The tender process closed on 5 May and the new contracts are scheduled to start on 11 January 2016.
However, the Legal Aid Agency received insufficient bids in three procurement areas: Devon and Cornwall 1 (Devon), Dyfed-Powys 2 and Hampshire 2 (Isle of Wight).
In Devon and Cornwall 1 (Devon), the agency received four bids. Eight contracts were available. Organisations which bid in the original tender will be awarded a duty contract if their assessment process is successful.
Following a meeting with local providers to discuss procurement options, the agency said a ‘key barrier’ identified was travel requirements to cover the entire procurement area. As a result, the agency has decided to subdivide the procurement area into four smaller zones – centred in Exeter, Plymouth, Teignbridge/Torbay and Barnstaple – and run a tender for up to an additional four contracts in each zone.
The tender will be open to organisations that hold a 2015 own-client contract and have an office in the Devon and Cornwall procurement area.
The Barnstaple zone will also be open to 2015 own-client contract holder in the Somerset & Avon 1 area.
Organisations awarded a duty contract as part of the original tender will only be eligible to bid for one further duty contract in one zone only.
The MoJ said the new contracts would commence in line with the original timetable.
Read the full Law Society Gazette article here