Public procurement

Keeping abreast of developments in procurement law can be difficult – but mistakes can be time consuming and very costly. Whether you’re in the public, utilities, private or third sector, our team of specialist procurement lawyers can help you get the right result, offering practical advice and reducing your risks and costs

> Our procurement lawyers
> Our clients
> What our clients and others say about us
> Resources you may find useful 

Taking the pain out of procurement

Whether you need to draft an OJEU notice, advice on procurement strategy for a project, or help resolving a procurement challenge, we provide a comprehensive service covering all stages of the procurement lifecycle.

We work for a diverse range of clients across a number of sectors – including health, education, technology, government, energy and third sector – for contracting authorities, utilities and suppliers alike. We provide real insight and expertise, drawing on our depth and breadth of experience to provide balanced procurement advice.

We are proud of our client service. We know that up to date knowledge of the law is not enough – we are a hands-on, dedicated team with a pragmatic approach. We provide advice that is clear and easy to understand, as well as providing you with the tools and knowledge you need to save money, manage your risks and do your own job more effectively.


Our procurement lawyers

Our leading national procurement team includes consultant Ruth Smith, who is widely acknowledged as one of the top procurement lawyers in the UK. Made up of over 20 specialist procurement lawyers working across a broad range of sector and practice areas, the team combines first class technical expertise with significant and wide-ranging practical experience.

Our procurement experience

A few examples of our recent experience in helping clients with their procurement issues include: 

  • Leading the field with our contentious practice, acting for claimants in the high profile and successful challenge brought against the Lord Chancellor (Ministry of Justice)/Legal Aid Agency in relation to its procurement of criminal legal aid and duty solicitor contracts. This challenge ultimately led to the Government’s decision to scrap its controversial policy for a two-tier contracting arrangement for criminal legal aid.
  • Advising the Ministry of Defence on all aspects of a £1.5 billion project for the outsourcing of the all soft FM services across their entire estate. This is the part of a series of high profile MoD projects targeted at saving costs by “working smarter” through enhanced delivery of process services. 
  • Advising the British Library on the (competitive dialogue) procurement of a development partner for its prime site at St Pancras in London.
  • Supporting the British Universities Finance Directors Group (the representative body for finance/procurement staff from most higher education institutions in the UK) with a comprehensive package of training focussing on the transition to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
  • Advising the Financial Conduct Authority on the business-critical (competitive dialogue) procurement of an outsourced market data processing solution.
  • Advising NHS East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group on an innovative competitive dialogue procurement to identify a prime provider (Virgin Care was the winning bidder) to deliver transformational service change under the Improving Lives Plan (aimed at improving patient care and experience for patients with long term health conditions and frail, older people) with a value of £280 million over 7 years.
  • Advising the University of Bournemouth on a £100 million construction project to include a facility of health and social care, a student hub and up to 1000 student residences.

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Our clients

Our impressive client base, and the strength and depth of our practice, is illustrated by having advised almost 100 different organisations on procurement issues over the last 12 months. A few examples of our client sectors include:

  • Central Government (e.g. Ministry of Defence, Department of Health, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for Work and Pensions)
  • Government Agencies and NDPBs (e.g. the Environment Agency, the British Library)
  • Higher education (e.g. University of Bournemouth, University of East Anglia, the Higher Education Procurement Academy)
  • Further education (e.g. Manchester College)
  • Health (e.g. the Department of Health, NHS England, NHS Property Services, NHS Trusts, Foundations Trusts, CCGs)
  • Private sector suppliers (e.g. Virgin Care, Abbott Laboratories Ltd.)
  • Technology (including numerous patient record projects in the health sector)
  • Construction (e.g. Willmott Dixon)
  • Charities (e.g. the British Council) 
  • Regulators (e.g. the Financial Conduct Authority, the Pensions Regulator)

What our clients and others say about us

  • Mills & Reeve “has a particularly well-deserved reputation for its procurement advice and litigation within the healthcare and universities sector”. Chambers UK 
  • Mills & Reeve’s procurement team is “increasingly working with private contractors, who benefit greatly from its in-depth knowledge of the public sector”. Chambers UK
  • The team "punches above its weight on a national scale". Legal 500
  • Ruth Smith, who leads the national procurement law team, is credited with being "legally excellent and commercially sound" and "one of the best advisers in the field nationally". Legal 500  
  • “I would like to say once again that the Mills & Reeve [Procurement Portal] website is a fantastic tool for procurement teams to use: informative, reliable and easy to use!” Project Manager for EMPACT
  • "I have read your guidance note on the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Your document is the most useful I have found". Procurement specialist at a UK university.

Resources you may find useful  

We pride ourselves on being both innovative and resourceful, and have developed useful tools to save our clients time, cost and risk. In particular, we have developed:

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