Following grave concerns over the manner in which the process was conducted, BWB has been instructed by a number of law firms to challenge the Legal Aid Agency’s (LAA) award of duty solicitor contracts and seek a re-run of the entire procurement.

On 15 October 2015, firms bidding for duty solicitor contracts were notified whether or not they had been successful. However, the day before, a bid assessor at the LAA alleged in The Law Society Gazette that the process for assessing the bids was inadequate. He raised a number of concerns, all of which were rebuffed by the LAA. These included the fact that many of the staff assessing the bids had been sourced from a temping agency and had no knowledge of either legal aid or public sector procurement; that these staff were given insufficient training; that they were given unrealistic targets for the number of questions to be assessed per day; and that bidders who had submitted standard answers across bids they were making in different procurement areas were disproportionately penalised.

In total, around 100 firms are thought to have brought challenges. BWB is one of a few specialist law firms instructed.    

If your organisation would like more information about this issue, or is considering a challenge to any public procurement decision, please contact Selman Ansari using the details below.  BWB has a number of procurement specialists who regularly advise bidders on challenging procurement processes. For more information on the key provisions introduced by the 2015 Regulations, please see here

Posted on 21/10/2015 in BWB News

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