Public procurement

Public procurement

"The procurement advice I got from Shoosmiths was first class. In fact it was "rocking!""

Judith Rosser-Davies

Projects Manager, British Fashion Council

If you are a public body, you will have to follow the public procurement rules when buying supplies, works or services.

Failing to follow the rules can have serious consequences - contracts can be declared void and you could be sued for damages.

If you are bidding for public sector work, you need to know the rules of the game, and how to challenge and when, if those rules are broken.

Our EU procurement team is experienced in advising on all aspects of procurement law. We have been advising on it for over 15 years - long before most law firms regarded it as a mainstream subject. So we are ideally placed to guide you through the 'ins and outs' of the rules.

We work closely with dozens of local authorities, government bodies, NHS Trusts and utility organisations on a range of issues, from high value, complex and technical procurement matters, through to routine day-to-day advice.

We get involved in all stages of the procurement process: from an initial assessment of whether the rules apply and choice of procedure, through to contract notices, criteria and evaluation schemes, and 'Alcatel' letters.

We often provide detailed strategic advice, including ways of minimising exposure through the use of pre-nuptial agreements and voluntary transparency notices.

We also regularly advise on bringing and defending challenges on procurement issues, and usually have several challenges on the go at any one time.

Dealing with a wide range of procurement clients enables us to see a problem from all sides, so we can help you to find a strategic solution early on, based on practical risk analysis rather than just providing a one-dimensional answer.

And we understand that you do not want over-analysed advice filled with legalese, and which takes an age to produce.

We have developed a reputation for giving fast, straightforward, easy to digest advice, written in plain English.

We regularly speak at conferences (mainly CBC and White Paper), and often provide training on various aspects of procurement law.

We are also members of the Procurement Lawyers' Association.

Work highlights 

  • Advising on confidential procurement challenges against the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Health¬†
  • Advising English Heritage on a range of procurement issues relating to the development of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre
  • Advising various rail companies on various aspects of the procurement of rolling stock
  • Advising a number of local authorities on town centre redevelopment initiatives, including strategic advice on whether the projects are subject to the procurement rules
  • Training more than 600 procurement professionals in recent developments in procurement law