These tenders are for own client contracts; there will be a further tender, around July, for duty contracts – only firms that successfully obtain an own client contract can tender for a duty one.
These are the key dates known so far:
- 25th April 2014 – own client contract tender opens
- 23rd May 2014 at noon – tender closes
- July 2014 – tender for duty contracts
- Late 2014 / early 2015 – tender for appeals and prison law only contracts
- 1st July 2015 – new contracts start
All firms that successfully meet the criteria will be awarded an own client contract. There will be a competitive tender for the limited number of duty contracts. No criteria for either contract have yet been published, but experience of civil bid rounds suggests that one of the requirements will be for firms to have been successfully audited against either the SQM or Lexcel standard before the contract start date, so those firms that have not been audited recently may wish to consider making arrangements for one to be carried out in good time. For assistance with audits, contact Vicky here.