Losing the GMC would be a major blow to all of the firms involved, particularly FFW, which has built its public sector practice on the back of its work with the GMC. Matthew Lohn and Tom Rider are the GMC relationship partners.
The 2006 budget, authored by GMC director of resources Neil Roberts, predicts a budget blowout of almost 70 per cent, with estimates of spending just under £14m on legal costs.
The report stated that the council had diverted work away from its external lawyers to the in-house legal team, but that an increased referral rate had failed to produce the savings it hoped for.
"Next year we intend to address this issue in a number of ways," the report said. "The first is to benchmark our external legal services providers for value for money [and] this will be done through an open tender… We expect that, through this exercise, we will move from three to two external solicitor firms.