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Social housing consortium selects 17 law firms for £70m panel

A consortium of social housing providers has appointed 17 law firms to a legal services framework worth an estimated £70m over four years.

It is the first time that CHIC (the Central Housing Investment Consortium) has set up a framework for its 40 members, which between them manage around 250,000 homes in England and Wales.

CHIC is also a member of the Re:allies Partnership, which is a strategic collaboration with Procure Plus and Efficiency North which together manage an additional 1 million homes, and members of this partnership will also have access to the new framework.

The framework, which will be launched at CHIC's 6th annual conference this week (8 June) and will be managed by procurement consultancy Kennedy Cater, has been divided into three lots:

1. Corporate, Governance and Finance;

2. Housing and Asset Management;

3. Property and Development.

The successful firms for England are:

  • Addleshaw Goddard: Lots 1, 3;
  • Anthony Collins: 1, 2, 3;
  • Capsticks: 1, 2, 3;
  • Clarke Willmott: 1, 2, 3;
  • Devonshires: 1, 2, 3;
  • Forbes: 1, 2, 3;
  • Housing Law Services: 2;
  • Hugh James: 3;
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers: 1;
  • Shakespeare Martineau: 2, 3;
  • Sharpe Pritchard: 1, 3;
  • Shoosmiths: 2, 3;
  • Tozers: 2;
  • Trowers & Hamlins: 1, 2, 3;
  • Ward Hadaway: 2;
  • Whiteheads: 2;
  • Wright Hassall: 1, 2, 3.

The successful firms for Wales are:

  • Addleshaw Goddard: Lots 1W, 3W;
  • Capsticks: 2W;
  • Clarke Willmott: 1W;
  • Devonshires: 1W, 2W, 3W;
  • Hugh James: 1W, 2W, 3W;
  • Trowers & Hamlins: 1W;
  • Whiteheads: 2W.

The four-year framework will be in place from 1 July 2016. The successful firms have agreed to provide additional value added and social value benefits.

CHIC Managing Director John Fisher said: “Legal spend for housing organisations is disaggregated so tends to be off the table when they look at cost versus value. For CHIC’s members, buying better value legal services might not always have been at the forefront of their minds in the same way that it would be when, for example, buying kitchens or choosing a contractor.

“By our members ‘buying together’ we can have compliant, competitive legal services which serve many, but without any compromise in the service levels or the quality of advice that our members would expect to receive.”

Tim Morel, Kennedy Cater’s founding director, said: “The new framework will change the way CHIC members will look at their legal spend in the future. No longer should legal been seen as an expense that is allocated to the same firms at the same rates.

“CHIC has chosen to add legal to its frameworks because it recognises the opportunity to make savings for its members. In the CHIC framework, hourly rates are very competitive and there are over 200 fixed fees across all lots. The Framework Agreement is robust at managing the relationship with law firms and includes monthly management information, giving members greater visibility and control of their spend.”

CHIC said housing associations and local authorities which are not already members are invited to join.

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