Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Robert Rooney examines the lessons to be learned from Henry Brothers v Department of Education for Northern Ireland

In 2008, the Belfast High Court shot to prominence in the procurement world after two major judgments set aside frameworks for work valued at over £1 billion (Henry Brothers (Magherafelt) v Department of Education for Northern Ireland [2008] and McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd v Department of Finance & Personnel [2008]).

Jack Hayward and Anthony Butler discuss strategies for outsourcing to employees from a local authority perspective

Outsourcing is not a new concept for local authorities, and over the past 20 years has become an accepted method of service delivery, although its use often depends on the political make up of the authority concerned. However, the coalition government and the Big Society agenda have moved the goal posts significantly by introducing the notions of employee-driven delivery vehicles. This is a novel approach and one that has caused some confusion among local authority policy makers.

David Gollancz considers the efficacy of pre-nuptial agreements to defeat claims for ineffectiveness

The remedy of ineffectiveness was introduced into European legislation by Directive 2007/66/EC, implemented in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the Public Contracts (Amendment) Regulations 2009, which amend the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 (the PCR) and the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006 (the UCR). The remedy is available in respect of public procurements commenced on or after 20 December 2009.

Jack Hayward considers outsourcing and employee-led businesses

The coalition’s agenda on the ‘Big Society’ has always included significant references to employee-led outsourcing of parts of the public sector, the so-called ‘John Lewis’ model – a term that I personally dislike intensely. How one can compare the business model used to deliver a successful retail operation with a vehicle for providing social care to vulnerable adults, for example, is a mystery to me. However, the essential thrust of the agenda is employee ownership.

Dr Totis Kotsonis examines the remedies regime and considers the question of how effective this really is

For a long time, the remedies system applicable in the event of a breach of public procurement legislation in the UK was subject to some important limitations. For example, it used to be the case that once a contract was concluded it could not normally be set aside, so the only remedy available to an aggrieved party was that of damages. However, not only were damages generally seen as a less satisfactory remedy, they also proved very hard for an aggrieved party to obtain – a reflection of the difficulty in practice of demonstrating to the court that the procurement breach actually caused loss to the claimant. The introduction of a new remedies regime in December 2009 was designed to address this type of shortcomings.

Hilary Ross discusses the fining of Marks and Spencers

At the end of September 2011 a penalty of £1.6m was imposed on Marks & Spencers (M&S) for its breach of ss2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974; one of the largest penalties ever imposed upon a UK retailer. The case centres on the management of contractors and highlights the confusion that often exists in relation to the health and safety responsibilities of those involved in such projects. These duties and responsibilities are particularly relevant when considering outsourcing projects.

Tom Collins looks at the impact of the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993

The Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (the Regulations) came into force on 1 January 1994. They impose an alien concept into English law. While they seek to govern relations between a commercial agent (an agent) and his principal, they also give an agent the ability to claim compensation or an indemnity on termination of the agency agreement. This concept has caused much consternation. This article considers some of the effects of the Regulations and the impact of recent cases.

Luisa D’Alessandro suggests five essential tips for IT procurement

Being tasked with purchasing a new IT system can seem daunting. Technical and legal jargon, lengthy forms of contract that suppliers insist on, and drawn out negotiations can mean that these types of projects can be both hugely time consuming and seemingly shrouded in mystery. Yet, with some careful planning and getting to grips with the basics, this kind of project need not turn into a legal or commercial minefield.