The government has named 11 costs firms and solicitors’ practices on three panels to provide costs services to central government and wider public sector organisations across the UK.
The two-year contract – which was procured centrally by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) – is worth £64m in total, and there is an option to extend it for a further year.
An exhaustive list of public authorities in England and Wales will be covered by the contract, including government departments, executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, emergency services, NHS bodies, educational bodies (including schools, colleges and universities) and councils.
In scoring tenders, CCS said it used a mix of quality and price, with quality weighted at 70% and price at 30%.
CCS appointed eight firms to provide general costs law services: Alternative Costs, Hill Dickinson, Horwich Farrelly, Keoghs, Kennedys, Plexus Law, Phoenix Legal Services and QM Legal Costs Solutions.
Eight firms also won through for the clinical negligence specialist panel: Acumension, Browne Jacobson, Hempsons, Hill Dickinson, Keoghs, Kennedys, Phoenix Legal Services and QM Legal Costs Solutions.
Finally, three firms are on the specialist panel for cases that require security clearance: Hill Dickinson, Horwich Farrelly and Plexus Law.
Phoenix, based in Cardiff, was the only Welsh practice to win a place on the panels, and said it was worth up to £4m. This could see the company double in size to 34 staff over the next two years.
Founder and managing director Stephen Averill (pictured), a Costs Lawyer, said: “When I set up Phoenix, I wanted to stand out from the competition, with an ethos of nurturing and supporting the individuals in my team and making them feel valued. It’s testament to their skills and commitment that we have achieved this prestigious panel status, a game changer for us, and we can now all look forward to significant future expansion with real confidence.”
ACL chair Claire Green said: “The very fact that the government has centrally procured costs law services, as well as the value of the contract, is further evidence of just how crucial good costs advice has become.
“All of those successful in the tender – both law firms and dedicated costs consultancies – employ qualified Costs Lawyers and, given the increasing complexity of costs law and its centrality to litigation, this focus on specialist, expert advice will deliver a significant benefit to taxpayers.”