Legal Business Blogs

Bidding opens on UK government’s reshaped £320m public sector legal panel

The UK government’s bid to trim legal costs for the public sector has taken another step after firms were invited to pitch for a multitude of spots on the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) new £320m panel.

Procurement agency CCS announced last October it planned to set up a £650m ‘legal services marketplace’ through which central government, devolved administrations and public bodies would procure legal advice.

A tender document released earlier this month, however, shows the procurement has since been renamed ‘wider public sector legal services’ and its value nearly halved to £320m.

The latest panel is split into five lots with different numbers of suppliers and values for each. Regional service provision will have 80 suppliers and be worth £70m, full service 16 at £130m, property and construction six at £40m, transport rail five at £32m, and cost lawyer work four for £48m.

Firms have until mid-June to pitch for spots on the panel, which is set to run for three years from August. Firms can be appointed to a maximum of four lots.

The review is the fourth and final part of CCS’ wider legal services renewal programme, which aims to cut down the number of go-to-firms for external counsel by nearly 40%.

A two-tier panel of 18 firms for general legal advice services was unveiled in March last year. Magic Circle firm Linklaters was joined by Bond Dickinson, Burges Salmon, DAC Beachcroft, Dentons, DLA Piper, Gowling WLG, Mills & Reeve, Pinsent Masons, Eversheds Sutherland, PwC and TLT.

Second tier members, to be used if top tier firms cannot accept a contract, include Bevan Brittan, Fieldfisher, Browne Jacobson, Hogan Lovells, Simmons & Simmons and Slaughter and May.

Eight firms won spots on a separate £50m rail panel, while Slaughters, Linklaters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Chance, Dentons, Ashurst, legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner, Hogan Lovells and Simmons & Simmons won spots on the government’s complex financial and legal advice panel.