and Skills (DfES) and the Treasury Solicitor's Department have this
week launched a competition for a new framework agreement for the
provision of legal services to government.
This innovative and joint initiative seeks to facilitate the future
procurement of quality legal services for the public sector and
achieve better value for money. Initially some seven Government
departments will participate offering a wider market to legal
Commenting on this week's publication of advertisements in legal
publications inviting law firms to apply for inclusion in the
proposed framework agreement, Peter Gershon, chief executive said:
'This latest joint initiative between DfES, The Treasury Solicitor's
Department and OGC reflects an issue raised in the April 2001
National Audit Office (NAO) Report, Purchasing Professional Services,
which identified potential savings of at least 10% on the more than
£600m departments currently spend on professional services. This new
legal framework agreement will contribute to these savings and I
strongly urge public sector bodies to take advantage of its
The framework agreement is divided into seven categories of legal
work. 'Panels' of law firms who demonstrate expertise in a particular
category, when selected for inclusion, will undertake work in that
category without the need for a lengthy and expensive procurement
exercise. The competition aims to encourage not only large firms but
also small, medium sized and niche firms to participate.
Juliet Wheldon, the treasury solicitor said:
'High quality legal advice and services are increasingly important to
government. We are putting together panels of selected firms so that
departments can access the best possible services, at the best value
to the taxpayer. I look forward to working with departments on this
important procurement exercise.'
It may well be that, in time, these new arrangements become the
vehicle through which the greater part of government's external legal
services requirements are met.
The Framework Agreement will run for a period of three years.