Just published on North Yorkshire's Open Data page is the council spending for March. It includes two payments of £3500 to Baker Small Solicitors, with whom the Council has a contract to provide educational advice.
Total to date
20/3/14 Other Hired and Contract Services £ 3500.00 (link)
20/3/14 Other Hired and Contract Services £ 3500.00
1/8/13 Other Hired and Contract Services £ 7000.00 (link)
8/5/13 Other Hired and Contract Services £10000.00 (link) (Corrected figure 13.07.13)
6/2/13 Other Hired and Contract Services £ 7000.00 (link)
21/9/11 Other Hired and Contract Services £ 8000.00 (link)
29/3/11 Other courses - course fees £ 850.00 (link)
Total £39850.00 (ex VAT)
About Baker Small
Baker Small are a firm of solicitors that provides legal advice to local authorities on SEN appeals and tribunals and can represent the council at Special Educational Needs Tribunals. The council use Baker Small for representation and advice when parents appeal to the Tribunal Service in order to increase its chance of winning and thereby reduce the cost of its education bill. The Tribunals are supposedly informal and parents are advised that they do not need representation. This can lead to situations whereby the local authority is legally represented out of the public purse and parents are not. There is no public funding available for parents to be legally represented at Tribunal.