THE Department of Trade & Industry has dropped Dibb Lupton Alsop and awarded a lucrative insolvency contract to Dickinson Dees and Cobbetts.
Dibbs lost the £1m contract - under which the firm represented the DTI when it disqualified company directors - after it was put out to tender at the beginning of the year.
Michael Shaw, manag ing partner at Cobbetts, comments: "This shows that regional firms are capable of competing on a level playing field."
However a source suggests: "Dibbs probably tendered but didn't have the lowest price."
"This was a different type of work to what Dibbs normally does. It is still working for the DTI in a number of other areas."
Dibbs originally held 20 per cent of the contract covering the Liverpool area, while Cobbetts, which gained the business after taking on staff from Slater Heelis in November, represented 80 per cent of the North West region.
But, according to Jonathan Blair, head of the disqualification department at Dickinson Dees, which also represents the DTI in the North East, the regions are now evenly split. "It is a lucrative contract and it is very good news for us as we are perfectly capable of servicing both the North West and North East."
Blair says that Dickinson Dees is considering setting up a small Manchester office on the back of the contract.
According to a source, the contract, which will commence on 1 April, is worth about u450,000 a year. It initially runs for three years.
Dibbs has recently lost a number of staff, including the resignation of the firm's head of insolvency and the departure of a partner in the insolvency department in Manchester earlier this year.
The DTI confirmed the new line up, stating that the review programme will continue and it will tender out both the Bristol and Midland areas later this year.