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Government launches procurement of £250m legal services framework

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The government has put £250m-worth of legal work up for grabs, after this month launching the procurement of a record-breaking legal services framework agreement.

The framework agreement, which is being set up by the Government Procurement Service (GPS), will be made available for use by central government departments and their arm’s length bodies and agencies as well as a huge range of other organisations including non-departmental public bodies, NHS bodies and local authorities.

The agreement is worth an estimated £200-250m and will last for an initial two years. However, the GPS has included an option to extend the agreement for a further one year, plus one year. This will be exercised at its discretion.

The "pan-governmental collaborative framework agreement" is set to be a much larger replacement for the framework agreement run by Buying Solutions, which is now part of the GPS. The Buying Solutions framework agreement was extended last year for an 11-month period lasting until 31 May 2012.

Local Government Lawyer revealed in March 2011 how the Cabinet Office – which oversees the GPS – planned to run the procurement of legal services for the whole of Whitehall. Ministers had announced earlier that nine categories of common goods and services would be procured centrally in this way.

There will be eight lots under the GPS agreement:

  1. IT, telecoms, media and e-commerce
  2. Property and estates
  3. Employment and pensions
  4. General corporate including tax and insolvency
  5. Finance and financial regulation
  6. General commercial
  7. General litigation and legal support services
  8. Major or complex projects (including major or complex matters requiring expertise falling under any other lots)

Tenders can be submitted for one or more lots. However, the GPS said that participants “must be able to provide a comprehensive service specific to each of the lots for which they apply”.

Other key features of the GPS' proposed new arrangements:

  • The contract will be covered by the Government Procurement Agreement;
  • The GPS has reserved the right for an electronic auction to be held by public sector bodies during further competition among the parties to the framework agreement;
  • If the GPS decides to enter into a framework agreement with a successful supplier, this does not mean that there is any guarantee of subsequent contracts being awarded;
  • There will be no guaranteed volumes under any framework agreement awarded;
  • It is the GPS’ intention that the majority of assignments under £100,000 will go to the open market.

Philip Hoult

THE EIGHT LOTS IN FULL:

  1. IT, telecoms, media and e-commerce: Subject matter which might typically arise under this category includes e-commerce; IT, procurement, contracts and licences; telecoms procurement, contracts and licences; convergent technologies and the Internet; and media. Also covered would be legal services in relation to matters arising out of or related to the matter in question including litigation and other forms of dispute resolution.
  2. Property and estates: Subject matter which might typically arise under this category includes acquisitions and disposals (inc relevant tax advice); compulsory purchases; leases, licences and conveyancing; landlord and tenant matters; site redevelopments/property development; environmental and planning (including planning inquiries); and social housing. Also covered would be legal services in relation to matters arising out of or related to the matter in question including litigation and other forms of dispute resolution.
  3. Employment and pensions: Subject matter which might typically arise under this category includes employment law; equal opportunities; TUPE; pensions; health and safety; organisational change/change management; and outsourcing/contracting out. Also covered would be legal services in relation to matters arising out of or related to the matter in question including litigation and other forms of dispute resolution.
  4. General corporate including tax and insolvency: Subject matter which might typically arise under this category includes company law; corporate insolvency law; corporate finance including M & As and IPOs; joint ventures; formation of bodies corporate; corporate governance and directors’ duties; company secretarial services; taxation (including VAT); and venture capital advice. Also covered would be legal services in relation to matters arising out of or related to the matter in question including litigation and other forms of dispute resolution.
  5. Finance and financial regulation: Subject matter which might typically arise under this category includes finance and clearing bank products; banking and insurance; investment management; equity capital markets (including privatisations by way of initial public offerings (IPOs) and equity derivative products; asset finance and structures finance (including securitisation); debt capital markets (including listed bond issues and commercial paper programmes, listed debt rescheduling, monocline credit wraps and credit derivative products); financial services regulation (including Financial Services and Markets Act, rules of the UK Listing Authority and the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers); international development/aid funding; and international financial organisations. Also covered would be legal services in relation to matters arising out of or related to the matter in question including litigation and other forms of dispute resolution.
  6. General commercial: Subject matter which might typically arise under this category includes public procurement; contract advice or drafting; sale and acquisition of goods and services; agency and distribution; PPPs including project finance; outsourcing/contracting out of services; competition law; regulatory law; public infrastructure including UK/EU regulation applicable to energy, water, and telecommunication industries or any other infrastructure industry; construction and infrastructure projects; intellectual property rights. Also covered would be legal services in relation to matters arising out of or related to the matter in question including litigation and other forms of dispute resolution.
  7. General litigation and legal support services: Matters falling within this lot would include personal injury litigation; employment litigation; other civil litigation and dispute resolution such as in relation to property disputes and commercial matters; public law matters such judicial reviews and witness support or other legal services in relation to public inquiries; regulatory and criminal litigation and advisory services; and specialised litigation support.
  8. Major or complex projects (including major or complex matters requiring expertise falling under any other lots): This lot will provide access to the provision of strategic, high level, broad based advice across a wide range of disciplines, including major, high value and/or complex matters requiring expertise falling under any other lots and legal matters arising out of or related to the matter in question including litigation and other forms of dispute resolution. Subject matter which might typically arise under this category includes: project finance (including PFI); partnering/alliance arrangements; and other projects of unusual complexity or national importance (including corporate joint ventures, public service concessions or franchises, major infrastructure and strategic outsourcing projects). “The functional specialisms required will vary between programmes and projects and will be advised by the client at the point of procurement,” the GPS said.

 


 

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