Dept of Work and Pensions snubs Arnold & Porter for DLA’s Bonnar

DLA’s prolific IT partner Richard Bonnar has triumphed over Arnold & Porter, Bird & Bird, Masons and Simmons & Simmons in a beauty parade of legal advisers for a series of projects which aim to rejuvenate the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The result will be a particular blow for Arnold & Porter, which has advised the department on IT issues for a number of years.

Bonnar teamed up with Allen & Overy to advise the Government on the landmark £2.3bn national programme for IT within the NHS and has now set about teeing up a number of projects for when the NHS project winds down.

It is another coup for Bonnar, who has established DLA as a real force in the flourishing world of public sector IT.

DLA associate Andrew Dyson assisted Bonnar on the DWP pitch. Dyson joined the Leeds office from Bird & Bird earlier in the year.

The DWP work is potentially a massive job as the department establishes a wide-reaching programme of business improvement.

The programme will consist of about 50 framework agreements, which aim to provide a more flexible structure than previous projects, which have taken the form of huge IT outsourcing contracts.

Arnold & Porter advised the DWP on the last of these, Project Accord, a 10-year contract that was awarded to EDS in the late 1990s.

According to a DWP spokesperson, the IT projects form part of a “wider programme of business improvement within the department by allowing enhanced management of resources, better support for decision-making, improved planning and reporting, and enabling greater organisational flexibility”.