Pooling talent

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  • It is an utter disgrace that Locog/ODA did not open up the tendering process for legal work for the Olympics. The decision to restrict the selection process to a small group of 15 firms when there is a budget of 40 million pounds of taxpayers' money up for grabs is yet another example of the 'old boys network' at play. Can we safely assume small firms, including most minority – owned practices were excluded from the process? The irony is that the legal department, having been given the responsibility to set up detailed procedures for the procurement of goods and services, did not see fit to apply the same standards for the purchase of legal services. Clearly Miller, de Waal and his predecessor Celia Carlisle, do not share the Olympic values of supply diversity and inclusion.

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  • Anonymous @ 2:41pm:
    As you'll see from the interview with Pieter de Waal, I specifically asked him if the ODA was deliberately seeking to appoint larger firms and he said yes, because they needed that depth of resource which a large firm can provide. Would a small "minority-owned" practice be able to send numbers of its associates on secondment for months on end? This ability was a key point in the selection procedure and has saved taxpayers money, because had secondments not been possible the ODA (and Locog, which took a lot of Freshfields secondees) would have had to hire more in-house lawyers and pay them. Niche law firms are generally excellent but sometimes you need the giants of this world, surely?

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  • I'm surprised you omitted to cover the lawyers at the British Olympic Association - those wrangling with complex anti-doping issues, selection policies and the fact that LOCOG have had control of their IP assets for the past 7 years.

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  • Ms Harris whilst I am sure your comments were well intentioned you have missed the point entirely. The type of legal advice required by Locog/ODA is no doubt varied involving a range of tasks that will require the services of a large firm but many tasks that do not. The failure to allow for a proper tender process for a range of firms, both large and small, to offer their services as required by other public sector contracts, is inexcusable. As regards secondees, the phrase 'there is no such thing as free lunch ' springs to mind. If you pay me £40 million I am sure I can provide you with a dozen secondees who would be willing to work on a once in a life time project.

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