One North East scraps traditional panel in favour of reduced roster

Regional development agency One North East has abandoned its formal panel review process in favour of using a more informal list.

The organisation had launched a formal review of its external advisers in January and invited tenders from national and local firms, but decided to abandon the structure in favour of working with a smaller list of preferred firms.

One North East head of legal services and procurement Peter Judge said the move was driven by a ­tightening budget and the subsequent need to reduce legal spend.

Under the new structure firms are invited to tender via a pre-qualification questionnaire. They will then be asked to provide verbal or written quotes.

Judge said: “We wanted to avoid a situation in which we had lots of firms on the panel not getting much work, or doing a lot of work bidding for jobs and not getting them. We don’t think that would have been fair.”

Judge said the organisation would continue to work with a mix of national firms, such as Eversheds and Pinsent Masons, and local outfits such as Robson Palmer Solicitors, Ward Hadaway and Watson Burton.