Whitehall’s procurement arm is seeking to build a £650m 'legal services marketplace’, completing a two-year 'block' project to cut the cost of external legal advice.

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'.

According to a prior information notice published on the CCS website, the vehicle will provide services to: all UK public sector contracting bodies, including central government departments and their associated bodies; the wider public sector including health and education bodies; local and regional government organisations; emergency services; and third sector organisations.

The services will be delivered through a 'dynamic purchasing system' or a framework.

Bidders must be able to provide at least one of the required practice areas, which include: banking and finance; charities; commercial contract law; construction; data protection and information law; environment; EU law; financial law services; civil fraud; IT law; media and entertainment; outsourcing; partnerships; pensions law; planning; social housing; tax; telecommunications; transport law; travel law; and law costs draftsman services.

The latest arrangement makes up the fourth 'block' of CCS's programme to restructure the government's legal panels.

Accountancy giant PwC was among 12 'tier one' suppliers to secure a coveted spot on a £400m panel to provide general legal advice services. Eight firms successfully bid for a place on a £50m panel for specialist advice on modernisation projects including Crossrail and High Speed 2. The government opted for major City players, including four magic circle firms, to to sit on its £90m finance and highly complex legal advice panel.

CCS will issue further details about the latest contract on 30 November.