Several firms have secured a major tender to provide legal services to local authority legal teams.

In a bid to cut costs against a backdrop of funding and budget restrictions, a number of local authorities in Oxfordshire and neighbouring areas have joined forces to establish a legal services framework agreement.

The 10 firms to be awarded four-year contracts are Berwin Leighton Paisner, Bevan Brittan, Blake Morgan, Bond Dickinson, Browne Jacobson, Darbys Solicitors, Dentons, Pinsent Masons, TLT and Veale Wasbrough Vizards.

Nick Graham, chief legal officer at Oxfordshire County Council, said: ’With the very significant changes in local government, in-house legal teams are stretched and, where appropriate, we work constructively with private law firms to ensure we continue to provide a comprehensive service at an affordable price.’

Legal services in the tender include commercial contracts, joint ventures and projects, procurement, property and estates, housing, corporate governance, civil litigation, local government law, employment and pensions.

’This agreement ensures we can have quick access to specialist advice from some of the market leaders in the areas of law that significantly impact on local authorities and the communities they serve,’ Graham said.

As well as Oxfordshire, the framework agreement includes Oxford City Council, South Oxfordshire Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Cherwell District Council, South Northamptonshire Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, West Oxfordshire District Council and Cotswold District Council.