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‘Choice and competition’: Government launches £50m panel for specialist rail advice

The Government is to launch a £50m rail legal advice services framework to provide specialist work to the Department for Transport.

The creation of the new panel is being led by the Cabinet Office through the Crown Commercial Service (CCS). Procurement will be organised in partnership with the Department for Transport and the Government Legal Department.

The CCS, which provides commercial services to public sector, said the new panel would provide a more focused framework and give the market greater availability of work. It would also provide ‘ready access to a pool of highly experienced rail legal advisers’ and provide users with ‘choice and competition, and drive value for money’.

The framework would also reduce complexity by ‘reducing the number of potential suppliers’ and streamline the process for contract work, with the framework’s scope to include rail regulatory law, commercial and contract law, competition law, EU law and litigation.

The CCS said the framework is expected to start in January 2017, with publication of the contract notice to take place around 1 August. A ‘bidder engagement event’ will take place shortly, with bidders asked to register thier interest before 17 June.

Law firms currently used by the Department of Transport, where the legal team is led by general counsel Nick Olley, include Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Burges Salmon, DLA Piper, Fieldfisher, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Hogan Lovells, Eversheds, Norton Rose Fulbright, Simmons & Simmons and Winckworth Sherwood.

The CCS said it expects eight external providers to be appointed to the panel.