and persuasive communicator to staff and colleagues at all levels of the organisation (including Board) and provide clear, timely and pragmatic legal advice.

  • Have the ability to work effectively as part of the Legal Leadership Team, and contribute to developing the strategic direction and operational effectiveness of the Legal Directorate and wider Regulatory Network.

Desirable

  • Experience of working for or providing advice to a regulatory body, and/ or working in the fields of equality/human rights and/or providing advice in discrimination, equality and/or human rights law, with an understanding of the wider environment and context in which the Commission operates.

  • Experience of managing an information governance function, and managing a legal budget and external legal panel.

  • Experience in mentoring/coaching lawyers and developing a high performing legal team.

  • Demonstrable experience in conducting or managing legal disputes, for example public law judicial review challenges or successfully negotiating commercial legal disputes.

  • Knowledge, skills or interest in, the wider implications of new digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, automated decision making and automated facial recognition.

Benefits

In addition to a competitive salary, we offer a range of benefits including flexible working patterns, 30 days annual leave plus 8 bank holidays (full time FTE), access to the Civil Service Pension Scheme and partnership pension schemes, and enhanced parental leave benefits. More information can be found in the candidate pack.

How to apply

If this sounds like the role for you, please review the attached Candidate pack for more information.

If you have any questions, please contact Adam Sowerbutts, Chief Legal Officer, recruitment@equalityhumanrights.com or 0161 829 8100.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is an accredited Disability Confident Leader and operates a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for candidates with a disability.

Should you wish to apply under our Guaranteed Interview Scheme or request a reasonable adjustment, please indicate this in your application.  

If you require an alternative accessible version of the application form or wish to discuss your application or reasonable adjustment  – please contact us by email at recruitment@equalityhumanrights.com or by telephone on 0161 829 8100.

Diversity in our workforce

At the Commission, we are proud of our respectful workplace that values the contribution of all our staff, whatever their background.  We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment. Our recruitment decisions are based on fair, open competition, with appointment on merit. We welcome applications from everyone to ensure we achieve a balanced representation in our workforce in all grades.

Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You won't need a CV to apply to this job

Start your de-biased application

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Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You won't need a CV to apply to this job

Start your de-biased application