I'm sorry if these are daft questions but I don't understand how this new contract is going to work in certain aspects. We have a welfare benefits contract at present. Any advice or comments would be appreciated on any of the following:
1. I understand that, from October, we will be funded according to the number of new matter starts we open. 1a. If payment is monthly will each payment simply represent the flat fee times the number of new matter starts in the previous month? 1b. Does this mean we will no longer have to report time spent in the previous month under contract? 1c. Does this also mean that monthly payments from LSC could vary significantly month by month as the number of new matters fluctuates month by month?
2. The new schedule is going to "authorise" us to open a "certain number" of new matter starts. 2a. Is this going to be the same number per contract in the same way that each welfare benefits nfp contract was for 1100 hrs per post?
3. The statement says that the number of new matter starts in the new contract will give the agency “the opportunity to maintain its current income” 3a. Will there be any opportunity to increase income? For example, the number of new matter starts we have opened in 06/07 times thee proposed fixed fee actually comes to more than we have received in income from LSC this year.
4. I’ll have to re-read the note to understand how work that is started before 1/10/07 but not completed gets claimed for. We can claim any work done up to 30/09/07 as hours towards our “first contract”. 4a. If the matter is not closed when the work carries on into October it will not be a new matter start so will not be reported as such and won’t count towards contract?
1. The intention is that from October you will be continue to be paid Standard Monthly Payments in advance. These payments are effectively payments on account for the closed matters you will start reporting when working under the fixed fee system. They are not payments for opening matters, although numbers of matters being opened will clearly indicate your capacity for work and are likely to be taken into account by the LSC when thinking about your performance
1a. Ultimately, the LSC would want current NfP contract holders to be at a stage where the credits being made to their account with the LSC are approximately equivalent to the debits in terms of the payments being made to the agency - this isn't going to be possible immediately and the LSC/DCA have acknowledged this previously. All of the transitionary arrangements are currently being discussed and negotiated between the LSC and ASA (plus the networks); 'Legal Aid Reform: The Way Ahead' does say that it expects the LSC to allow a transitionary period in excess of a year
1b. Time recording is still important as the time you spend will, according to the recent consultation on the Specification, need to be 'costed' at the relevant rate. So, rather than sending the LSC the time you have spent on cases you will be sending information on how much the case cost in £ and pence
We can't be more definite at this stage and would add the caution that issues around costing cases, in what manner and form that information would then be sent to the LSC, are still subject to the outcome of the consultation on the Specification section and ongoing negotiations with the LSC
1c. Again, can't say anything with certainty but to us it would seem more sensible for the LSC to reconcile payments periodically e.g. quarterly or six-monthly rather than each month/ Again all subject to negotiation etc and we will have to wait and see what the LSC say
One thing that is obviously important here is that it is going to become a key feature of contracting with the LSC that you maintain adequate financial monitoring information, and that this is linked into ongoing analysis of your performance, so that you are able to plan better both in terms of work being done and financially
2. On Schedules authorising you to open a certain number of matter starts: yes, it will, this is the intention. In the letter from the LSC which accompanied your Contract you will note it said that you will be allocated matter starts on the basis that you would be able to maintain the current level of income based on being paid for hours (subject to your performance)
One way of explaining this would be to give the example:
(1) You have a Debt contract for 1100 hours for which you get paid £53,900 per annum
(2) Knowing that the Debt fixed fee is £196
(3) If you divide your annual income for hours (£53,000) by the fixed fee (£196) you get the number of matter starts that you would be allocated for the year: 275
3. The LSC intends to consult on setting contract sizes from 1 April 2008, with a view to reducing matters starts for suppliers doing a large number of exceptional (or very short) cases. This is subject to guarantee that contract compliant suppliers will be guaranteed 80% of their matter starts in the next Schedule. This could theoretically lead to a situation where matter starts might be available in your region which you might then seek to obtain for extra income. There could be other reasons also why the LSC decide to allocate you more matter starts
4. Cases that were started before 1st Oct will naturally continue, until conclusion, after this date. Work done prior to 1st Oct will count towards your Schedule hours target for the first 6 months of the Unified Contract. Work done after 1st October will still be paid at the previous hourly rates i.e. you won't lose it. No, they wouldn't count as matters under the new Schedule from October, hence the transitional problems that are currently being negotiated
Post by lordgreenform on Jun 14, 2007 20:21:57 GMT
(hope this query is in the right place) in april did the nfp specifaction become obsolete? for last few years we have had helpfull cls bulletins. are any of then still valid? eg no 19 "claiming time for presignature work".can we still claim work before the legal help from is signed at the office. yes claiming time is not that important for fixed fees but can we still post -in certain narrow circumsatnces- legal help forms and get the returned . eg para 6.12 when never see client face to face? does there still exist after oct a type of level one as defined in para 4.7
Post by Patrick Torsney on Jun 18, 2007 12:54:43 GMT
Answers to your questions:
1. In April the NfP specification continued to be the operative specification as far as contract work goes. The LSC were not ready to bring in the "United Contract Specification" as they decided it needed to be consulted on further. The LSC said that the previous specification should therefore continue to apply (with some very minor amendment) until the final transition to fixed fees on the 1st October 2007
2. All the email bulletins regarding claiming time etc are certainly still valid until October 2007. From October 2007 some of them may no longer apply and CLS Support will be updating their website with the full list of those still applicable - they will also email all subscribers to the email bulletin service with a current up to date list.
I am currently writing an extensive email bulletin for CLS Support which they may publish also as a paper briefing - it will be all about time recording - what you can claim, what you can, and how to convert time into costs for submission to the LSC.
This last point is important - time recording continues to be just as important as it always has; the difference from October is that the time you have spent on activities will need to be converted into an actual cost in pounds and pence so that you will be able to record profit-costs on your CMRF as private practice currently do. It is also a requirement of the Unified Contract that you have a running record of costs so it is very likey that your time/cost recording system will need to be updated to take this into account by October
3. Current rules such as pre-signature work continue to apply in the same format until October as they have always done. From October, there may be variations to these rules so you will need to check the final Specification when it's published (expected end of June). The same applies to postal applications
4. There will be no level 1 work after 1st October 2007. You refer to para 4.7 - if you are looking at the NfP specification then this concerns brief checks of the current law not level 1. Brief checks of the current law and all the other time recording principles are likely to continue to apply pretty much in their current form - again, we need to wait for the specification and the time recording bulletin/briefing to be produced by CLS Support.