Midlands universities prepare to launch first joint legal panel

A consortium of ­universities in the Midlands is set to appoint its first shared panel of external legal ­advisers.

Led by the University of Wolverhampton, the group includes Aston, Coventry, Worcester and Harper Adams universities.

Karl Eagles, procurement manager at Wolverhampton, said the joint framework, which is worth £4m-£5m, would be a first for the region and was driven by belt-­tightening across the higher education sector.

“The main driver behind this is to collaborate with other universities in order to achieve cost efficiencies and savings for all universities in the region,” he said. “We also want to provide a flexible framework of ­service providers that can cover all specialisms of legal ­services that universities within the region can easily access.”

The shared panel is expected to be appointed by October or November and will include six categories of services: commercial, ­contracts, IP and data protection; employment and pensions; property and construction; regulatory, student issues and governance; patents and trademarks; and the European Regional Development Fund.

The framework ­agreement will last for three years with an option to extend by a further year and will be available for other universities to join.