Homes & Communities Agency puts £30m panel up for tender

The UK government housing investment authority Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) has put its £30m legal panel up for tender.

The panel will run for a total of four years and is divided into two lots valued at £15m each. The contracts will have no option for renewal after the four years.

A review was last run in Spring 2014 when the agency slashed the number of advisers across the two panels from 14 to nine.

The five firms to lose out in the last review were Bond Dickinson, DLA Piper, Eversheds Sutherland, Pannone and Squire Patton Boggs. Ashfords made it to through two stages of the three-round process, but ultimately lost out.

At present, the HCA divides its lots into ‘programmes’ and ‘regulations’ comprised of seven and five firms, respectively.

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), Browne Jacobson, DWF, Hewitsons, Pinsent Masons, Trowers & Hamlins and Walker Morris feature on the ‘programmes’ lot.

Anthony Collins, Devonshires, Hewitsons, Pinsent Masons and Trowers & Hamlins make up the ‘regulations’ lot.

Firms will be able to submit applications for both lots, but will only be named to one of them. At present, seven firms are named to the panel. This will increase to either eight or 12, depending on the HCA’s decision.

This will be the agency’s second review in its current format after breaking with its traditional division of one national panel supported by three sub-panels divided geographies into north, central and south of England.

At the time, head of legal Isabella Freeman was under pressure from the firms on the HCA’s regional panels due to a lack of work they were receiving.

Firms were notified of the tender on 29 September and have until the 1 November to submit their applications.

The HCA was approached for comment.