Projects

The Projects Team act for local authorities, other public sector entities, major international sponsors, project companies, sub-contractors and lenders in relation to some of the most significant infrastructure, outsourcing and technology projects undertaken in the UK. The team also advises on procurement whether from a public or private sector perspective, public sector vires and governance issues and State Aid and associated competition law matters. 

Our projects experience covers a range of sectors including Local Government, Waste and Energy, Education, Health, Defence, Technology, Roads, Airports and Regeneration Schemes.

We understand that achieving value for money in purchasing legal services is a key consideration for any participant in a major project. Our policy of guaranteeing dedicated partner-led resource to each project together with our ability to offer genuine "regional" rates whilst maintaining a "City quality" service means we add value to every transaction.

Specialisms

Relevant work

  • Gloucestershire Residual Waste Treatment PPP Project - advising both the Operator (Urbaser Environmental Limited) and the EPC Contractor (an unincorporated joint venture between Urbaser Limited, Balfour Beatty Construction Northern Limited and Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited) in relation to this project for the financing, construction and operation of an energy from waste facility which reached financial close in February 2013
  • Birmingham Bio Power Limited - advising the SPV on the financing, construction and operation of a 10MW biomass plant. Further advising certain of the lenders in respect of their roles
  • Connecting North Yorkshire - advising NYnet (a subsidiary of North Yorkshire County Council) on its circa £26m high speed broadband infrastructure project, one of four national BDUK pathfinder projects, which reached financial close in July 2012
  • London Borough of Lambeth - advising the London Borough of Lambeth in respect of its £60m "Total FM" Project which brings together the procurement of hard and soft facilities management services across Lambeth's core and non-core asset base, including reactive and planned maintenance, cleaning, security, cash collection and project management
  • Cornwall Council - advising Cornwall Council in respect of the procurement of multi-supplier framework agreements for the provision of domiciliary care services
  • UK Commission for Employment and Skills - advising UKCES and the Skills Funding Agency in respect of the State aid elements for the Employer Ownership Pilot Round 2, a scheme for provision of grant funding for training projects

Sector Groups

Our Projects team is integral to the operation of the following Ashfords' Sector Groups:

  • The Local Government Sector Group, which is headed by Projects Partner Elizabeth Gibson
  • The Waste and Energy Sector Group, which is headed by Projects Partner Ruth Murray         
  • The Technology Sector Group        


The Ashfords team were instrumental in helping the Project to become the first in the UK to be successful in delivering high speed broadband using BDUK and ERDF funding. The complexity of the funding, commercial and technical options could easily have led to a prolonged and painful procurement. Ashfords helped the Project to overcome these hurdles with thoughtful and intelligent guidance.

Andy Lister, Project Director of Connecting North Yorkshire

News

Shining a light on Services Concession Contracts - High Court strikes out bailiff services procurement challenge

The Public Contract Regulations 2015 ("PCR 2015") came into force on 26 February 2015 and applies to the procurement of public contracts by contracting authorities.

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Case Law Update: Are Damages Discretionary?

In the recent case of Energy Solutions EU Ltd v Nuclear Decommissioning Authority [2015] EWCA Civ 1262 the High Court considered the correct interpretation of the law surrounding the award of damages in procurement cases.

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Stark reminder on the realities of the remedies available for breach of the public procurement rules

Two recent procurement cases provide a useful reminder on the realities of the range of remedies available to the Courts for breaches of the public procurement rules.

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Case Law Update: A Tale of Two Clauses

In the recent joint judgment of Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi ("El Makdessi") and ParkingEye Limited v Beavis ("ParkingEye") [2015] UKSC 67 the Supreme Court reviewed the law on penalty clauses for the first time in a century. The result was a slight refashioning of the test for determining whether a penalty clause is unenforceable in order to provide for its effective application in more complex contractual cases.

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PPP Early Termination - balancing the books

On 22 June 2015, HM Treasury ("HMT") published a policy note on early termination of Public Private Partnership ("PPP") contracts to help contracting authorities navigate this potentially hazardous process.

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They are finally here! Three New Procurement Directives are to be implemented this year!

In March this year three new procurement directives were published in the OJEU: a public procurement directive, a utilities procurement directive and a directive to regulate the award of concession contracts.

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How will the Government implement the new EU Public Procurement Directives?

We explained in last month's update that the implementation of the new EU Public Procurement Directives is progressing and that the government is expected to transpose the Directives into domestic law by the end of this year. It is expected that the majority of the content of the directives will be implemented using a "copy out" approach and therefore reflecting the directives much more closely than has been the case with previous procurement Directives.

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Are you opening yourself up to a challenge in breach of the Teckal rules?

For contracting authorities seeking to rely on the so-called "Teckal" exemption for the direct award of public contracts (Case C 1999/562), recent case law has highlighted the importance of ensuring you fully fall within the "Teckal" exemption before you make the direct award.

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They are finally here! Three New Procurement Directives are to be implemented this year!

In March this year three new procurement directives were published in the OJEU: a public procurement directive, a utilities procurement directive and a directive to regulate the award of concession contracts.

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So what's new?

This article looks briefly at the proposed changes to the CDM Regulations 2007 and provides an update on the progress of the new Public Procurement Regulations (as discussed in our April 2014 edition) through Parliament.

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Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 and Concession Contracts Regulations 2016

On 12 February 2016, we discussed the government's consultation on the new Utilities Contract Regulations 2016 ("UCRs") and Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 ("CCRs"). We have written an overview and the government's consultation.

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Projects Public Sector Summary - November 2015

On 26 August 2015, the Crown Commercial Service issued the guidance on "Public/Public" contracts ("Guidance") set out in Regulation 12 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 ("PCR 2015").

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Housing Stock Shortfall

As part of the Queen's Speech on 27 May 2015, the newly appointed government have promised an extension of the Right to Buy scheme to 1.3 million housing association tenants in England.

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High Court decision puts Gatwick contract into holding pattern

If Gatwick Airport had a claim to fame, it would be as the "world's most efficient single-runway airport". Although of little significance to the average traveller, in the highly competitive commercial aviation sector it's a statistic that puts Gatwick on the map.

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Caselaw Update: Solent NHS Trust v Hampshire CC [2015] EWHC 457 (TCC)

In this recent case, Hampshire County Council ("HCC") sought to procure an enhanced provision for adult substance misuse recovery services, with emphasis placed on greater levels of integration. HCC's previous contract for these services included the provision of an inpatient drug and alcohol detoxification service and a specialist carers support service.

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European tax investigation gathers pace

It's a sad and recognised truth that no one really "loves" January. Overshadowed by its neighbours December and, to a far lesser extent, February, January has long been considered the worst month for a number of reasons. At some point someone will trot out that most tortured of headlines, that "Today is officially the most depressing day of the year".

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CRIME & PUNISHMENT IN BID-RIGGING – Understand the rules, risks and reprisals in the next 2 minutes

Although it may take many forms, anti-competitive behaviour is as old as commerce itself. We may live in an age of regulatory and commercial sophistication, but that does not mean such behaviour is less likely; it simply makes it harder to spot.

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Apple faces multi-billion dollar tax bill - but that's not the problem.

It hasn't been a brilliant month for Apple Inc. The world's largest company by market capitalisation is facing a legal, financial and reputational storm that promises to eclipse its latest hardware problems. It turns out that bending the rules on State aid is far more serious than a flexible phone!

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Just VEAT it, VEAT it, VEAT it, VEAT it; no one wants to be defeated?

The use of voluntary ex-ante transparency ("VEAT") notices to protect a contracting authority from certain types of relief should a procurement process be found not to have been followed in breach of the PCR, is now under threat.

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