North West councils negotiate panel freebies

Twenty five local authorities in the North West of England have appointed 35 firms and 26 chambers to a new panel.

The North West consortium, which includes ­Liverpool City Council, has also selected an elite group of four firms – Beachcroft, DLA Piper, Pannone and Weightmans – as so-called ’partner firms’, which are expected to get more work in return for providing free added-value services.

The firms will provide training and secondments, while Weightmans has offered several free days of media advice from its external PR agency. One other firm in the quartet made a £10,000 cash donation to the consortium’s IT system, which will allow a comparison of fees quoted with those provided in the pitch process and allow feedback on services to be shared.

Advisers quoted discounts of up to 80 per cent and there was an average fee reduction of 25 per cent.