Croydon picks seven sets for panel

The local authority said that it is the first one to carry out a competitive tendering exercise to select a panel of chambers. As first revealed on on 13 September, the sets, which were selected out of a total of 54 applicants, are 39 Essex Street, Two Garden Court, 22 Old Buildings, Renaissance Chambers, 2-3 Gray's Inn Square, 2 Mitre Court Buildings and 14 Gray's Inn Square.
The previous policy of paying flexible rates to counsel has been replaced by pre-agreed rates. A similar policy has been adopted by Government departments.
Jane Thompson, head of Croydon's legal services department, told The Lawyer that chambers were asked to quote their rates and they were selected on the basis of cost-effectiveness, quality and customer care.
“The amounts they quoted were no more than the amount we were paying previously,” she said.
The other advantage of the panel is that it widens the choice of sets that the local authority uses. Croydon only uses barristers' advocacy services for large-scale cases. Advisory work, which is outsourced, tends to relate to new legislation and areas requiring greater specialism.
Outsourced work relates to childcare, mental health, community care, town and country planning, property, education, local government and administrative law.