Head of Legal and Advocacy Services

Location Belfast, County Antrim
Job type Temporary
Salary Up to £50000 per annum
Published about 1 month ago
Start date 7th June 2022
Contact Orlaith Fogarty
Job ref HoLNICS_1653060321

Job description

Head of Legal and Advocacy Services

Head of Legal and Advocacy Services required for a large public sector organisation based through the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Salary: £50, 026 (Grade 7)

Location: Equality House, Belfast

Hours: 37 hours per week

Duration: 6 - 12 months


  • The post holder will support the Chief Executive and will be a member of the Senior Management Team.
  • The key purpose and function of this role will be in the following areas:
  • Supporting the Commissioner and the Chief Executive in the principle aim as set out in legislation to safeguard and promote the interests of older people; offering strategic advice and recommendations on all areas of Legal Advice;
  • Responsible for leading and managing the Legal Team (Legal Officers and Advocacy Officers) ensuring delivery of high quality, timely legal advice, alternative dispute resolution and complaints handling services to older people who seek the Commissioner's assistance;
  • Managing and outsourcing litigation, briefing Counsel and supervising legal officers litigation activity;
  • Responsible for developing the strategies and Annual Work programmes; including monitoring and reporting to the Commissioner and the Chief Executive on the achievement of key performance indicators;
  • Identify priorities for COPNI and involvement in business planning and delivery;
  • Influence the policy agenda of Government, political parties, commissioners, providers, and various decision makers across Northern Ireland on issues affecting older people;
  • Identify, initiate and develop relationships with key policy makers and opinion formers at senior levels;
  • Undertake any other duties in support of the Chief Executive Officer, as required


  1. Management of COPNI's Legal function
  • Manage the day to day running of the Legal division using appropriate systems, processes, policies, procedures, and practices to meet the need of the business;
  • Initiate legal research to identify issues affecting older people in Northern Ireland;
  • Responsible for liaison with providers of contracted or shared services and ensure value for money in conducting and commissioning research and ensuring that protocols and standards are in place to deliver high quality research in accordance with Managing Public Money NI (MPMNI);
  • Ensure COPNI operates in a working environment that complies with statutory equality and disability legislation; and ensure COPNI fully complies with all its statutory obligations;
  • Undertake any other duties on behalf of COPNI as assigned by the Commissioner / Chief Executive Officer, as appropriate to the grade.

  1. Strategic planning
  • Contribute to the strategic planning, agreement, and monitoring of business objectives;
  • Develop and prioritise work options and propose new areas of work that will improve the lives of older people; devise plans to deliver policy advice to government.

  1. Communication and Information dissemination
  • Providing effective, timely advice and information to the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer;
  • Contribute to the development of effective working relationships with other bodies exercising functions relating to the interests of older people;
  • Establishing good working relationships and effective communication with DfC;
  • The post holder must have the ability to identify customer/audience needs and communicate in a clear, concise, relevant and timely manner to meet these needs.

  1. Resource Management / Project Management
  • The budget varies in accordance with business objectives - the post holder is responsible for profiling spend, monitoring, evaluating and providing management information to the CEO and the Head of Corporate Services.
  • Developing options for conducting or outsourcing research on issues affecting older people.
  • Managing outsourcing of contracts, development of technical specifications, project initiation and management.

  1. Leadership
  • Provide effective professional leadership to the Legal division;
  • Provide direction, effectively build capacity, and manage change within the Legal division to contribute to the organisation addressing current and future challenges;
  • Demonstrate an inclusive style of leadership which motivates staff, develops commitment, encourages innovation and builds positive relationships with government departments and stakeholders;
  • Demonstrate a high level of personal integrity and maintain professional standards throughout the corporate services function;

  1. Other Duties
  • Uphold the values of the Commission in terms of its commitment to promoting awareness of the interests of older people and listening to and involving older people in key aspects of the Commissioner's work;
  • Participate in COPNI's performance management process, via completion of an annual Personal Development Plan and Personal Performance Agreement;
  • Provide the appropriate service at all times and treat those with whom you come into contact in a courteous and respectful manner;
  • Comply with COPNI's Health and Safety Policy and statutory requirements in conduct of all duties and responsibilities;
  • COPNI is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All staff are required to adhere to COPNI's Equal Opportunities Policy throughout the course of employment;
  • Ensure the confidence of the public in COPNI, maintaining the highest standards of personal accountability at all times;
  • All staff are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to promote equality of opportunity between:-
  • Persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status and sexual orientation;
  • Men and women generally;
  • Persons with a disability and persons without; and
  • Persons with dependants and persons without.

Essential criteria

Possess a degree in law or a degree in legal studies of which law is the major component accompanied by another subject.

Be qualified as a barrister or solicitor entitled to practice in Northern Ireland or in a position to become so entitled by the date of appointment.

Have at least 5 years' experience (3 at a senior level*) within the last 7 years of providing detailed advice across a range of issues including at least two of the following areas: constitutional law, administrative law, contract law, employment law, civil litigation, human rights law, family law.

(* Senior level - providing detailed advice to Grade 5 or above on taking decisions affecting the strategic issues concerning the corporate body or organisation within which an individual is working)

Experience of developing and leading legal services that achieved successful outcomes.

Have experience of managing a team of staff.

Have effective leadership and team-working skills and the ability to proactively manage the performance and development of others to achieve results;

Can create and maintain relationships with key stakeholders.

The ability to communicate confidently, clearly, and persuasively, both orally and in writing with the ability to understand, value and incorporate different perspectives.


If you are interested and available for this position, please upload your CV to the link or contact Orlaith Fogarty.

To be shortlisted for this role all applicants MUST meet the essential criteria. Please note that these roles may be filled quickly but your CV will be kept on file for future similar roles. As there are so many applications, unsuccessful candidates may not be contacted.

Successful candidates may need to apply for an Access NI Certificate with Staffline regardless if you already have a valid certificate. It will be a cost of between £18 - £33 depending on clearance level.

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