Our procurement lawyers work with authorities, utilities and bidders for public procurement contracts to achieve successful and legally compliant awards. We also help all those involved in public procurement to understand their risks, how to handle them within a compliant process and where necessary how to handle procurement disputes.

Our Subsidy Control team advises authorities and private sector entities where public money is involved and draws as necessary on wide ranging experience in competition law and relevant sector specialists. Our advice covers funding arrangements as well as complaints to, and proceedings by, the European Commission.

Our procurement lawyers combine deep insight across a range of sectors with expert knowledge of procurement. We place our advice in the context of the relevant industry or business ensuring that you get rapid and meaningful advice which reflects the challenges businesses and procurers actually face. We understand that compliance with procurement law, and ensuring that bids are properly understood and valued, can raise difficult questions of practice and make sure that we identify and respect our client’s objectives and the need for practical delivery when we provide advice.

In this way, our procurement 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).

Areas of focus

Our procurement 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).
  • Subsidy Control law and funding arrangements.
  • Complaints to, and proceedings by, the European Commission or post-Brexit UK government.

Advising the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on the £200m+ contractual arrangements with caterers to provide for the delivery of food boxes to those individuals who are having to be shielded as a consequence of COVID-19.

Advising the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on the outsourcing of booking arrangements with a private sector entity and with CCS to facilitate the repatriation of UK citizens abroad as a consequence of COVID-19.

Advising the Department for Education on the establishment of independent corporate vehicles to deliver children's social services and related functions of local authorities on its behalf. We assisted the DfE in developing the model and have advised on the establishment of the model across the country.

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 United Kingdom Research and Innovation on various grant funding arrangements and associated State Aid issues including the implementation of HMG’s Brexit research guarantee and the establishment of UK grant funding agreements to replace the EU Horizon 2020 scheme and the negotiation of multi-million pound grant funding agreements.

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 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 the Department for Health and Social Care on the procurement of the 'Dedicated Health Channel' contingency measures for the uninterrupted supply of medicines and medical products in preparation for a potential no-deal exit from the EU.

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.

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, the development of military satellites, a national framework for the procurement of facilities management services across the Defence estate, and Type 31 destroyers (the first competition for warship build in a generation). We are often involved in shaping the procurement strategy under Defence Procurement law and in supporting the MOD legal/project team in managing the processes.

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 Foreign & Commonwealth Office on its 'pathfinder' procurement of a Dynamic Purchasing System for facilities management services across FCO’s global property portfolio, including its initial major call off contract for the Asia Pacific region.

Advising the National Trust on the application of the cultural and heritage exemption under the Subsidy Control 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 Trenitalia West Coast Limited on their successful bid for the award of the West Coast Partnership. Following the award, we also acted for them in connection with High Court and Judicial Review challenges to the DfT's decision.

Acting for a leading independent health and social care provider on a major procurement challenge relating to community services.

Acting for a world leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health in High Court Proceedings relating to a nationwide healthcare supply contract.

Advising Bristol City Council on its innovative ‘City Leap’ initiative aimed at procuring a private sector partner to develop and facilitate a smart interconnected energy system for Bristol.

Meet the team
John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

  • Head of Public Sector
  • Head of Procurement and Subsidy Control
  • Projects
Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson Partner

  • Infrastructure
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Transport
Ian Tucker

Ian Tucker Partner

  • Dispute Resolution
  • Procurement Disputes
  • Procurement and Subsidy Control
Patrick Parkin

Patrick Parkin Partner

  • Healthcare
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Commercial
Headshot of Laura Wisdom

Laura Wisdom Partner

  • Public Sector
  • Defence
  • Procurement

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John Houlden

John Houlden Partner

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

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