Overview

Our procurement lawyers combine deep insight across a range of sectors with expert knowledge of procurement law. We work with authorities, utilities and bidders, and understand the challenges faced by all parties in the procurement process.

Our procurement law team is dedicated to ensuring a robust and compliant commercial process for our clients. We also provide expert assistance should disputes arise, either during the procurement process or post-award.

For public sector clients, we advise on procurement strategy, risk management and document development to ensure we can deliver the desired outcome successfully. Our authority/utility clients include central and local government, universities and transport, water and energy utilities.

We work with bidders to maximise their chances of success by supporting the development of their bid strategy and commercial offering. We also help bidders to respond to errors in the process, advising on legal challenges (including urgent responses during the standstill period).

Our Procurement lawyers also advise on state aid law and funding arrangements, including complaints to, and proceedings by, the European Commission.

Areas of focus

Our Procurement law expertise includes the following:

  • Structuring tender processes and their implementation (including regulatory compliance).
  • Developing bid strategies and commercial offerings.
  • Advising on legal challenges (including urgent response during the standstill period).
  • State Aid law and funding arrangements.
  • Complaints to, and proceedings by, the European Commission.
Experience

Advising Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in its defence of a £120 million+ damages claim arising from the procurement of an approximately £6 billion contract for the decommissioning of 12 nuclear power stations.

Advising the Department for Education on the establishment of an independent corporate vehicle to deliver children's social services and related functions of Slough Borough Council on its behalf. This was only the second time that such a model was used for the provision of children's social services. We also advised on the first such model, in Doncaster.

Advising JCDecaux on their successful tender to Transport for London for its Bus Stops and Shelters Advertising Rights Concession. This is the largest advertising concession of this kind in the world, in a deal worth €700m for a period of eight years.

Advising Ascent (a 50:50 venture between Babcock and Lockheed Martin) on its competition for the £1.1 billion Fixed Wing package of the United Kingdom Military Flying Training System. Also advising on its competitions for Rotary Wing and Rear Crew services.

Advising Bristol City Council on bringing its outsourced waste collection contract in-house. Bristol’s waste collection and street cleansing is now being provided by a Council-owned company, Bristol Waste Company, after the Council and contractor agreed to end their existing contract.

Advising Babcock on its successful bid to provide Learning and Achievement services to children and young people in Worcestershire, a contract in the region of £38 million. The partnership aims to raise education standards, drive significant savings and long-term investment.

Advising Eunomia, and in turn its client Pembrokeshire County Council, in relation to the creation of a first of a kind framework agreement and call-off terms for the treatment of residual waste. The framework agreement is available for use by all Welsh local authorities and has already been used by two authorities to make substantial six-figure savings.

Advising on the procurement strategy for the management of Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's purpose-built national archive facility at Wick in Scotland, to provide long-term storage for an estimated 30 million records and other archive material from all civil nuclear sites in the UK.

Day-to-day procurement law advice to support Crown Agents activities in the UK and across the globe. Crown Agents is an international development company that partners with governments, aid agencies, NGOs and companies in nearly 100 countries. It has extensive relations with the Department for International Development and plays a very significant part in helping to deliver UK Government’s development policy worldwide.

Advising the Ministry of Defence on a range of projects, including day-to-day support to the MOD commercial/projects team on the outsourcing of search and rescue helicopter services in the Falkland Islands. We were involved in shaping the procurement strategy under Defence Procurement law and in supporting the MOD legal/project team in negotiations and evaluation.

Providing procurement support to London Development Agency, now part of the Greater London Authority, on the regeneration of the Royal Albert Docks, a high profile and politically sensitive development project, conducted under the competitive dialogue procedure.

Advising the National Trust on the application of the cultural and heritage exemption under the State aid rules for funding for their properties and obtaining clearance from the European Commission.

Advising the Home Office on its Disclosure and Barring Service BPO/IT procurement. It was run as a pilot to introduce the Cabinet Office's "Lean Procurement" initiative and is regarded as a 'pathfinder' project for future Whitehall procurements.

Acting for FirstGroup and First West Coast Limited on their successful bid for the award of the InterCity West Coast Railway Franchise. Following the award, we also acted for them in connection with Virgin Rail's challenge to the DfT's decision. We continued to advise in relation to the subsequent Laidlaw Review into DfT's actions and then Brown Review of Railway Franchising.

Meet the team
John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

  • Head of Public Sector
  • Head of Procurement and State Aid
  • Projects
Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson Partner

  • Head of Transport
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Health and Safety
Michael Barlow

Michael Barlow Partner

  • Environment
  • Energy, Power and Utilities
  • Water
Marcus Harling

Marcus Harling Partner

  • Construction and Engineering
  • Construction Procurement
  • Infrastructure
Ian Tucker

Ian Tucker Partner

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Transport
  • Procurement and State Aid
Patrick Parkin

Patrick Parkin Legal Director

  • Healthcare
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Commercial

What others say...

Great insights – they grasped my work extremely quickly and responded to the nuances of the commercial as well as the legal implications.
Chambers UK 2017