International Women’s Day is not just another event in the calendar. Striving for social equality is a daily mission as we work towards building a society of gender equality.
As published on BCL Legal's 'The Brief' – 28 March 2019.
We catch up with Jonathan Cox to discuss his career and work in the property sector.
Jonathan, can you please tell us a bit about your career and current role at Anthony Collins Solicitors?
I am one of the social housing sector partners; part of a multi-disciplinary housing sector team. My background is property law but my role at Anthony Collins Solicitors has always been in the space where property, regulatory and housing operations mix; it has been an area full of a wide variety of instructions. My current role is to co-ordinate our work in the sector and be head of our new Manchester office.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the property sector in the Midlands?
The key issue is whether the “Brexit downturn” experienced in the south east will spread to the Midlands; if that results in a slowing down of residential development activity then for our social housing sector clients this would mean in a decrease in the section 106 “pipeline”.
The other related difficulty is the challenge of delivering the West Midlands Combined Authority’s “Housing Deal”; the Government is investing a lot in the area and the property sector in particular – the headline figure is £350M; the region must make sure it delivers.
If you could improve anything in the region what would it be?
Long term thinking; we have land in the West Midlands where people don’t want to live; we must get to a place where we are bold and all stakeholders; local authorities, housing associations, Homes England; developers and funders combine to make those places desirable – I think the Housing Deal is a big step in doing just that.
What are the two most rewarding or most high-profile projects that you’ve been involved in?
With Anthony Collins Solicitors I have been proud to be involved in a lot of high-profile projects. A current project is working with the National Housing Federation and its members in developing the Voluntary Right to Buy Pilot for the Midlands – since it is voluntary the legislative framework that exists for the “usual” right to buy wasn’t available so it was technically difficult. Our advice covered policy, planning, financial services, land law, rent charges and more; – it’s a £200M project that will change the lives of tenants and their families in 3,000 homes and builds on the national pilot I lead on in 2016.
Building wise it’s difficult to single out one - but 15 years on, the redevelopment of Lee Bank – a joint venture between Birmingham City Council, Optima Community Association and Crest creating a new district called Park Central transformed an area dubbed by its residents “the worse slum in Europe” –has stood the test of time.
In your view, what sets Anthony Collins Solicitors apart?
We define what we do at Anthony Collins Solicitors through our social purpose – improving lives, communities and society. Myself and my colleagues have joined Anthony Collins Solicitors to do just that. We work in specific sectors all of which are focussed on those outcomes - it means we are on the same page as our clients and together we can produce life changing results.
The firm opened a new Manchester office in January; how are things progressing?
As much as better serving our North West clients, the office is about giving lawyers in the Greater Manchester area an opportunity to work for a social purpose law firm; Manchester has a proud history of social activism and we are talking to a number of lawyers interested in joining us; so far we have had lawyers from Trowers & Hamlins, Barnardos and Fiona Bruce join us; we’re looking forward to having a well-known NW Social Housing Property Partner join us in July to head our Social Housing property team.
Finally, what’s the best thing about your job?
Working somewhere where I can make a positive contribution with my skills.
Next in our series of ebriefings on the Government’s Green Paper: Transforming public procurement; looking at the Chapter 4 proposal to change the basis of contract awards.
The Academies Financial Handbook is updated annually by the Department for Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency; it contains a number of governance requirements for academy trusts.
Supreme Court publishes key decision for those working in the UK’s gig economy.
The 'Chocolate Snowman Appeal' is an amazing initiative that Anthony Collins Solicitors' (ACS) employees take part in every year.
The Building Safety Bill (the Bill) is said to be the most significant and wide-ranging change to the regulatory environment for higher risk building (HRBs) for over 45 years.
On 4 November 2020, the Restriction of Public Exit Payments Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) came into force; exit payments for the public sector were capped at £95,000.
The case was brought by the Official Receiver who sought disqualification orders under section 6 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (CDDA 1986) against the seven trustees of Kids Company and its CEO. It illustrates well the tension between the role of a fulltime paid CEO of a large charity and the role of its board as voluntary trustees/directors.
At the end of 2020, The Charity Governance Code was updated or 'refreshed' as it is termed on its website.
Anthony Collins Solicitors is today (Thursday 11 February) revealing the scale of its social impact during 2020.
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