SIF to look for panel members

THE SOLICITORS’ Indemnity Fund (SIF) wants to appoint two new panel member firms, one in East Anglia and one in Yorkshire.

The appointments will bring the number of panel members handling professional indemnity claims on behalf of SIF up to 20.

Managing director John Speedman says the move is part of the fund’s policy of transferring work out of London.

Two firms, Cripps Harries Hall of Tunbridge Wells and Henmans in Oxford, were recently chosen out of 44 applicants for places on the panel.

These were whittled down to a short list of 12 which were all visited by the SIF and three selected for each area.

Speedman says under the select list tendering process, selection is not simply based on cost. The firm must be a certain size and able to meet specified conditions.

“We then go and see all the actual people who are going to do our work. It’s not just good enough for the marketing partner to come along and spin a story.”

Almost all of the panel members have been there since 1976. SIF pays out u40 million in lawyers’ bills, with over half of this going to panel members.