Legal Business

Carillion

  • Director of legal services and company secretary: Richard Tapp.
  • Team headcount: 19 lawyers in the UK, four in Canada, two in Dubai; 50 staff, including lawyers, in Carillion Advice Services.

Described by one law firm partner as displaying ‘outstanding leadership and encouragement’, construction giant Carillion was one of the earliest adopters of innovative business solutions in the form of its own legal outsourcing arm, Carillion Advice Services (CAS). Carillion diverts the commoditised and quasi-legal portion of all its workload to CAS, which is also now used by its panel law firms to service their own clients’ needs.

In 2013, Slaughter and May announced it had begun offering the services of Newcastle-based CAS to Vodafone, and that arrangement has subsequently been extended to other clients.

CAS has, over the past 18 months, grown from undertaking Carillion’s contract review work across the UK to across the globe. GC Richard Tapp says: ‘Our lawyers love it. It frees them up to do things that are the best use of their time.’

Such a move has ultimately helped the company keep legal costs at the same level they were a decade ago.

Other moves to reduce costs include using external firms in a collaborative network, where firms agree standard forms of documentation for their Carillion work and meet twice a year. Tapp adds: ‘It works best if all the firms are getting work and we keep the network fairly small. I appreciate we are quite demanding so it’s quid pro quo.’ Each year, Carillion asks its network of advisers to identify the legal issues on the horizon that may impact its business.

The standout task for the team during 2014 was undoubtedly the £3bn negotiations over a combination with main rival Balfour Beatty, in which Tapp and his team – which includes Alison Shepley, GC for outsourcing; Jeremy Mutter, GC for construction and Anne Ramsay, GC for projects – played a key part. The deal ultimately fell through after the pair failed to agree terms.

Carillion also entered into a joint venture with ASK Real Estate and Tristan Capital Partners; an £800m landmark partnership with Sunderland City Council to secure regeneration activity within Sunderland and the wider north-east region; and is part of the £550m Aberdeen Roads consortium, previously operating under the collective name Connect Roads. Aberdeen Roads will inject an estimated £6bn into the local economy and create around 14,000 new jobs.

At engineering, IT and facilities service business NG Bailey, GC Scott McKinnell says: ‘They have clearly delineated risk processes and teams serving projects across the world, ensuring that this works commercially, operationally and legally and to a tight deadline of preparation.’