Introduction to Public Contracts Procurement

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Walker Morris, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering public contracts procurement, including the impact of Brexit. Read more
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Sep 09, 2020

High Court to hear legal battle next month over award of festival contract

The High Court is due next month to hear a procurement challenge over how the Royal Parks awarded a contract to organise concerts in London’s Hyde Park.
Aug 27, 2020

Government hit with legal challenge over failure to publish contract award notices during pandemic

The Good Law Project and three MPs have launched a judicial review challenge amid claims that the Government has repeatedly failed to lawfully publish contract award notices, in respect of contracts connected to COVID-19, which have been awarded.
Aug 13, 2020

Lack of adequate governance arrangements and “institutional blindness” led to council energy company losing over £34 million, report finds

A public interest report by Grant Thornton has found that Nottingham City Council made a number of failings in the creation and management of its energy company including inadequate governance arrangements and a failure to understand the risks associated with entering the energy business.
Jul 17, 2020

Judge rules procurement claimant was not economic operator at relevant time in dispute over largest ever contract let by council

A claimant lacked eligibility as an economic operator at the relevant time and this was sufficient to dispose of its claim against Gloucestershire County Council over the £600m+ procurement of an incinerator, a judge has ruled.
Jul 16, 2020

Lockdown and local authority commercial development income

Rob Hann sets out the background to local authorities' investment in commercial property and examines why it has proved so controversial.
Jul 02, 2020

County council launches claim for costs to repair defects on guided busway

Cambridgeshire County Council is again locked in litigation with construction contractor BAM Nuttall over its guided busway, seven years after their last dispute was settled.
Jun 17, 2020

Decision to disqualify bidders from rail franchise procurements was lawful: High Court

A Department for Transport decision to disqualify three bidders from procurement competitions for the South Eastern, East Midlands and West Coast Partnership passenger rail franchises was lawful, a High Court judge has ruled.
Jun 15, 2020

Blackpool Borough Council awarded £1.1m in tram depot construction claim

A High Court judge has awarded Blackpool Borough Council £1.1m in damages in a claim for alleged breaches of contract in relation to the design and construction of a new tram depot.
Jun 15, 2020

Government facing legal challenge over urgent award of £108m PPE contract

The Good Law Project will today launch judicial review proceedings over the Government’s award of an £108m contract to a pest control company for the supply of PPE.
Jun 11, 2020

Government issues procurement policy note on recovery and transition from COVID-19

The Cabinet Office has issued a procurement policy note on recovery and transition from COVID-19 that applies to all contracting authorities.


September 03, 2020

Standing to bring a procurement challenge

A Technology & Construction Court judge recently ruled that a consortium bringing a procurement claim was not an economic operator under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and would have had no chance of winning a hypothetical procurement. Colin Ricciardello analyses the judge's reasoning.
August 27, 2020

COVID-19 and supplier relief

Mo Olatuja considers the implications COVID-19 has had on public contracts and the plans to provide supplier relief.
August 13, 2020

Discretion to exclude bidders lawful

The exercise of a contracting authority's discretion to exclude several bidders in a rail franchise procurement was proved to be lawful. Tom Beard takes a look at the judgment.
August 06, 2020

Who is in charge of the PFI Train?

Rob Hann, former Head of Legal at 4ps/Local Partnerships, gives his unique insight into the pending expiry of many PFI contracts in the local government sector and asks who will take responsibility for the next generation of local government assets and services, an issue that is becoming ever more urgent…..
August 06, 2020

Public sector rent deferrals and State aid

Jonathan Branton and Lee Pickett look into some of the ways State aid issues can arise in public sector property transactions, the ramifications and ways to proceed within the rules.
July 30, 2020

Extreme urgency?

The judicial spotlight is now trained on Regulation 32(2)(c) and the direct award of contracts on the basis of extreme urgency, writes Rachel Whitaker.
July 23, 2020

Procurement: how to reduce the risk of fraud

Following publication of a government review into the risks of fraud and corruption in local government procurement, Matt Marsh looks at what local authorities and other public bodies can do to tackle the issue.
July 09, 2020

The reality of buying AI

Gemma Nash and Matthew Mo consider the implications of the government's new Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence Procurement.


Jun 09, 2020

Government issues advice to local authorities on how to fight procurement fraud

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a Review into risks of fraud and corruption in local government procurement, which provides advice on how councils can strengthen their processes and implement prevention measures.
Jun 09, 2020

North East law firm hires Walton to lead procurement team

North East law firm Muckle has appointed partner Alison Walton to lead its dedicated procurement team.
May 07, 2020

Court dismisses procurement and judicial review claims against county council over vehicles contract for being out of time

The Technology and Construction Court has dismissed procurement and judicial review claims over a multi-million pound contract for the supply and maintenance of fleets of tractor cabs and trailers to a council-owned operator of waste processing facilities.
Mar 20, 2020

Government issues policy note and guidance on public procurement and responses to COVID-19

The Cabinet Office has issued a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) setting out information and associated guidance on the public procurement regulations and responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mar 18, 2020

High Court to hear dispute between leisure trust and regional park authority over management fee

The High Court is due tomorrow (19 March) to hear an action brought by Lee Valley Leisure Trust as part of a bitter dispute with the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
Mar 12, 2020

Law firm advises district council in new leisure deal

Blake Morgan has supported Chiltern District Council in the completion of a leisure management procurement deal for three leisure centres worth nearly £36m.
Mar 06, 2020

Lord Chancellor backs report of Law Commission on electronic execution of document

The Lord Chancellor has said he agrees with the Law Commission’s conclusion that formal primary legislation is not necessary to reinforce the legal validity of electronic signatures.
Mar 05, 2020

Inconsistent take-up of Cabinet Office guidelines on outsourcing means government risks “another Carillion”: report

The government risks "another Carillion" if it does not get behind the reforms put forward after the firm’s liquidation, a report from the Institute for Government has warned.
Mar 02, 2020

Judge rejects bid by defendant to have expert evidence ruled inadmissible in £6m breach of contract claim brought by council

A High Court judge has dismissed an application by a defendant company that a council bringing a £6m claim for alleged breaches of contract, in relation to the design and construction of a new tram depot, should not be permitted to rely upon the evidence of two experts.
Mar 02, 2020

Claimant fails in legal challenge over abandonment of procurement of strategic estates partnership

An NHS trust has defeated a legal challenge over its decision to abandon a procurement exercise for a 10-year strategic estates partnership (SEP), in circumstances where it had previously made a decision to award the contract to the claimant.
Jan 20, 2020

NAO releases report on investigation into rescue of Carillion’s PFI hospital contracts

The government declined to bail out two PFI schemes being built by failed construction firm Carillion for risk of setting a precedent that the taxpayer would bear the risk of future PFI projects that ran into trouble, a report published last week by the National Audit Office has found.
Nov 28, 2019

Former Deputy Head of Legal at Blackpool joins Forbes Solicitors as Senior Associate

The former acting Head of Legal and Deputy Head of Legal (Regeneration and Governance) at Blackpool Borough Council, Gemma Duxbury, has joined Forbes Solicitors as a Senior Associate.
Oct 09, 2019

Court of Appeal dismisses procurement challenge over award of leases for land housing outdoor advertising structures

The Court of Appeal has rejected a legal challenge to a London borough’s award of leases for land on which structures that support large digital advertising screens are situated.
Oct 01, 2019

NHS bodies urge scrapping of s.75 tendering rules and removing healthcare commissioning from Public Contracts Regulations

There is strong public and NHS staff support for scrapping section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and for removing the commissioning of NHS healthcare services from the jurisdiction of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, NHS England and NHS Improvement have said.
Sep 26, 2019

Elected mayor criticises North East transport body over procurement of train contract

Tees Valley’s Conservative elected mayor has criticised the region’s Labour councils over the reported award of a rail contact to a foreign firm instead of locally-based Hitachi Rail.
Sep 19, 2019

Guidance issued for Whitehall departments and other bodies on managing modern slavery risks in procurement

The Cabinet Office has issued a procurement policy note (PPN) and guidance setting out how Government departments should identify and manage modern slavery risks in both existing contracts and new procurement activity.
Sep 09, 2019

Electronic signatures can be used to execute documents as long as usual rules are met: Law Commission

Electronic signatures can be used to execute documents, including where there is a statutory requirement for a signature, the Law Commission has said.
Aug 15, 2019

Council succeeds in getting procurement claim brought by NHS trust struck out

The Technology and Construction Court has accepted Cornwall Council's arguments that a procurement claim made against it by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust should be struck out.
Aug 12, 2019

Unsuccessful bidder challenges TfL over award of contract for proposed Silvertown Tunnel

The reserve bidder for the design, build, finance and maintain contract for the proposed Silvertown Tunnel has launched a legal challenge to the procurement process undertaken by Transport for London.
Aug 06, 2019

Council defeats High Court bid for declaration of ineffectiveness over development agreement

A High Court judge has dismissed a property investment company’s bid for a declaration of ineffectiveness of a contract entered into by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for a major regeneration scheme.
Aug 02, 2019

Leak of £22m council regeneration scheme documents referred to police

North Yorkshire Police are investigating a leak of Council documents which revealed plans by Scarborough Borough Council to borrow £22 million to fund a regeneration scheme.
Jul 11, 2019

Oxford becomes first authority to sign up to 'Councils for Fair Tax Declaration', calls for procurement law changes

Oxford City Council has become the first local authority to sign up to the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration, which calls on the EU and UK governments to review procurement legislation and support greater powers for the exclusion of ‘tax dodgers’.
Jul 02, 2019

Select committee backs plans to reduce burdens of competition rules on NHS

Collaboration, rather than competition, is the best way forward for the NHS and the wider health and care system, MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee have said.
Jun 12, 2019

NHS Counter Fraud Authority identifies key areas for investigation in 2019/20

General practice contracts, pharmaceutical contractors and procurement and commissioning will be the key areas investigated by the NHS Counter Fraud Authority in the coming year.
Jun 12, 2019

Contract insourcing on the rise: APSE

New research from the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) has found that the ‘insourcing’ of local authority services is growing strongly, with 73% of survey respondents suggesting they were in the process of insourcing a service and 45% having already done so.


July 03, 2020

Amendments in procurement disputes

The High Court has adopted a permissive approach to amendments in a procurement dispute, write Emily Heard and Kyle Duggan.
June 26, 2020

Local government contracts and the ultra vires doctrine

In the light of the recent school facility management case invoving the Isle of Wight Council, Rob Hann takes a look at the weapons now available to local government to avoid the ‘horrors’ of ultra vires.
June 26, 2020

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes - a practical checklist for varying public sector agreements

How should you go about varying agreements? Kieran McGaughey provides a practical checklist.
June 12, 2020

The End of PFI or… a new dawn for local authority infrastructure investment?

Rob Hann assesses new guidance from the National Audit Office for public bodies as PFI contracts start coming to an end, and looks at what the future holds for local authority investment.
June 12, 2020

Time limits for tender challenges

Rhodri Williams QC examines a recent High Court ruling on the test for extending time to bring a public procurement challenge.
June 04, 2020

Changes to insolvency legislation

The Government has announced changes to the insolvency framework, including provisions relating to PPP and PFI contracts. Melanie Pears and Tim Care look at the key points.
June 02, 2020

Emergency procurements in the UK

How do things look in the Covid era? Michael Bowsher QC and Ben Rayment consider the thorny issues around emergency procurements.
May 28, 2020

COVID-19: Responsible contracting behaviour

Katrina Day and Lee Clarke summarise key recommendations from the Government on contracting and how they might impact on housing providers' relationships with contractors.
May 14, 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on the construction sector

In this construction law webinar, the team at Blake Morgan discuss the impact COVID-19 is having on the construction sector.
May 12, 2020

Ultra vires contracts and maintained schools in the Commercial Court

Following a two-week trial, Foxton J has handed down a very significant judgment concerning the application of the ultra vires doctrine to contracts with public bodies, specifically the powers of education bodies to enter into finance leases. Barristers at 11KBW explain the ruling.
May 01, 2020

Construction and commercial contracts during COVID-19

The pandemic has already had a profound effect on business operations. With that in mind, Justin Mendelle and Helen Batter turn their attention to how contracting parties in the commercial and construction industries can protect themselves in existing and future contracts.
April 14, 2020

COVID-19 and procurement processes

Procurement is one of those areas where, with some sensible and reasonable adjustments, progress can still be made during the coronavirus pandemic. Lucy Doran explains how.
April 09, 2020

PFI and PF2 projects during the coronavirus

The government has issued IPA guidance on PFI/PF2 projects during COVID-19. Olivia Blessington looks at what it says.
April 09, 2020

The European Commission on public procurement during COVID-19

The European Commission has published a Communication “Guidance on using the public procurement framework in the emergency situation related to the COVID-19 crisis”. Susie Smith examines what it has to say.
March 23, 2020

COVID-19 and new State aid exemptions

The European Commission has adopted new State aid exemptions to allow Governments to alleviate the economic impact of COVID-19. Jonathan Branton and Alexander Rose analyse the provisions.
March 18, 2020

Coronavirus - contracts, force majeure and frustration

Paula Dumbill analyses the issues around force majeure provisions and the common law doctrine of frustration.
March 18, 2020

Procurement and Coronavirus

Procurement schedules are at risk of delay as a result of coronavirus, but provisions under the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (the PCR) can help. Jennifer Grigg highlights a number of "safe harbours" for contracting authorities offered by the PCR.
March 06, 2020

Tackling the increase in modern slavery

Tiffany Cloynes sets out how local authorities can help prevent modern slavery, including through the actions and approaches that they take as purchasers of services, and looks at the latest Government initiatives to tackle the problem.
March 06, 2020

Contracting authorities co-operating together

An Advocate General’s opinion has provided guidance on the circumstances in which contracting authorities can co-operate with other contracting authorities without needing to procure the arrangement. Richard Moore, Rebecca Powell and David Stedman analyse the findings.
January 31, 2020

Private damages claim, public procurement context: Essential limitation advice

Gwendoline Davies and Lynsey Oakdene explain the key practical takeaways from an important case on public and private law claims arising out of public procurement.