Sarah Higgins

Sarah is a London based Principal Associate specialising in commercial contracts, with a particular focus on public sector procurements. Her clients include central government, local government, and private businesses. She has expertise in health and social care, defence and education sectors.

Sarah has extensive experience in multi-million pound, complex and long-term public sector projects. Multifaceted outsourcing transactions are her bread and butter.

She also advises on a broad range of day-to-day general commercial contracts such as those for the supply and provision of goods and services, routes to market contracts (e.g. distribution and agency contracts), and relationship contracts such as joint ventures, collaboration and alliancing.

In relation to her public sector work, Sarah advises contracting authorities and suppliers to the public sector on all stages of public procurement - from devising a procurement strategy and planning a procurement, to the launch and running of a competition, participation in a competition, contract award, and post-award activities and service delivery. This includes:

  • supporting with pre-competition market engagement
  • selecting the most appropriate procurement procedure
  • drafting and advising on all procurement documentation such as contract notices, selection questionnaires, invitation to tender/participate in competitive dialogue/negotiation/dynamic purchasing systems, evaluation criteria, successful bidder award notices, unsuccessful bidder letters
  • structuring, drafting and negotiating contract terms
  • advising on bidder clarifications, bid evaluations and moderation
  • supporting with mobilisation and service delivery issues

Sarah relishes embedding herself into the detail of her clients' projects. She rolls up her sleeves and gets stuck in to quickly understand project objectives and add value so as to achieve them. Sarah offers her clients practical solutions and plain-English advice, in a prompt and personable manner. Sarah has excellent project and document management skills having previously qualified as a PRINCE2 Practitioner.

Clients see Sarah as their 'go to' legal point of contact. She is known for building strong relationships with her clients and is not 'just an external legal advisor'.

Her secondments to Integrated Pathology Partnerships, Universal Music, BP and the Department of Health & Social Care means she has lived and understands the pressures faced by businesses, commercial departments within government and in-house lawyers.


  • The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on its ECHO 2 Programme regarding global telecommunication network services. Sarah was part of the core team and advised on all three workstreams:
    • a competitive dialogue with negotiation procurement to appoint a supplier to provide Network Integrator Services in 500 locations across 170 countries;
    • establishing a Dynamic Purchasing System under which UK central government bodies launch mini-competitions to purchase global internet connectivity services for their respective sites across the world;
    • advising on the extension and variation of the incumbent contract to minimise disruption to existing critical government communication services.
    Sarah's work included providing procurement advice throughout, drafting the Network Integrator Services Framework and Call-Off Contracts and leading on the establishment of the Dynamic Purchasing System which involved preparing and presenting a contractual structure options appraisal, drafting the DPS procurement documentation, and drafting the DPS Appointment Contract.
  • The Department for Education on a range of commercial contract matters relating to the DfE's implementation of its statutory responsibilities. Examples include advising:
    • on the award of a contract to Active Partnerships that provides £57m of funding for the opening school facilities programme;
    • the Education and Skills Funding Agency (an executive agency of the DfE) on its suite of Funding Agreements and Contracts for Services;
    • a range of day-to-day contractual queries arising from the operation of apprenticeships across the country.
  • The NHS Test and Trace/UK Health Security Agency on a number of contracts relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including for the supply of various point of care tests and testing services, and lighthouse laboratory services. Sarah worked calmly, but at pace during this challenging and high pressured environment to negotiate these critical contracts of national importance with suppliers, whilst ensuring the contracting authority remained protected from legal risks.
  • The Ministry of Defence on Project Selborne a multi-billion competitive dialogue procurement to appoint a long-term partner to transform and deliver training to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. This complex project involved the aggregation of over 30 supplier contracts at different points in time, a significant modernisation programme, and a complex collaboration, payment and performance management mechanism. Sarah was heavily involved in drafting the project contract.
  • Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust on a number of its commercial arrangements including:
    • its highly complex, innovative and ground breaking public private partnership with Johnson & Johnson to build an Orthopaedic Centre of Excellence (CoE) at the Guy's Hospital Site, and deliver a managed service to support orthopaedic operations - the first of its kind in the NHS. This involved a bespoke combined outsourced service and construction contract. Sarah took part in extensive contract negotiations (including those relating to the services specification which was an intricate web of interoperability and responsibilities between GSTT and J&J), and project managed a team of 10+ lawyers and 10+ operational, finance, procurement, commercial and estates SMEs to reach contract signature;
    • a review of its corporate and commercial ventures and structures as against its requirements to comply with various regulatory and legal regimes;
    • various bids to provide vital healthcare services to patients across South London.
  • Sanctuary Housing on a range of contracts including as care home services provider to Westminster City Council for six care homes, to provide student accommodation and ancillary services, and its participation in a number of local authority procurements to provide adult mental health supported living services.
  • a range of household retail brands on their day-to-day contracts for the purchase or supply of a variety of goods and services including logistics and warehousing, facilities management and gift card programmes.
  • A building contractor on its template contract for use with temporary worker agencies to provide temporary workers.

Mandats clients