Higher education purchasing consortia to set up national legal services panel

Five purchasing consortia for the higher education sector in England and Wales are to establish a National Framework Agreement for Legal Services.

The procurement is being led by the London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC). The other consortia are: Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium; North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium; Higher Education Purchasing Consortium Wales; and North Western Universities Purchasing Consortium.

LUPC said: “Our aim is to establish a highly competitive legal services framework agreement for member institutions across the five participating consortia.”

It added that while it could not guarantee volumes, it was estimated that higher education institutions in England currently spend circa £70m per annum on legal services.

LUPC said this was an estimation based on historical spend in this service area, and it might vary considerably up or down. No business is guaranteed for any chosen provider.

The framework agreement will be divided into the following lots:

  1. Property (estates);
  2. Human resources (including dispute resolution);
  3. Dispute resolution;
  4. Governance (constitutional, charities, HE advice, academic registry);
  5. Commercial (including debt collection and procurement);
  6. Student matters (including disciplinary issues);
  7. One-stop-shop for legal services “to cover a wider range of requirements”.

A maximum of eight suppliers will be awarded to each of the specialist lot (lots 1 to 6) and a maximum of ten suppliers will be awarded to the one-stop-shop lot (lot 7).

In addition, a maximum three lots may be awarded to one tenderer. LUPC said this was in order to provide opportunities for a wider variety of providers to be appointed to the framework agreement and improve opportunities for award to SMEs.

The contract will be for three years, with scope for a further 12-month extension.

LUPC said the tender also had the support of the British Universities Finance Directors Group, the Association of University Legal Practitioners, Universities HR and the Association of University Directors of Estates.

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