The NHS legal services framework panel of firms has grown by nearly one-third under a two-year contract announced today.

The contract was placed by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), a joint venture between the Department of Health and outsourcing firm Steria, which processes payments adding up to £92bn a year for the NHS in England. The new panel has 22 firms, up from 16 under the previous arrangement.

Nine of them are new. 

Director of procurement at NHS SBS Peter Akid said: ‘The framework helps our clients achieve best value in legal services provision while retaining access to the highest level of expertise available.’

The framework will run from this month to 30 November 2015 and is divided into 10 categories of legal specialism. These include: NHS governance, primary care services, healthcare, mental health, employment, contract and commercial, property, construction, IT and e-commerce, and corporate finance.

The firms on the panel are: Birketts, Bevan Brittan, Trowers & Hamlins, Bond Dickinson, Walker Morris, Browne Jacobson, Pinsent Masons, Capsticks Solicitors, Simmons & Simmons, DAC Beachcroft, Freeth Cartwright, DWF, Maclay Murray & Spens, Hempsons, Mills & Reeve, Hill Dickinson, Michelmores, Morgan Cole, Addleshaw Goddard, Ward Hadaway, Weightmans and Wilkin Chapman.