Office of Deputy Prime Minister picks Bird & Bird for unemployment project

Bird & Bird has secured first-time instructions from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The firm has advised the government department on an IT deal that assists the unemployed to move house to get a job if there is a shortage of work in their area.

Bird & Bird snared the work after a recommendation from consultants at the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), who were working on the deal. The firm used to be sole adviser to the OGC before the creation of the L-Cat legal panel, of which it is also a member.

Associate Mark Henley, who headed the Bird & Bird team, said: “I would hope that it’s an important client for the future.”

Henley was assisted by banking partner Isabel Evans and specialist data protection partner Ruth Boardman.

The deal sees housing IT company Scout Solutions Projects introduce the Housing and Employment Mobile Service, a joint project between the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Jobcentre Plus, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

A National Audit Office survey in 2001 found that Bird & Bird earned £2.1m from Government departments in 1999-2000. Berwin Leighton (now Berwin Leighton Paisner) was the leading external supplier of legal services to central government, earning £2.2m over the period.