Will the BLP/Thames Water deal trigger a bunch of copycat outsourcing arrangements?

Apr 23, 2010

The legal press has reported that BLP are finalising a deal to outsource the bulk of Thames Water’s legal work, taking on most of the TW legal team as part of the agreement.  In so doing, they will knock out a bunch of competitors, and secure a workstream of several £m for the next 5 years.

John Bennett who has pulled off the coup rightly described it as marking a paradigm shift – but will it start a craze?

There seem to be two opposing views amongst our clients.  The first, maybe the majority view, could be characterised as saying “Why would we want to dilute the quality of our people with all these in house lawyers.  Sooner or later we will have to fire them and use our good people doing all the crap work that comes with the deal”

The other, especially those with more experience of outsourcing businesses say “it will be the way forward and those making the moves now will gain a big early mover advantage.  The churn of people is the natural mechanic of outsourcing – but not all the people will be poor quality.  Along with the work we may get some great people too”

The debate brings to my mind an old adage:

“Some people make things happen; others wait for things to happen; the rest wonder what happened!”