North-west councils club together to launch tender

Law Society Gazette - Thursday 3rd August 2006

Four north-west councils launched a joint tender for legal services last week, in a bid to use their collective buying power to force down prices.

Sefton Council is running the tender, together with Halton, Knowsley and West Lancashire councils.

The councils – which already have 30 requests for the tender document from firms – are looking for a panel to provide specialist advice on issues such as private finance initiatives and intellectual property, and act as an overflow for day-to-day work such as conveyancing. Firms will be appointed on a three-year contract, with an option for renewal.

A shortlist of firms will be selected to present at a two-day tendering process. It is being managed by tendering company First Law.

Caroline Elwood, legal director at Sefton Council, said: ‘There will be substantial work over the life of the contract. This will give us greater collective bargaining power, as well as sharing the cost of the tender.’

In April this year, 18 east midlands local authorities signed a partnership deal with four law firms. The move is expected to save £2.5 million over four years.

Rachel Rothwell