The government's vision for public sector efficiency means public services are now expected to do more for less, adapting to reduced budgets through better engagement and choice over how services are delivered. As a result, important changes often need to be made quickly, with no detrimental impact on delivery.

Our market-leading public sector lawyers are recognised for providing strategic, commercially-focused advice on public sector law. We deliver intelligent solutions to complex, innovative and high profile projects, inquiries and challenges (including those with political, newsworthy or public interest dimensions). 

We have an in-depth understanding of the status, powers and functions of Departments and other Central Government bodies (including NDPBs, executive agencies and trading funds), as well as the devolved powers of the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly and sub-national devolution.

Our public sector law team comprises former senior civil service lawyers, local government lawyers and secondees, offering significant first-hand experience of the public sector and its complex regulatory frameworks.

Crown Commercial Service Supplier

Reflecting our expertise, Burges Salmon is one of 17 firms appointed to the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) General Legal Services Framework (RM6179).

We are also appointed to Lots 1 (full service), 2 (general service) and 3 (rail) of the Wider Public Sector Legal Services Panel (RM6240). We are one of the preferred suppliers for government.

We, together with our consortium partners ArentFox Schiff LLP, are also appointed to the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) (RM6183) Trade Law Panel framework, under which we advise the UK government on the negotiation of free trade agreements (FTAs). 


For more detail on our capability, you can view our CCS Supplier Prospectuses from the links below.


KCS Procurement Legal Services Supplier

Continuing the firm’s historic success of being appointed to public sector panels, Burges Salmon has also been awarded a position on the national framework for the provision of Legal Services Y21012, for Kent County Council via KCS Procurement Services.

The Supply of Legal Services Framework Agreement covers the provision and ability to provide a full range of Legal Services and is available to all public bodies (NB for central government and their arm’s length bodies all instructions should be put through the RM6179 framework).

For more information about our capabilities and services please click here to view our KCS prospectus.


We act for public sector organisations (including central/local government, and NDPBs and other public sector bodies) and private sector businesses engaging with or supplying the public sector.

Our expertise in public sector law includes the following:

  • Procurement and Subsidy Control. 
  • Projects (including PFI/PF2, PPP and alternative financing models).
  • Judicial reviews, inquiries and other dispute resolution.
  • Competition and regulatory.
  • Administrative and public law.
  • Freedom of information and data protection.
  • Outsourcing and service transformation.
  • Corporatisations and governance of public sector bodies.
  • Banking and finance.
  • Technology and intellectual property.
  • Employment and pensions services.
  • Planning and compulsory purchase.
  • Development and regeneration.
  • Property and facilities management.

Procurement and Subsidy Control

Advising the Department of Health & Social Care on the procurement of a Framework Agreement and subsequent Dynamic Purchasing System for the purchase of lateral flow testing devices for the detection of COVID-19, including drafting and negotiating contracts, advising on regulatory aspects and tender documentation.

Advising UK Research and Innovation on various procurement and subsidy control queries including the acquisition of aircraft for British Antarctic Survey and the establishment of Innovation Loans.

Advising the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) on the procurement of a dynamic purchasing system for facilities management services across FCDO’s global estate. This was conducted in parallel with the procurement of the first call-off contract for facilities management services covering 24 FCDO posts in 13 countries across the Asia Pacific region.

Advising the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on high-value procurement challenge proceedings relating to contracts for HM Courts and Tribunal Service.

Advising the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on the regulated procurement and bespoke NEC4 FM contract (a call-off under CCS Framework RM6232) for DEFRA’s WP&FM24 programme, a long-term, high-value (c£770m) programme to deliver FM services across assets with widely differing needs, some of which support critical risk management infrastructure of national importance.

Employment and Pensions

Advising the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on the employment aspects of a major facilities management procurement, involving the transfer of employees in the UK and 11 jurisdictions across North West Europe, together with a major post-transfer restructure. Also advising on commercial and policy strategy for HR/TUPE issues (including COSOP), coordinating TUPE/ ARD advice across European jurisdictions and heavy involvement in the competitive dialogue process.

Advising the Government Legal Department and HMRC on employment disputes including successfully defending tribunal claims.

Advising Birmingham Children’s Trust on the transfer of c.1,600 social workers and other employees to it from Birmingham City Council. We have advised on the employment aspects of establishing the Trust, TUPE consultation with trade unions, negotiating the services contract and a number of issues of public law relevant to the local government sector, including liaising with the Department for Education.

Advising the Department for Education on the pensions aspects on the corporate vehicle to deliver children's services following the Secretary of State for Education exercising his powers of intervention and directing DMBC (via statutory Direction) to outsource its children’s social care services to a newly formed entity.

Advising the Department for Transport on the pension aspects of the incorporation of Highways England and the TUPE transfer of around 3,000 civil servants, including negotiating the admission agreement which allowed Highways England to participate in the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme.

Technology and Communications

Advising the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport in relation to the data protection aspects of the Events Research Programme (ERP) examining the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from attendance at events to inform future policy on safely lifting restrictions at large events. Our work included working closely with the ERP delivery team, event organisers and the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England research teams, providing time critical advice and practical support in a rapidly evolving research programme.

Advising Octopus Investments, the UK’s leading investor in fibre, on the implications of the government’s Telecoms Supply Chain Review, and the cybersecurity legal requirements that mobile and fibre operators will need to implement and flow down the supply chain.

Energy and Utilities

Assisting Bristol City Council on every aspect of its ambitious ‘City LEAP’ plan to raise around £1bn of investment to transform Bristol into the UK’s first smart-energy neutral city by 2030. Burges Salmon continues to provide extensive advice on the highly-complex funding requirements (which will follow a PPP-style model), along with energy-related regulatory and commercial advice.

Advising the Cayman Island Government on the remediation of Grand Cayman’s George Town landfill site and the procurement and delivery of a new, cutting edge, waste-to-energy plant and waste management and recycling system.

Advising the UK Atomic Energy Authority on a landmark new partnership with General Fusion Inc. which will see the Canadian fusion energy pioneer, build and operate a new experimental Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) at UKAEA’s Culham Campus in Oxfordshire. Our advice included the procurement of the delivery partner (General Fusion), as well as associated subsidy control issues, real estate and construction matters, sensitive HR issues and the full range of employment advice. We are also advising on the £multi-billion Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production or ‘STEP Project’ which aims to deliver a prototype nuclear fusion energy plant in 2040.

Real Estate

Advising the Greater London Authority and Transport for London on major regeneration projects in London, including the c.£2bn Royal Albert Dock project, the c£1bn Albert Island industrial regeneration project, the c£1bn of a new commercial boatyard for Thames river traffic), the Limmo Development (which will provide 1200+ homes on a Crossrail construction site), Beam Park in Barking (one of the largest housing projects in London) and the Gallions 3B project (which forms part of the 800-unit Gallions Quarter housing development scheme).

Advising Historic England on the renovation and regeneration of the Flaxmill Maltings site in Shrewsbury. Comprising eight listed buildings including the world’s first iron-framed building, the completed scheme will comprise a visitor centre, commercial and office accommodation and new housing. This is a complex project involving compulsory purchase, grant funding, construction, infrastructure upgrades and real estate transactional services in a highly sensitive real estate environment.

Advising Birmingham City Council on the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of construction and engineering projects for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.


Advising Transport for Wales and the Welsh Government on the £5bn procurement of the Wales and Borders rail service and South Wales Metro, a critical piece of national transport infrastructure, which was first-of-its-kind in the UK transport industry.

Advising Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (operating as Translink) on its procurement of a development partner for an ambitious 1.3m square foot mixed use PPP redevelopment scheme at Weavers Cross in Belfast, which will include the city’s new flagship transport hub. Our involvement requires procurement advice combined with sector specialisms in transport, development and public sector governance.

Acting for First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Ltd (FTWC), a wholly successful Interested Party in the 2019 Rail Franchising Litigation, in a set of procurement challenges against the Secretary of State for Transport and costs proceedings including an application for costs. It involved some of the world’s largest train operator companies and the procurement of three major rail franchises, HS2, East Midlands and South Eastern, exceeding a value of £1bn per year.

Meet the team
John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

  • Head of Public Sector
  • Head of Procurement and Subsidy Control
  • Projects
Matthew Ramus

Matthew Ramus Partner

  • Head of Education
  • Defence
  • Transport
Keith Beattie

Keith Beattie Partner

  • Projects
  • Aviation
  • Defence
Mark Paterson

Mark Paterson Partner

  • Defence
  • Business Transformation
  • Central Government
Headshot of Adrian Martin

Adrian Martin Partner

  • Head of Employment
  • TUPE: Business Transfers and Outsourcing
  • Restructuring and Redundancy
Michael Hayles

Michael Hayles Partner

  • Pensions
  • Public Sector Pension Schemes
  • Financial Services
Philip Beer

Philip Beer Partner

  • Real Estate
  • Transport
  • Energy and Utilities
Lloyd James

Lloyd James Partner

  • Construction and Engineering
  • Energy and Utilities 
  • Infrastructure
Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson Partner

  • Infrastructure
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Transport
Graham Soar

Graham Soar Partner

  • Banking and Finance
  • Derivatives, Debt Capital Markets and Securitisations
  • Project Finance
Gary Soloman

Gary Soloman Partner

  • Head of Planning and Compulsory Purchase
  • Regeneration and Highways
  • Compulsory Purchase and Compensation
Julian Boswall

Julian Boswall Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Planning and Compulsory Purchase
Michael Barlow

Michael Barlow Partner

  • Head of Environment
  • Head of Water
  • Head of ESG
Nick Graves

Nick Graves Partner

  • Head of Corporate
  • Corporate Advice
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
Nick Churchward

Nick Churchward Partner

  • Head of Resource and Waste Management
  • Projects
  • Energy and Utilities
Helen Scott-Lawler

Helen Scott-Lawler Partner

  • Head of Food and Drink
  • Commercial
  • Intellectual Property and Media
Ross Polkinghorne

Ross Polkinghorne Partner

  • Built Environment
  • Development and Regeneration
  • Infrastructure
Chris Chesterman

Chris Chesterman Partner

  • Commercial
  • Projects
  • Defence

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