Ward Hadaway in major public sector win | 18 January 10

LAW firm Ward Hadaway has won a major opportunity to supply legal services to five local authorities across Tyneside and Wearside.

The firm has been appointed as a legal advisor to Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils for the next three years following a fiercely-contested competitive tender.

Ward Hadaway beat off competition from an array of other firms – including national and London-based practices – to win its place on the NE Law Framework Panel alongside four other firms.

The appointment means that the firm, which has offices in Newcastle and Leeds, now provides legal advice to all 12 local authorities in the North-East.

In 2007, Ward Hadaway was appointed as joint legal advisor to all five local authorities in the Tees Valley for a five-year period.

Melanie Pears, partner and head of public sector at Ward Hadaway, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen by the local authorities across the Tyne and Wear area to be a member of their panel of only five legal advisors.

“This is a fantastic endorsement of Ward Hadaway’s capability to deliver high-quality legal expertise and real value for money to the councils and the people of Tyneside and Wearside.

“By joining forces to create this legal panel, the five local authorities have shown real vision and real drive to deliver the best value to Council Tax payers and we look forward to working with them on a wide range of matters over the years to come.

“The assessment process was rigorous and our winning through demonstrates the quality of the team here at Ward Hadaway.

“We have previously worked with individual authorities on the NE Law Framework Panel, but this appointment will increase our exposure and help us make further investment in the region.”

Firms on the panel including Ward Hadaway will offer the councils expert advice on issues including major regeneration projects, Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects, PFI schemes, procurement and other initiatives.

They will also tackle issues including employment, data protection, pensions, planning, construction, charities and general commercial matters.

Newcastle City Council acted as the lead partner for the joint legal services panel, but each local authority will have the freedom to make their own arrangements with law firms on the panel.

The agreement will initially last for three years with an option for a further one-year extension.

It is the first time that local authorities in Tyne and Wear have joined forces to jointly procure legal services.

Speaking on behalf of the five Tyne and Wear local authorities, John Softly, Head of Commercial Law at Newcastle City Council, said: “The firms on the Panel will provide the local authorities with external support where we do not have the capacity and/or expertise in-house.

“One of the key aims in setting up the Panel has been to ensure value for money by securing discounted charging rates and reducing the time and expense involved in procuring external legal services in the future.”

The panel appointment means Ward Hadaway is set to play a part in even more public sector developments and projects across the North-East.

The firm is already advising on major schemes in the region such as the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme for both Hartlepool and Redcar & Cleveland, where it is acting for the respective local authorities.

Across the public sector as a whole, Ward Hadaway is advising on capital schemes worth well in excess of £2bn.

Jamie Martin, managing partner at Ward Hadaway, said: “This appointment to the NE Law Framework is excellent news for the firm and congratulations must go to all those who worked so hard on the successful tender.

“Local authorities in the North-East perform such a vital role across a whole range of activities and are an important part of the regional economy.

“In many instances, they are helping to reshape and regenerate the region so we are delighted to have the opportunity to play an even larger part in that process.”

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