Whitehall's procurement arm will use 'plain English' to explain the simplified tender process for firms wishing to set up a stall in a £650m legal services marketplace.

Crown Commercial Service (CCS) wants to set up a 'commercial vehicle' to provide commercial legal services, which will cover 35 legal practice sectors and 75 smaller 'subsets'. 

Yesterday, CCS announced it has produced a new, simplified bid pack for suppliers. The pack will consist of fewer, shorter tender documents 'and sets out all the information in one place and in plain English'. Terms and conditions have also been reduced.

CCS worked with the Confederation of British Industry, Federation of Small Businesses, techUK and the Association of Bid Managers to simplify the process.

The latest arrangement makes up the fourth 'block' of CCS's two-year programme to restructure the government's legal panels and cut the cost of external legal advice. CCS has established panels for general legal advice, rail, and finance and highly complex transactions, which will be used exclusively by central government departments, executive agencies and other specified central government bodies.

The market has been designed to enable NHS trusts, schools, universities, local authorities and charities to procure advice from small, medium and large suppliers. Central government departments will be able to use the new marketplace for work worth less than £20,000 in total.

Supplier engagement sessions are being held this month. Awards will be made next year.