Press Notices

Press Notice 05/04

INQUIRY APPOINTS SOLICITORS TO TAKE WITNESS STATEMENTS
10th June 2005

In his Opening Statement made on 19 April in Craigavon Civic Centre, the chairman of the Inquiry, Sir Michael Morland, announced the Inquiry’s intention to employ the services of a firm of solicitors, as agents to the Inquiry, to obtain most of the witness statements. He said that the Inquiry would announce the name of the successful firm and give details of the partner leading the team, once the recruitment process was complete.

After a tender exercise the Inquiry has now appointed the firm of Eversheds LLP to undertake that work. The team will be led by Peter Watkin Jones, a partner in the firm who is head of their Inquiries and Investigations Team, and who led their work on the Bloody Sunday and Shipman Inquiries. The team is expected to begin work over the summer.

Background on tendering process

The Inquiry sought the assistance of The Procurement and Commercial Contracts team from the Treasury Solicitor’s Department for the purpose of selecting a firm for the Inquiry witness statement taking exercise. The Treasury Solicitor’s Department was asked to identify suitable firms to be invited to tender, including firms with Inquiry experience and firms which had expressed an interest in undertaking Inquiry work. Six firms were invited to tender on a variety of pricing bases, including a fixed cost per statement. A proposal was submitted by each firm on 5 May 2005.

Two tenders were eliminated at this stage, primarily on grounds of cost. Four firms were invited to interview and those interviews were held at Treasury Solicitor’s Department on 23 May. The tenders were evaluated on various grounds, including the relevant skills and experience of the firm and the team proposed, their understanding of the task and challenges involved, the resources to be made available to support the work, and the overall cost and value for money of the tender.

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