Reviewed by PLC Public Sector in October 2012.
A document about the PLC Public Sector web service.
PLC Public Sector is an innovative online support service designed specifically for lawyers working in the public sector. The service allows subscribers to deliver best value to their organisation through the use of continually maintained, high-quality documents and current awareness resources. Intuitive keyword searching across all materials gives the busy public sector lawyer the information they need at their fingertips. This ease of use combined with first-class legal resources allows public sector lawyers to concentrate internal expertise on areas of greatest value to their organisation. The service is also likely to be of interest to other support services within public authorities, such as procurement, planning and human resources professionals. The service is designed to keep its users up to date with developments in key areas of law relevant to the public sector, and to provide them with practical support through guidance notes and other resources.
PLC Public Sector brings to public sector lawyers a high-quality level of support encompassing Practice notes, Standard documents, Checklists, Guidance notes, Legal updates and other resources, which they are unlikely to have received from a single know-how provider before (see Benefits and advantages of the service). It enables public sector lawyers to deliver a quality service to their clients more easily, and to concentrate their internal resources where the greatest return lies.
See what our subscribers say about us by clicking here (www.practicallaw.com/0-504-3914).
PLC Public Sector comprises:
A legal updating service - weekly e-mails on key legal developments affecting the public sector across a wide area of practice including procurement, property, commercial, education, employment, health, pensions, public law and other areas.
Practice notes - guidance on key areas of law, available online and updated by the PLC Public Sector team as developments occur.
Standard documents - comprehensive precedents with detailed drafting notes, available online and downloadable in Word format and via Fastdraft.
Checklists, flowcharts, legislation trackers and links to all the external resources you need - resources which help users to analyse legal requirements at a glance.
For case studies of how these PLC resources could help you, see:
The service covers the following areas of UK law:
Commercial – including general commercial law, sale and supply of goods and services, intellectual property rights, company meetings, competition law, state aid, charity law and related commercial areas.
Education and social services - including children's services and mental capacity.
Freedom of information and data protection.
Projects – including PFI/PPP, Construction and ICT.
Public and administrative law – including public law, public powers, local government law, judicial review and human rights.
Public procurement – including public procurement, outsourcing and procurement of ICT.
Regulation and enforcement.
PLC Public Sector will cover additional areas of law relevant to lawyers working in local or central government in the future, subject to subscriber demand. If you have any comments on the scope of the service please contact Chris Knuckey, Acting Head of PLC Public Sector at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The PLC Public Sector legal update service is delivered weekly by e-mail and is also available in a searchable archive on the homepage (see Public Sector updates).
Subscribers can choose to receive:
A weekly PLC Public Sector e-mail. This will cover:
Developments in public and administrative law, public procurement, education, freedom of information and data protection, employment, pensions, environment, property, planning and commercial law.
Significant new cases that are of importance to public sector lawyers.
Consultations, guidance and other publications from the government, regulators and professional bodies.
New and draft primary and secondary legislation of particular relevance to the public sector.
Major changes in market and professional practice.
Notification of new material added or changes in the functionality of the Public Sector site.
Daily or weekly e-mails produced by other PLC web services in the following areas of law:
IPIT & Communications.
Share Schemes and Incentives.
In order to produce these legal updates PLC editors monitor all the appropriate sources within the areas of law and categories described above, review new developments for relevance and report on those that raise points that are of significance to practitioners. A large proportion of the information we review is obtained from websites: we have a team of paralegals monitoring several thousand sites on a daily basis using specialist software, which alerts us to new content.
Rather than simply passing on this information, PLC editors produce updates that explain the legal and practical implications of developments with the requirements of our subscribers in mind. Each update contains a summary of the relevant development, explains the relevant background where necessary and analyses the legal and practical impact. The updates are complete in themselves, but where appropriate include hyperlinks to external source documents (including transcripts for new cases, consultation papers, draft Bills and Statutory instruments) and, where relevant, to other PLC materials. For example, see Legal update, Cala Homes: reasons for decision lifting stay published (www.practicallaw.com/7-504-3005).
Practice notes contain concise explanations of key areas of law relevant to the public sector. They provide up-to-date and reliable statements of law and practice, and are continually updated by PLC's editors as developments occur. For example, see Practice note, Local government: appointment of members and officers to external organisations (www.practicallaw.com/3-503-6323) and Practice note, Local government: powers to participate in external organisations (www.practicallaw.com/1-503-6282).
PLC Public Sector also provides access to precedent documents accompanied by drafting notes, which give detailed guidance on legal, negotiating and drafting issues. These Standard documents are updated by PLC's professional support team as developments occur, on the same basis as for Practice notes. They are also downloadable in Microsoft Word format with automatic tables of contents, numbering and cross-referencing. For example, see Standard document, Memorandum of understanding for joint working by public bodies (www.practicallaw.com/6-501-9256).
PLC Public Sector publishes a "blog" with posts from our legal team and leading legal commentators giving their opinion on "hot" legal developments and topics of the day. See PLC Public Sector, Opinion blog.
Following the e-mail each week, PLC Public Sector produce recommended actions based on the updates included in the weekly e-mail. For further information, see PLC Public Sector recommended actions (www.practicallaw.com/5-386-1602).
Other resources available on the PLC Public Sector site include:
Legislation trackers. See PLC Public Sector: Legislation trackers. (www.practicallaw.com/1-383-8406)
The service is delivered through PLC's website using specifically developed technology to provide a seamless source of managed know-how to the practitioner in an easy-to-use form:
All materials are fully searchable, using our Google-powered keyword search facility. Searches can be done across all material or restricted to selected types of material or certain topics.
Special technology is used to index material, which greatly improves the searching process.
Frequent hypertext links guide users around the site, taking them quickly to relevant material.
PLC Annotation allows users to create and maintain their own notes on PLC's resources. This is included at no extra cost as part of a subscription to PLC Public Sector.
PLC Fastdraft enables users to quickly assemble advanced first drafts of key documents, transforming the efficiency and cost of drafting. This is also included at no extra cost for subscribers to PLC Public Sector.
PLC Firmstyle enables users to automatically download PLC standard documents in their organisation’s house style.
RSS feeds allows users to see when PLC have added new content, such as blog entries, news headlines and articles.
The PLC Public Sector team comprises three experienced editors, two junior editors, a publisher and a paralegal as well as drawing on the expertise of a number of consultants with significant experience of working in the public sector, including at the Government Legal Service, as a Parliamentary Draftsman and in the legal team of a local authority. See the profiles of the team, PLC Public Sector professional support team (www.practicallaw.com/2-384-0668).
In addition, PLC Public Sector provides subscribers with access to content produced by other PLC web services, all of which have a "public sector champion" who assists with identifying and drafting suitable content for lawyers in the public sector within their specialist areas of practice. PLC employs over 200 experienced former practitioners covering a wide range of practice areas, see PLC Professional support team (www.practicallaw.com/4-103-0546). PLC editors have experience in many leading law firms and the commercial sector as well as in the public sector at the Government Legal Service; The Treasury Solicitor's Department; the Law Commission; the Office of Fair Trading; the Takeover Panel; DEFRA; the European Commission; the Financial Services Authority; the Pensions Regulator; HMRC; and at various local authorities.
PLC Public Sector includes material written by leading lawyers advising or working in the public sector. Contributed content is always edited by the PLC Public Sector legal team to ensure consistency with our other materials. PLC editors ensure that contributed content is kept up-to-date with any changes in practice or legal developments. See PLC Public Sector contributors (www.practicallaw.com/0-384-0669).
The PLC Public Sector service has a consultation board of leading experts, who advise on the direction of the service and are used as a sounding board on points of law and practice. See PLC Public Sector consultation board (www.practicallaw.com/2-383-4422) to view a list of members of the consultation board.
PLC Public Sector is a cost-effective resource for public sector lawyers across the board. It helps to:
Increase efficiencies within legal teams, saving lawyers' time and enhancing their capacity to provide services to their clients.
Improve the quality, speed and accuracy of their service.
Bring new staff up to speed quickly and effectively.
Attract, maintain and motivate good lawyers.
PLC web services improve on traditional legal publications and resources in a number of ways:
Legal textbooks and looseleaf collections of precedents: These are generally provided in paper form and are only periodically updated. PLC Public Sector provides high-level standard documents with clause-by-clause drafting notes covering the background know-how required to make drafting changes and focussed on the practical realities of law in operation. Paper products cannot link to other underlying internal and external resources in the way that PLC's online service does. Our standard documents also include optional "plug-in" clauses. They are of the highest quality and used by leading practices. They are informed by and shape market practice. They are written in plain English and can be easily downloaded and amended in Word format. Some of PLC's key documents are automated so it is possible to arrive at a first draft simply by answering a few questions.
Primary legislation: PLC products link directly to publicly-available legislation and case law through Legislation.gov.uk, BAILII and other services. In addition, PLC Public Sector provides up-to-date practical commentary on relevant legislation and links to case reports and other relevant materials written by experienced practitioners which put the legislation in context.
Case alerters: These provide quick, but superficial, coverage of new case law, alerting subscribers to decisions as soon as they are delivered by the court without providing any analysis of the practical implications. Case alerters do not usually apply any filters, instead covering all cases regardless of their significance. By contrast, PLC editors review all judgments but only report on the ones likely to be of interest to subscribers or which are likely to have a significant effect on best practice and always provide practical comment for subscribers. In addition, PLC Public Sector provides updates on many legal developments beyond case law, for example, consultation papers, draft legislation and guidance from statutory bodies and regulators. Our lawyers filter out "noise", that is, cases and developments that have no practical impact for front-line lawyers and they filter in developments outside a particular practice area, which nevertheless impact on it (for example, cases on contract law, tort and insurance which property lawyers need to know about). Each update is carefully structured so that legal developments are put into context and the practical impact of any change is concisely explained.
Research databases: PLC services are not "aggregators" of raw information. Instead, PLC provides practical guidance on matters of daily relevance to lawyers via practice notes, which contain concise analyses of key areas of law and practice. Practice notes are updated whenever a legal development occurs, and link to other PLC materials, such as legal updates and case reports, as well as to external resources. A resource history enables users to see when a note has been updated and find out what changes have been made.
PLC Public Sector goes beyond other traditional legal information services by also providing access to other unique and practical tools providing concise and easily accessible guidance on key areas of law and practice, such as checklists, quick reference tables, legislation trackers and flowcharts. PLC also produce and host podcasts, opinion blogs and discussion forums.
Find out what our subscribers say about us by clicking here (www.practicallaw.com/0-504-3914).
For further information, please contact (for editorial queries) Chris Knuckey, Acting Head of PLC Public Sector at email@example.com or (for sales queries) Danielle Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org.