Friday, 20 January 2012

Procuring legal services the CPS way

I've been discussing various aspects of upsetting the legal profession over the last few days.  Now I learn that the Crown Prosecution Service have just completed a procurement for advocates, in fact thousands of advocates.  I find this fascinating, not just because my 'to do list' includes procurement of legal services, but also if there is any procurement you don't want to get wrong it must surely be that of buying legal services.  Equally
if you want to buy legal services, surely the legal eagles are the guys to copy.

Well as I read it, the CPS must be a contracting body within the Public Contracts Regulations as a government department (at least their website claims they're a government department.  Having said that, legal services are a Category B procurement, so not subject to the full EU regime.  I'll have to take a closer look to check that advocacy services aren't covered by some exclusion.

Nevertheless we learn that:
  • The list of advocates has been reduced from 4,500 to 2,500 - so 2,000 'Dear John letters' and 2,000 debriefings?
  • A scoring mechanism was used;
  • The selection process included watching more than 100 advocates at work and "That confirmed that the quality of the prosecuting work was variable and [the Director of Public Prosecutions] don't want that, I want the CPS to be the best";
  • One of the criteria used in the supplier appraisal process was having a secure email account;
  • Other criteria included measurement on advocacy, advisory work, knowledge of disclosure, other skills, and awareness of the role of the organisations advocate.
Assuming I haven't missed an exclusion in the Regulations, I will look forward to the Award Notice.

Gibb, F. (2012) 'Thousands of lawyers told they cannot prosecute serious cases', The Times, 19 January, p.7.

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