Becoming a national GLD and pay negotiations: Susanna McGibbon on the successes and trials of 2023

The Treasury solicitor and Government Legal Department perm sec looks back on 2023
McGibbon opened GLD's office at Three New Bailey in Salford. Photo: lowefoto/Alamy Stock Photo

By CSW staff

21 Dec 2023


Tell us three words that sum up your 2023...  

Pride, places and people. 

...And why you chose those words  

Pride – GLD lawyers have been at the heart of the government’s agenda. I have been so proud of the dedication and professionalism that has supported a heavy legislative programme, our response to Modules 1 and 2 of the Covid-19 Inquiry, our new free trade agreements and our extensive litigation caseload to name but a few. I have been particularly proud of the external recognition we have achieved in various legal awards – including the Lawyer Awards, the LexisNexis Legal Awards, and the British Legal Awards. 

Places – We’ve made great progress on our ambition to be a national GLD. I was so excited to open our new Salford office at Three New Bailey, an excellent addition to our Bristol, Croydon (another shiny new office), Leeds and London locations. As a Lancastrian who went to university in Yorkshire, I recognise the value of having opportunities on both sides of the Pennines. We are well on the way to building state of the art, vibrant offices across the country, enabling us to tap into new talent pools and build relationships with the legal profession nationally. I’ve enjoyed getting out and about meeting colleagues as I’ve tried to work in different offices on a regular basis. 

People – Our colleagues are what makes GLD a precious place to work and this year I was thrilled to secure a beneficial pay case for many of our lawyers in delegated grades. I was sad that we were not successful on behalf of our other professions, but I am committed to continuing to work to make improvements through our pay and reward modernisation project. Our corporate services colleagues are vital to our effectiveness as a legal organisation, and I want them to be valued for the contribution they make. As we continue to professionalise GLD I am looking forward to appointing a chief operating officer who will unify our legal operations and corporate services support in one directorate, providing the leadership to champion everyone’s contribution. 

What are your organisational and personal priorities for 2024?  

As well as a continuation of the above, I am looking forward to launching a new strategy that will set out our ambitions for the next few years as part of civil service reform. Our themes are becoming a national GLD that provides rewarding careers in an environment that is fit for the future. I want us to be confident as we look forward – as the first stop shop for most government legal advice, ensuring we continue to deploy our unique skills and experience in support of government priorities. We will be smarter in our use of the private sector, invest in the skills we need to embrace the opportunities of legal tech and we will double down on our GLD and civil service values to ensure we remain an inclusive legal services organisation which is unique and precious. 

What’s your favourite festive treat, and what makes you say: "Bah, humbug"?  

I love a mince pie and would eat them all year round, but bah, humbug to mulled wine – a good drink ruined! 

This is part of CSW's annual perm secs roundup. Read all the entries to the 2023 roundup here

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