State Aid? State What?!

Do you need to think
about State Aid risk on
your procurement project?

Make sure you know what
to look out for with our
handy new guide
from our state aid experts.

Looking to challenge a procurement decision?

Suppliers wishing to challenge have only a short time frame in which to act. Click here for our useful guide.

Which Regulations do you need?

To get up to speed with the various new procurement law regulations, please click below;

> Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 

> Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016

> Public Contracts Regulations 2015 

If you're not sure which regulations apply, click here.

Leading procurement advisers

The Procurement Portal is brought to you by Mills & Reeve, who are top ranked procurement law advisers in the Legal 500 guide to the legal profession, which comments on our team:

"Ron Plascow 'gives pragmatic, clear advice and does not sit on the fence'. Kevin Calder and Alasdair Poore are 'personable, commercially aware and have incredible depth of knowledge'."

Chambers UK describes Ruth Smith as "one of the foremost procurement lawyers in the country" and has commended her "high level of commerciality and ability to explain complex issues in a straightforward manner".

Procurement legal training

Our experienced lawyers provide training on the procurement Regulations to both national and local public sector organisations. This includes the option to undertake training at your premises for a nominal charge.

Call us on 0344 880 2963 or contact any member of our team to find out more details.

What we do

How we can help contracting authorities, utilities and third sector buyers

We work on a flexible basis, from advising clients on discrete procurement issues as and when they arise, to sense-checking a suite of procurement documents, through to providing ‘start to finish’ advice and guidance on a major procurement exercise or steering the defence of a procurement challenge through the courts. Here are a few examples of our services:

  • Pre market engagement – getting it right
  • Shared services and collaboration
  • Drafting or reviewing procurement documents (e.g. OJEU Notice, PQQ, ITT, Evaluation Methodology, Award Decision Notices, Regulation 84 Report)
  • TUPE issues
  • Design of a light touch regime procurement
  • Ad hoc advice to evaluation teams (e.g. management of site visits, interviews, clarification questions)
  • Defending a challenge (including pre-litigation strategy, merits of a claim, conduct of litigation and applications to lift an automatic suspension)
  • Contract drafting (including ensuring compliance with the procurement regulations and “future proofing” to provide maximum flexibility once the contract is operational)
  • Advice on variation of public contracts
  • Advice in relation to state aid/grants
How we can help bidders in a procurement process
We work flexibly to suit your requirements, from acting as a consultant to providing ‘beginning to end’ advice on a bid for a significant contract, to giving ad hoc guidance as and when needed.

Here are a few examples of our services:
  • Advice on bidding strategy
  • Decoding the evaluation process 
  • Advice on completing an ITT 
  • Advice on merits of a potential challenge 
  • Strategy around bringing a challenge 
  • Drafting of claim form and particulars of claim to commence proceedings 
  • Advising you through a claim in the High Court
Our procurement experience
A few examples of our recent experience in helping clients with their procurement issues include:
  • Leading the field with our contentious practice, acting for claimants in the high profile and successful challenge brought against the Lord Chancellor (Ministry of Justice)/Legal Aid Agency in relation to its procurement of criminal legal aid and duty solicitor contracts. This challenge ultimately led to the Government’s decision to scrap its controversial policy for a two-tier contracting arrangement for criminal legal aid.
  • Advising the Ministry of Defence on all aspects of a £1.5 billion project for the outsourcing of the all soft FM services across their entire estate. This is the part of a series of high profile MoD projects targeted at saving costs by “working smarter” through enhanced delivery of process services.
  • Advising the British Library on the (competitive dialogue) procurement of a development partner for its prime site at St Pancras in London.
  • Supporting the British Universities Finance Directors Group (the representative body for finance/procurement staff from most higher education institutions in the UK) with a comprehensive package of training focussing on the transition to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
  • Advising the Financial Conduct Authority on the business-critical (competitive dialogue) procurement of an outsourced market data processing solution.
  • Advising NHS East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group on an innovative competitive dialogue procurement to identify a prime provider (Virgin Care was the winning bidder) to deliver transformational service change under the Improving Lives Plan (aimed at improving patient care and experience for patients with long term health conditions and frail, older people) with a value of £280 million over 7 years.
  • Advising the University of Bournemouth on a £100 million construction project to include a facility of health and social care, a student hub and up to 1000 student residences
Our clients
Our impressive client base, and the strength and depth of our practice, is illustrated by having advised almost 100 different organisations on procurement issues over the last 12 months.

A few examples of our client sectors include:
  • Central Government (e.g. Ministry of Defence, Department of Health, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for Work and Pensions)
  • Government Agencies and NDPBs (e.g. the Environment Agency, the British Library)
  • Higher education (e.g. University of Bournemouth, University of East Anglia, the Higher Education Procurement Academy)
  • Further education (e.g. Manchester College)
  • Health (e.g. the Department of Health, NHS England, NHS Property Services, NHS Trusts, Foundations Trusts, CCGs)
  • Private sector suppliers (e.g. Virgin Care, Abbott Laboratories Ltd.)
  • Technology (including numerous patient record projects in the health sector)
  • Construction (e.g. Willmott Dixon)
  • Charities (e.g. the British Council)
  • Regulators (e.g. the Financial Conduct Authority, the Pensions Regulator)
  • Major Utility companies

Contact Us

The Procurement Portal aims to provide a "one stop shop" for procurement law queries and advice.

Click here to email our team with your query.

Managing and mitigating procurement risk course

This updated course is great for anyone who wants to make informed judgments around procurement risk and be able to handle potentially contentious issues with confidence.

You can access our updated course here.

New public procurement e-learning tools

We have teamed up with BuiltIntelligence* to develop an e-learning tool and procurement webinar. 

> Procurement e-learning: Remedies Directive
Designed to help you recognise key risk areas in the procurement life-cycle.

> New Public Contracts Regulations 2015 webinar
Are you struggling to get a handle on the Public Contracts Regulations 2015? If so, procurement experts Greg Gibson and Helen Prandy will guide you through the key changes in the new Regulations and provide practical answers to some of the tricky issues raised. The webinar is priced at £49 + VAT.

* Mills & Reeve LLP receives a share of the course fees from BuiltIntelligence to reflect our contribution to the course content.

Procurement FAQs

We have over 100 questions and answers on a host of topics, from advertisement to managing a procurement challenge.

> Click here to find out more