Public procurement

“This is an excellent team.”

Chambers UK A Client's Guide to the Legal Profession, 2014
Blake Morgan’s Procurement team gives expert advice and assistance to public bodies and suppliers on all matters relating to procurement.

Main areas of practice.

Our lawyers provide specialist advice, drafting and management of tender in all areas related to public and utilities procurement, including: 

  • The health sector (acting for NHS bodies in England and Wales, private and third sector providers)
  • Transport infrastructure and related services
  • Energy generation, efficiency, transportation and waste projects
  • IT and specialised technology procurement (including managed equipment services projects for medical equipment)
  • Assisting government bodies and consortia with strategic procurement policy development and implementation
  • Innovative collaborations and partnerships between public bodies, joint ventures/alternative solutions with private bodies
  • Litigation - dispute avoidance and risk management, bringing and defending challenges (under procurement regime, judicial review, and challenges under the NHS-specific regime to Monitor.)
  • Bespoke training and producing suites of standard documents

We also advise on the related fields of Competition law, state aid and Judicial review as well as negotiating and finalising the often complex contracts which result from tender exercises. 

Our experienced team assist their clients on a wide range of legal areas; a full listing of which can be found below in Related Expertise.

Clients

Some clients we have successfully acted for or advised include:

Welsh Government Caerphilly CBC
NHS Wales (all bodies) Balfour Beatty Group
Oxford Brookes University

Abbott Laboratories

Greater Manchester Police  Cardiff International Airport
Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC UK Department of Health
NHS England London Borough off Merton

Significant experience 

Examples of how our highly-rated Procurement team has helped clients, includes advising:

  • NHS South Coast musculo-skeletal services – advising several consortia of clinical commissioning groups on procurement of a number of high-value (up to £200M) schemes for integrated musculo-skeletal care pathways involving specialist advice on procuring “Part B” clinical services and the NHS-specific procurement regime.
  • “Designed for Life; Building for Wales” – advising Welsh Government and NHS Wales on every phase (since 2006 to date) of the procurement, establishment and running of this major strategic framework which has so far delivered over £1 billion of capital investment into construction and development of hospital buildings and other healthcare infrastructure.
  • NHS England – currently advising NHSE on procurement of primary healthcare in a number of prisons
  • “Transforming Older People’s Services” – advising Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council on all aspects of a £165 million, 25-year PPP with a social housing provider to transfer existing care homes, construct 4 new homes and an extra-care housing scheme. The social housing partner undertook to finance, design, build and operate the homes using an asset-backed finance solution based on long leases.
  • Balfour Beatty (through a special purpose company) - advising throughout the procurement and preferred bidder stage of the £40M Aberystwyth Penglais Farm Student Accommodation PPP, that included advising on the project agreement, drafting the construction agreement and FM contract and other ancillary documents and providing advice on the funding documents. The project was procured using Competitive Dialogue and used an innovative asset-backed form of finance.
  • London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Advising the council on a Competitive Dialogue procurement to secure a joint venture (JV) housing partner to demolish and redevelop a housing estate into new housing to include a mixture of social rent, affordable rent and privately owned homes.
  • Slough Borough Council – supporting the council on its EU procured selection of a private sector partner to form its joint venture local asset-backed vehicle and deliver new civic buildings and ongoing services and works. The partner and services were procured using Competitive Dialogue.
  • Cardiff and Vale College on the procurement of their landmark £40 million city centre college campus in Cardiff. This will be an iconic building financed partly through grant funding. We advised the client through the procurement (using Competitive Dialogue) and drafted and concluded the Development Agreement and ancillary documentation for the deal.
  • The Welsh Government on Next Generation Broadband Wales, the largest publicly funded network infrastructure project ever seen in Wales and one of the largest broadband rollout projects in the world. The aim was to maximise the number of premises in Wales that could benefit from the rollout of superfast broadband services within the level of funding available, by engaging a supplier to design, supply, build and implement a 20-50MB broadband network for parts of Wales where the market will not supply such a network.
  • Cardiff and Vale University Local Health Board – Managed Equipment Services projects for Biochemistry and Haematology – advising the LHB on two separate, simultaneous managed services contracts worth a combined £48 million over 15 years to provide, maintain and replace full suites of biochemistry and haematology analysis equipment, reagents and associated IT. The advice included steering both procurements through the Competitive Dialogue process, negotiating with three bidders in each procurement, drawing up tender documents and contracts, advising on financing issues and also IFRS accounting rules (to ensure treatment as “off balance sheet”) and VAT reclaim.
  • Advising a power generator and its funders on 850MW CCGT power station development - Development of a major new gas fired power station, including appointment of consulting engineers, procurement, land acquisition, ash disposal, Electricity Act section 36 application, terms for appointment of EPC and LTSA contractor, gas and electricity connections.
  • Welsh Government on two major schemes to alleviate fuel poverty and increase home energy efficiency, and Hywel Dda Local Health Board on a collaborative energy-saving partnership with British Gas (believed to be the first of its kind in the UK to deliver guaranteed savings).
  • Cardiff International Airport in relation to procurement of air traffic control services (including drafting and negotiating the contract with NATS) and also various works and services relating to terminal improvement.
  • Successfully acting for NHS England in the first case to consider the NHS (Competition, Procurement and Patient Choice) No 2 Regulations 2013. The case concerned an application for Judicial Review of a decision by NHS England not to contract with a provider for an interim period pending a national review and procurement of the service in question. Damages were also claimed under the Human Rights Act 1998. QSRC Ltd, R (on the application of) v National Health Service Commissioning Board  [2015] EWHC 3752 (admin).

Related expertise

Main contacts

Related Knowledge & Resources

Blake Morgan succeeds in tender to provide legal services to North West Legal Consortium

Press Release

Public sector specialists at Blake Morgan have been successful in a competitive tender process to provide legal services to the North West Legal Consortium.

Key decision opens door for major construction projects

Press Release

Cash-strapped local authorities across the UK have a new opportunity to take major construction projects forward after the door was opened for a new form of private finance model to be widely adopted.

Non Profit Distributing Model

News

The widespread adoption of a new funding model for major infrastructure projects across the UK may have moved a step closer thanks to a key decision that has come to light.

UK Government cracks down on illegal discrimination in procurement

One of the fundamental principles of the EU public procurement legislation is that it is illegal to discriminate against products or services on the grounds of nationality or national origin.

New European Single Procurement Document to be introduced

The ESPD is a standardised document that focuses on self-declarations by tenderers in respect of mandatory and discretionary exclusion questions and selection questions.

Dealing with de-brief requests from unsuccessful bidders

Minimise the risk for challenge by following the below tips as far as possible.

Public procurement gone wrong: High Court finds public authority "manipulated" the tender process for its £4 billion contract

In a landmark ruling in the context of procurement litigation, the High Court has held that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority ("NDA") "manipulated" and "fudged" its tender process for a nuclear clean up contract worth in excess of £4 billion.

To challenge or to review – that is the question

The High Court recently had to consider the above question in the case of Newlyn PLC and London Borough of Waltham Forest which related to a procurement challenge brought by Newlyn PLC (Newlyn) against London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF).

Can procurement be used to save jobs?

Against the background of the ongoing Tata steel crisis, could public bodies use procurement to protect jobs in their local economy?

A Police Authority

We advised a regional police authority on a high value procurement and contractual dispute.

An NHS Foundation Trust

We are acting for an NHS Foundation Trust on two significant procurement projects.