Government policy to reduce the UK’s deficit is naturally impacting on public bodies, who are being challenged to deliver more for less. The implications of this are far-reaching and driving major change throughout all areas of national, regional and local government, the NHS and the education sector in particular, the latter of which must look at finding alternative funding.
Increasingly, the public sector is also being given new-found freedoms with the power to operate in a similar way to the private sector. For public sector bodies that can navigate the new frameworks there are clear opportunities - but it is critical to get it right.
Our multi-disciplinary public sector group brings together expertise in central, regional and local government, healthcare, education, charities and social enterprise. We seek to capitalise on our individuals' vast experience across the many different strands of the public sector, working both on behalf of public bodies and the private partners that work with them.
We provide our public sector clients with a full range of legal services such as real estate support and development planning, commercial and construction advice, and day-to-day support on employment, data protection and freedom of information. Our work also spans banking, commercial contracts, competition law (including State aid), construction, funding applications and projects, health and safety, insolvency, insurance claims and counter fraud services, joint ventures, collaborations and partnerships, judicial reviews, litigation, mergers & acquisitions, major regeneration projects, mutuals, PFI projects, pensions, public procurement, regulatory and compliance issues, social housing, strategic planning advice, and vires and governance.
All of this advice is specifically tailored to the needs of the public sector using the specialist knowledge of our team.
From a UK regional perspective, Scotland and Northern Ireland face their own unique economic and regulatory challenges and our Scottish and Northern Irish teams offer expertise across all areas of practice.
The firm's Public Sector practice also spans beyond the UK and the skills and experience the firm has is often readily transferable across other jurisdictions (e.g. EU law and the firm's Brussels office operates across the network). Other jurisdictions in which the firm has particular public sector presence and skills outside the UK include Dubai, Ireland and Germany.
We work for over 100 UK local authorities, police authorities, charities, education and healthcare providers, Local Enterprise Partnerships and many central government agencies.
We also work for private sector public service providers and businesses that work with the public sector such as developers, construction companies, outsourced services provides, inward investors and port and transport authorities.
Names you may recognise include Liverpool City Council, Manchester City Council, Birmingham City Council, Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, Transport Scotland, Serco Plc, Homes England, the West Midlands Combined Authority and a wide variety of London Boroughs.
DWF’s Public Sector team are experts at advising public and private sector recipients of European Structural and Investment Funds on how to handle audits.
DWF is delighted to have been appointed to the Crown Commercial Services framework for 'Wider Public Sector – Legal Services' (RM3788). This means that if you are a public sector organisation and you qualify to use this CCS framework, you can now appoint us through the contract. Find out more and download our prospectuses.
As Brexit approaches, Public Sector and Private Sector bodies are increasingly calling for the Government to launch a formal consultation on the allocation, design and delivery of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which it is proposed shall replace the c.€13bn (£11.4bn) of EU funding which will be lost to the UK as a result of leaving the European Union. The appointment of Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister means Brexit on 31 October 2019 is much more likely and the need for certainty around future regeneration funding is more pressing.
Our latest report has been developed in association with leading publication, Local Government Chronicle, to assess the commercial challenges, the commercial models available and the strategies being adopted by local authorities and other public bodies across the UK.
Jonathan Branton, head of public sector at DWF, comments on the announcement by the UK Government that it has introduced a £16 million fund to support customs experts post-Brexit.
DWF's public sector team recently advised Cornwall Council in its successful strike out a procurement challenge issued by an incumbent service provider of sexual health services.
The incumbent provider had not submitted a tender during the re-procurement but sought to prevent the Council from awarding a contract following the conclusion of the procurement.
Jonathan Branton comments on the announcement made by the UK Government that £30 million is being made available so that major ports are ready for Brexit and beyond.
The Government has announced changes to the Future High Streets Fund, its regeneration initiative to empower local leaders to transform high streets and town centres in England. The value of the fund has been inceased to £1 billion and a further 50 high streets are being taken forward to the next stage of the funding process.
The Government has published new compliance rules for procurements carried out by recipients of ERDF and ESF grants in England. Although the UK Government only published the new rules in August 2019, these will be retrospectively applied to breaches identified on or after 14 May 2019.
The Public Sector team are experts in working with sector organisations to improve of the economic and social wellbeing of their communities, and deliver high quality and cost effective services.