National firm DWF said yesterday that it hopes to resume its working relationship with the Insolvency Service once its High Court challenge to the procurement exercise which saw the firm fail to win a spot on the service’s legal panel is over.
As first reported yesterday on Legal Futures, the firm is seeking to challenge the decision to award a spot on the panel for England and Wales to Scottish firm Shepherd & Wedderburn instead.
DWF claims that the Insolvency Service made errors in the way it assessed the firm’s tender – in which it reached the “inexplicable” decision to score the firm higher for its experience of Scottish insolvency work than for work in England and Wales.
The firm also asserts that the service used criteria that were not set out in the tender document, leading to it being marked down just below the scores achieved by Shepherd & Wedderburn and regional law firm Howes Percival.
In a statement issued yesterday, DWF sought to outline the context of the challenge, saying that it was not an uncommon move in public sector procurement exercises.
Head of litigation Graham Dagnall said: “Our litigation team has a strong and long-standing positive relationship with the Insolvency Service, having worked with the organisation for approximately 20 years advising on public interest matters, and we’re challenging the panel review result purely on the basis of a technical issue.
“This type of challenge is not uncommon in the public sector, where the EU regulations on procurement are very strict to ensure transparency and equal treatment and it’s important for both us as a supplier to the public sector, and for public sector bodies, to be seen to comply with European legislation.
“We’ve got strong public sector litigation expertise and once this technicality has been resolved we’d welcome the opportunity to resume working and supporting the Insolvency Service.”